Reflections on Build Peace 2015 (by Dan Marsh)

Starting a blog is often the point I dread the most and this time is no exception. Not because of not knowing what to write; Build Peace showcased so many good ideas, shared without fear in a spectacular setting with such a positive energy; but because adding a full stop to that unbounded creativity and energy seems totally wrong. So with my colleagues at International Alert, I intend to keep that energy flowing, by talking to anyone who will listen about why technology for peacebuilding is so exciting and something we all need to work on together.

Working together is hugely important – the Build Peace Database is a great start to this and something I hope to contribute to even more, perhaps creating something like an ‘app store for peace tech’. The more we are able to share our successes, our knowledge, our code and data where appropriate, the more effort can go into the peacebuilding work and the greater our combined impact.

Read more

Build Peace 2015: Where to from here? (by Jennifer Easterday)

We’ve finally had a moment to collect our thoughts after a stimulating weekend in Cyprus at the Build Peace 2015 conference. We were blown away by the enthusiasm of conference participants and the wealth of expertise and ideas being shared! We were also left with a number of burning questions…

Where are all the programmers? Many conference participants highlighted similar challenges to using technology in peacebuilding. Some of these include needing to decide between targeting “low-level” versus “high-level” technology (e.g., feature vs. smartphones), how to process and manage large quantities of data and avoid fragmentation and how to seamlessly reach all of the different devices out there.

These challenges can be addressed by utilizing open technologies like Firefox OS and proven solutions to process big data that are already successful in the private sector. Governments and organizations around the world are discovering the benefits of using open data and are developing insights on how to use this data for good. Open data should be ubiquitous in peace tech, so that organizations around the world can build on it. Also, the Internet of Things is making a big splash in the tech scene, and we believe that it could contribute meaningfully to peacebuilding.

Read more

Thoughts from the Bureau of International Crisis (by Zineb Boustil)

The Bureau of International Crisis was proud to be part of this international conference and happy to share its ideas about the use of new technologies in the peacebuilding field. Since we created the Bureau in March 2015, the conference was our first international meeting. We took this opportunity to officially start our activities and present our organization of crisis resolution to the peacebuilding community. The welcome was amazing and now we feel stronger and more confident.

The chance we had to share our work was more than just a presence in a conference. It was our privilege to be able to travel to Cyprus and have those moments of sharing. Build Peace should not be about us, about those who were present but more about all the peacemakers living in conflicted regions who had not even had the chance to hear about the conference. This is a real issue, how to make people living a crisis part of their own peacebuilding processes?

Read more

What I learned and thought about during Build Peace (by Ali Gohar)

In today’s globalized world, one cannot live without technology.

The recent Build Peace conference that focused on “peace through technology” was an excellent opportunity to realize just how important the role technology is when it comes to peacebuilding.

Since 2003, I have been working in the peace building sector where my primary area of expertise has been working in indigenous means of conflict transformation on the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Read more