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Build Peace 2015 Conference: Peace through Technology

We want to make our network aware of an exciting community and conference that we know will interest many of our NCDDers, especially those of us oriented toward conflict resolution and technology.

Build Peace is a community that brings together practitioners, activists and technologists from around the world to share experience and ideas on using technology for peacebuilding and conflict transformation as well as an annual, international conference. The Build Peace 2015 conference will be taking place April 25th & 26th in Nicosia, Cyprus, and we want to encourage anyone who might be interested to consider attending.

Build Peace 2015 is titled Peace Through Technology: By Whom, For Whom and will be focused on alternative infrastructures for peace. Here is how the conference planners describe the gathering:

Where Build Peace 2014 aimed to demonstrate the potential of using technology for peacebuilding in terms of ‘breadth’ of initiatives and ideas, Build Peace 2015 will begin to examine issues of ‘depth’: How is the use of technology resulting in the creation of alternative infrastructures for peace? To this cross-cutting theme, the program adds three sub-themes:

  1. Empowerment. One key reason to use technologies in peacebuilding is that they can empower a larger number of people to engage and participate. But there are also tensions between state uses of technologies for surveillance and security implications of some grassroots uses. Who is empowered, by whom and how?
  2. Behavior change. And empowered to do what? Technological tools can affect behaviours that pertain to patterns of violence and peace: by shaping the peace and conflict narratives, through training or education, or by helping shape alternative identity formation processes.
  3. Impact. Another assumption underlying the use of technologies is that it can help ‘improve’ peacebuilding, with the caveat that there are associated risks and ethical issues. What are the actual or possible impacts of using technologies for peacebuilding? How can we measure them?

We have designed the program to weave these guiding themes through the different types of content. Because the themes are interrelated, some sessions are guided by more than one theme. Different sessions are designed to offer different modes of interaction. Keynotes aim to be thought provoking and allow for deeper exploration on one aspect of a theme or themes. Panels offer an overview of one theme and permit interaction with the audience on the broader questions raised by that theme. Short Talks provide concrete evidence of practice and/or research in a particular theme. Working sessions are more practitioner-oriented and will produce a concrete output that contributes to practice in one thematic area.

We know that there a plenty of folks in our NCDD network who would gain and contribute a lot by attending this great gathering, and we hope that some of you can make it! You can learn more at www.howtobuildpeace.org/program or get registered for the conference at www.howtobuildpeace.org/tickets.

Want to really contribute to the gathering? It’s not too late to apply to be a short talk speaker, to host a stand at the Technology Fair, or give a presentation during the Peace Lab at Build Peace 2015! But you have to act fast, because the deadline for application for speakers, stands, and presenters is this Monday, January 5th, so visit Build Peace’s call for speakers today!

We hope that some of our NCDDers will be able to take advantage of this great opportunity, and we thank Build Peace for inviting us to be part of it!

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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