The annual Build Peace conference gets underway in Zurich this week, bringing together peacebuilders, techies, artists and researchers to map out concrete ideas for conflict resolution.
The speed with which new technology and technological applications are developed, released, adopted and proliferated is staggering. The uptake of certain tech tools in particular parts of the world presents new opportunities for individuals, governments and organisations operating in the field of conflict management. Whether via using messaging apps to communicate vital information to people affected by violence, setting up an open source database to track and monitor hate speech or using gamification to overcome prejudice, technology can play a decisive role in attitude and behavioural change, conflict intervention and the peace talk process.
Organised by social enterprise Build Up, the Build Peace conference acts as a participatory platform, drawing opinions, dialogue and insight from a broad spectrum of players to investigate and come up with methods for incorporating the arts, games, networking platforms and other tech tools into peacebuilding models.
This year’s event, taking place from 9 – 11 September at ETH Zurich, will look at why tech and the arts can and are being used as vehicles for peacebuilding. Workshops, talks, a hackathon and more, will explore topics such as socio-cultural transformation, using visualisation in areas with low literacy rates, technology’s role in political negotiations, the ethical considerations to be mindful of when developing tech tools and more.
The travelling Build Peace conference was first held in early 2014 at MIT, bringing together 250 people from 30 countries to analyse tech’s role in conflict prevention, management and resolution. Registration for this year’s event has closed but anyone interested in taking part remotely can follow the conference via the dedicated social media platforms.