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#PEACETECH: Everything You Need to Know, from Social Media in Afghanistan to Humanitarian Drones in Syria

March 2015

Today, small tech gadgets are ubiquitous in many corners of the globe and our dependence on advanced technology is increasingly a reality. The latest issue of Building Peace#PeaceTech, explores the potential—and limits—of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and other tools to positively influence peace and development.

In our fifth publication, we look at the use of grassroots quantitative data gathering in Zimbabwe, the potential of online activism to connect local communities in Nigeria, and the story of how the “Facebook of Afghanistan” grew from a telecommunications company to an important partner to civil society and government. We also address the digital divide that has left 60% of the world’s voices unheard, as well as the applications of drones for humanitarian work in Syria and beyond.

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief


If you are reading Building Peace, you have access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): a smartphone, a tablet, a computer at your community internet café, or a friend who […]

Tools and Trends in Peace and Technology


Technology draws on many disciplines within the scientific arena, from traditional tools to modern innovations. This includes the fields of information technology, computer science, and engineering, as well as telecommunications […]

Reaching the World from Nigeria


Nigeria ranks fourth in the world on the 2014 Global Terrorism Index (GTI), and first in Africa. Acts of terrorism, along with militancy, crime, rights violations, extrajudicial killings, violent demonstrations, […]

Escaping Crisis, Embracing Data: A Path to Recovery in Zimbabwe


For the past fifteen years, Zimbabwe has endured a crisis that has eroded the economic and social well-being of its people. In 2013, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency revealed that […]

Peacebuilding Reboot


In December, I met three inspiring girls in Mumbai, India. They were all about 13 years old and they had come from Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, to demonstrate the mobile […]

Peace Technology: Scope, Scale, and Cautions

Peace technology, as we have defined it at the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, is fundamentally mediating technology—it acts as an intervening agent, augmenting our ability to engage positively with others. […]

Making Space for Peace in Lebanon


In downtown Beirut, since the beginning of the 20th century, Martyrs’ Square has been the site of countless political events—a public space that marked the country’s history and symbolized freedom […]

Meu Rio, Our World: Civic Action Stirs Global Change

Issues that are considered global problems—climate change, the energy crisis, and poverty—are, in many regards, urban phenomena. Cities are responsible for 75 percent of global energy consumption; 80 percent of […]

Communication and Connection in Afghanistan


The mobile technology boom in the developing world is hardly news anymore. There is no shortage of coverage on the ways mobile phones have influenced the lives of people in […]

The Digital Revolution: Who Gets Left Behind?


The rapid proliferation of mobile and Internet technologies has given rise to an unprecedented flow of communication between and among citizens and their governments and the ability to obtain and […]

Drones for Peace in Syria


It is hard for the general public in the United States to connect to a crisis as catastrophic and brutal as the one devastating Syria. Four years have passed since […]

The Costs and Ethics of Modern Warfare


The last decade has seen significant developments in military technology and a global re-thinking of military approaches to future threats. The focus of modern initiatives is to counter threats at […]

Proving (Digital) Peace

Ushahidi was born from the efforts of a team of Kenyan programmers, journalists, and lawyers who wanted to find a way to quickly share information about the violence around them […]

Plugging Government into Peace


Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are transforming relationships. Networks are rapidly replacing hierarchies; the power of actors to effect change increasingly depends on the number of connections they have rather […]

Who Will Govern the Internet?

John Arquilla recently asked, “what if we, too, could imagine the Internet serving as a vehicle for cooperation, the sharing of hopeful stories; the communications link between moderate citizens creating […]

The Shrinking Space for Online Civic Engagement


In 2013, a group of Ethiopian bloggers and journalists created a blog to express their interest in a more open, inclusive, and democratic country. They called the blog Zone9, an […]

Digital Games for Peace


As peacebuilders continue to explore new ways to manage and reduce conflict, digital games and apps present promising avenues for innovation. Digital games and apps are websites or web applications […]



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Stories That Inspire: Asian Peace Activists Share their Hopes, Reflections, and Insights on Peacebuilding

Author: | Date: November 2015

“Stories impacted me a lot. They nurtured my imagination, my dreams, and my vision. So, I believe listening to stories and telling stories is a great tool for peacebuilding,” declared […]


How Syrians Stay Hopeful in the Face of Civil War

Author: | Date: September 2015

Published in Global Post International media coverage of the war in Syria is full of shocking facts, and reminders of the horrific acts committed by the Islamic State and the Syrian […]


Going Mobile: A Review of Peace in Our Pockets

Author: | Date: August 2015

“Peace in Our Pockets,” a documentary directed by Kenny Dalsheimer and produced by The Groove Productions, runs 55 minutes. The film screens at the Global Peace Film Festival October 2015. Additionally, to celebrate the UN’s International […]

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Why are Some Mediations Successful and Others Not?

Author: | Date: June 2015

Mediation aims to bring a lasting resolution to a conflict between two or more parties; it is akin to negotiation, but with the addition of a neutral, 3rd party mediator […]

Searching for fish in Nino Konis Santana National Park, Timor-Leste, where the government is working to protect the reef which supports the livelihoods of thousands of people living on the coast.

Conservation for Peace: Perspectives of Environmental Peacebuilders in Liberia and Timor-Leste

Author: , | Date: May 2015

Environmental peacebuilding is an emerging field of practice that responds to the needs of the many remote, biodiverse communities around the world that struggle to prevent or mitigate conflicts over […]

Ohrid Panorama

Where are Macedonia’s Peacebuilders?

Author: | Date: April 2015

Macedonia, independent since 1991, is comprised of an ethnic Macedonian majority and ethnic Albanian minority (among others). Despite years of discrimination against ethnic Albanians, the Macedonian national media has shied […]


Reinventing How We Live Together

Author: , | Date: March 2015

Critics of peacebuilding find the concept problematic. To some, peace is a deeply conservative notion: it can mean compromise; it can mean ‘keep quiet and don’t rock the boat.’ We […]


Peacebuilders in the Sky?

Author: | Date: March 2015

The number of studies that examine the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in peacebuilding are few and far between. There are even fewer academic studies that explore the […]

(Photo Credit: "We often mention conflict between the Orma and Pokomo communities in the Tana Delta, but such violence also affects other groups such as the marginalized Watta people, who live as hunters and gatherers."by Christopher Tuckwood

Una Hakika: Preventing Rumors and Violence in Kenya’s Tana Delta

Author: | Date: February 2015

When citizens of a remote and violence-prone part of Kenya hear that a neighbouring ethnic group is planning a massacre, their first response is to believe it. This is especially true […]

UN Photo Catianne Tijerina 2014 Bangui camp children

Natural Resource Management as a Key to Peace in the Central African Republic

Author: | Date: February 2015

Beginning in late 2012, a rehabilitated coalition of ex-rebel militia fighters, known as Séléka, reignited conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) over what it believed was the central government’s […]