The Commons

The Commons Four years ago, I went to the first Build Peace conference at MIT’s Media Lab. I knew next to nothing about the team of young people from Build UP^ who organized the event, but I’ll go to almost anything that involves peace and technology. The conference and the group of now 30-somethings that put it on changed my life. I have been to all four of their conferences (Cyprus, Zurich, and Bogota in addition to MIT) and plan to be at the next one in Belfast in October. Not only have I learned a lot about peace, technology, and the arts, but I’ve made a few friends for life. So, when they asked me to help [...]

The Commons 2018-03-11T20:17:58+00:00

Build Peace 2017

Last week, I joined over 400 people in Bogota for the 2017 Build Peace conference. It was the fourth "edition" of this annual event which has gotten bigger and better each time.  Originally created to explore the intersection between peace and technology, the conference has moved beyond that to include the arts and broader questions of social change. This year, we focused on "making paper count" which is an obvious issue in countries like Colombia where an agreement has been reached but there is plenty to do before peace truly takes hold.   All too often, agreements don't last. Indeed, by some counts, half of all agreements fall apart and the parties are back on the battlefield within five years [...]

Build Peace 2017 2017-12-10T16:49:47+00:00

Technology, Innovation, and Peace

In the last few weeks, I’ve had three opportunities to see the progress we’ve made in see how information technology can be used to spark innovation in peacebuilding and just how much more progress we still have to make. First, we at the Alliance for Peacebuilding attended the second annual CalCon conference at the University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. I helped organize the event, and my colleague Stone Conroy made two pitches. Most of our time was spent hearing critiquing, and building momentum behind a humber of pitches on such topics as mapping peacebuilding activities, developing games in conflict zone, and using the Internet to foster reconciliation. Following up on the keynote address [...]

Technology, Innovation, and Peace 2017-05-29T10:05:48+00:00

Build Peace 2015

Look just below the surface of any wicked problem these days and you are likely to find that there is a technological issue among its causes and that they will also figure in whatever ways we try to deal with it. With that in mind, the Alliance for Peacebulding was delighted to co-sponsor the recent Build Peace conference which I attended at the end of April in Nicosia, Cyprus.  It was the second such event organized by four remarkable young social entrepreneurs who call themselves as Build Up^. The first drew some 200 people to the iconic MIT Media Lab in 2014. They decided to hold the second one in Cyprus so that it could include events on both [...]

Build Peace 2015 2015-05-11T15:00:17+00:00