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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]

#PeaceTech

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Reinventing How We Live Together

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Author: , | Date: March 2015

(Photo Credit: “Grime and Communication” by thaths Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC-BY 2.0). Accessed 03/18/2015.) Critics of peacebuilding find the concept problematic. To some, peace is a […]

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Peacebuilders in the Sky?

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Author: | Date: March 2015

View from a drone over Tana River County, Kenya (Photo Credit: The Sentinel Project) The number of studies that examine the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in peacebuilding are […]

(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

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Author: | Date: February 2015

Conducting a community meeting known as a baraza as well as Una Hakika baseline survey in the village of Golbanti-Watta. (Photo Credit: by Adrian Gregorich) When citizens of a remote and violence-prone […]

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

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Author: | Date: February 2015

(Photo Credit: “An Internally Displaced Person (IDP) living at the M’Poko camp at the airport of Bangui on 19 June 2014″ by UN Photo/Catianne Tijerina) Beginning in late 2012, a […]

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Connectors and Dividers in Online Spaces

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(Photo Credit: “‘The Big Jump’ in the Jordan River” by Eddie Gerald Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC-BY 2.0). Accessed 01/27/2015. Good Water Neighbors) Like an increasing number of […]

The Answer to Ebola: a Funder Makes the Case for Community-Driven Action

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The answers are there. This is a critical lesson of the post-war experience in Sierra Leone—that communities already have within them the resources they need to heal from the wounds […]

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What Should We Do About Everyday Violence? A Problem Looking for a Solution

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(Photo Credit: Jacqueline Wilson, United States Institute of Peace) A review of The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence (Gary A. Haugen & Victor Boutros, 2014) by Andrew […]

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(Photo Credit: UNAMID via Flickr) October 31st marks the 14th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Various efforts have been made to implement the […]

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UPDATE: Building Peace Authors Share Struggles and Successes of Fighting Ebola in The Guardian

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(Photo Credit: Purdue Peace Project) We are pleased to announce two Building Peace authors have been published in The Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Network on October 15, 2014. The article, titled “Ebola and […]

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Games and Apps that Build Peace

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(Photo Credit: Turning Tables) When I was in Liberia last year, my national colleagues were making fun of me because of my ancient Nokia, compared to their flash phones. I […]