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The Build Peace Conference brings together practitioners, activists and technologists from around the world to share experience and ideas on using technology for peacebuilding and conflict transformation. How to build peace? Join us to chart the future.

Technology is altering how we engage with the world, offering new avenues for social change. Over the course of two days, we will explore how information and communications technologies, games, networking platforms and other tools can enhance the impact of a broad range of peacebuilding, social cohesion and peace advocacy initiatives.
Most ICT4Peace discussions focus on early warning and crisis response. Few pay attention to the use of technology for attitude and behavior change, collaboration, dialogue, or policy advocacy. Build Peace aims to complement existing forums by expanding the discussion to encompass other important areas of peacebuilding practice.


Can't make it this year but would like to keep up with the Build Peace project? Sign up here.
Have questions about the conference? Contact us.

Keynote Speakers

Asi Burak is an award-winning game creator, tech executive, and social entrepreneur. He is the President of Games for Change (G4C), a nonprofit with the mission to catalyze social impact through digital games and the Executive Producer of the Half the Sky Movement games. Prior to that, Burak co-founded Impact Games and created the internationally acclaimed “PeaceMaker” and “Play the News” gaming platforms. A native of Israel, Burak is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts’ new MFA in Design for Social Innovation.
Waidehi Gilbert-Gokhale is the Director of Organizational Development and Volunteer Engagement at Soliya, a non-profit that combines best practices for constructive dialogue with innovative use of new media technologies. Waidehi managed Soliya's flagship Connect Program, an online cross-cultural education program. Having lived, studied and worked in the United Kingdom, India, South East Asia and North America, Waidehi believes firmly in the power of effective cross cultural exchange.
Sanjana Hattotuwa is a Special Advisor to the ICT4Peace Foundation, where he works to further the use of ICTs in crisis information management and peacekeeping initiatives at the United Nations. He is also a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a Fellow of the Centre for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, and the founding editor of the award-winning Groundviews. In 2011, Sanjana was the first Sri Lankan to be awarded a TED Fellowship.
Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and a principal research scientist at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new media, the use of technology for international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. With Rebecca MacKinnon, Zuckerman co-founded international blogging community Global Voices. In 2000, Zuckerman founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer corps.

See the conference program for speaker timings.


Panels will lay out thinking and experience in three areas of peacebuilding practice: analysis, design and evaluation. Each panel will have an (optional) working session on the second day of the conference to continue the discussion. Panels will also post a white paper for discussion prior to the conference.

Panel I: Use of technology for conflict analysis

April 5, 2:45pm - 3:30pm

This panel will explore how different practitioners and organizations are using mobile and internet technologies and the data they might generate to analyse evolving conflicts in a more accurate and timely way, and provide better advice to peacebuilders responding to conflicts. Download the white paper.

Chair: Francesco Mancini, International Peace Institute

Panelists: Chris Tuckwood, The Sentinel Project; Anne Kahl, UNDP; Christopher MacNaboe, The Carter Center; Jerry McCann, Interpeace

Panel II: Designing peacebuilding projects that utilize technology

April 5, 4pm - 4:45pm

This panel will explore some of the considerations that need to be taken into account when designing technologically-enabled or focused peacebuilding projects, including determining what technology is needed in specific contexts, intended and unintended outcomes and wider ethical concerns. Download the white paper.

Chair: Rachel Brown, Sisi Ni Amani

Panelists: Jessica Wattman, Innovations in Peace; Jim Williams, Raabta; Audrey Bottjen, AECOM; Ben Rempell, USAID/OTI

Panel III: Technology and peacebuilding impact evaluation

April 5, 4:45pm - 5:30pm

This panel will explore how practitioners can assess the impact that technology is having on peacebuilding. Questions of how technology can be leveraged to facilitate impact assessments will also be addressed. Download the white paper.

Chair: Susanna Campbell, Graduate Institute Geneva

Panelists: Peter Van de Windt, Voix des Kivus; Sabina Carlson, Future Generations Haiti; Larry Susskind, MIT and Harvard Law School; Emile Bruneau, MIT Saxe Lab; Patrick Vinck, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Working Sessions

Working sessions are organized by conference participants around themes of peacebuilding practice where technology is contributing or has the potential to contribute. Working session chairs may produce a white paper to advance thinking in the field. There will also be working sessions on each of the panel topics, to continue the discussion started with panel presentations. See the conference program for timings of all working sessions.

Supporting deep dialogue and deliberation in socio-technological systems

Download the white paper. Conflict resolution and peace building usually require forms of deep dialogue and deliberation that build mutual understanding and mutual regard among participants. Sustaining deep dialogue can be difficult when stakeholders are challenged by diverse goals, values, or world-views. Numerous face-to-face group dialogue, collaboration, and decision-making processes have been developed to help participants bring the best of themselves to difficult conversations. Some of these methods are being transferred to on-line dialogue and deliberation contexts. We will present some implemented examples, related research, and future possibilities, and then engage the audience in a co-learning dialogue to discover what has been tried and what might be possible in the area of using online platforms to support deep dialogue.

Co-chairs: Tom Murray (Senior Research Fellow, School of Computer Science, Univ. of Mass. Amherst) & Tim Bonnemann (Founder and CEO, Intellitics, Inc.)

Peace for sale

Download the white paper. The session will explore how peacebuilding practitioners can apply strategic communications and transmedia storytelling. It will look at methods and strategies to create campaigns and conduct multi-platform narrative design for peacebuilding interventions, human rights work, trauma healing, and activism. This methodology has been coined “Transmedia Storytelling for Peace” by session facilitator Monica Curca. Transmedia storytelling can use documentaries, graphic novels, audiobooks, websites, etc. It allows the audience to become immersed in the story so as to create a dynamic experience that grows with each additional participant.

Chair: Monica Curca (PAX Manifesto)

Disrupting Warbuilding ICTs

Evgeny Morozov and others have offered compelling critiques of ICTs, arguing that they can enhance, catalyze, and even cause conflict. Moreover, many state and non-state actors may have ICTs of their own that interfere with and surveil peacebuilding ICTs. This working group would openly confront the use of ICTs to destroy and disrupt, and discuss how peacebuilding ICTs can anticipate disruption, or directly counteract destruction.

Chair: Ross Weistroffer (The Fletcher School)

Acting Together on the World Stage: film screening & discussion

The feature documentary Acting Together on the World Stage highlights courageous and creative artists and peacebuilders working in conflict regions, describes exemplary peacebuilding performances and offers tools for the creative transformation of violence. The performances in the film illustrate that theatrical works and ritual are effective resources for non-violent resistance to injustice, for the rehumanization of former enemies and for acknowledgement, remembering and healing in the aftermath of mass violence. The film emerged from a collaboration between the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University and Theatre Without Borders. The film runs for 60 minutes, followed by a Q&A with the director.

Co-chairs: Anneliese Abney, Inbal Ben Ezer, Jennifer Largaespada (Brandeis University)

Blueberry Soup: film screening & discussion

Blueberry Soup is an extraordinary documentary by Eileen Jerrett about the constitutional change in Iceland following the financial crisis of 2008. The film is a deeply touching account of an eclectic group of individuals reinventing democracy through the rewriting of the nation's constitution. It sits in the epicenter of one of the most exciting movements to happen in our lifetime, the Icelandic "people's movement." Jaws dropped around the world on October 9, 2008 as a small collective of bankers brought an entire nation to its knees. The policies and structures that were previously in place are no longer working and the time has come to reflect and redesign. The film runs for 90 minutes, followed by a Q&A with the director.

Chair: Eileen Jerrett (Blueberry Soup)

Current Challenges: Information Communication Technologies for Human Rights Documentation

Download the white paper. The world is confronted with inaction in the face of mass atrocity crimes. Once these crimes are unleashed, trust among groups breaks down, making it difficult to build or sustain peace. How can we mobilize digital technologies to fight genocidal ideas and individuals online, thereby preventing the spread of hate speech and incitement? Can we explore linkages between forensic science methods and emerging approaches to genocide prevention given technology applications now possible in civil society?

Co-chairs: Kyle Matthews (Montreal Institute of Genocide and Human Rights) & Colette Mazzucelli (Center for Global Affairs @NYU)

Online gaming and peace

This session will explore the experience of Games for Peace, a program that uses online video games as a means to create dialogue and promote openness between Palestinian and Israeli children. In "Play for Peace weekends", Games for Peace invites children from across the Middle East (some of whose countries are officially at war) to meet, chat and play together. Another unique program brings Arab and Jewish schoolchildren in Israel together every week in a Minecraft game world, with the aim of reducing prejudice and promoting dialogue. The project offers a concept that to the best of my knowledge has never been used to promote dialogue in a conflict zone.

Chair: Dudi Peles (Games for Peace)

Polarization, Depolarization, and Data

Polarization -- the pulling apart of two sides and the hardening of attitudes -- is relatively easy to see in many different types of data. Although political scientists have analyzed legislator voting patterns for some time, polarization also shows up clearly in data generated by ordinary citizens. We'll look at examples based on book sales, network structures, social media, and geography. We may be able to use this data to understand the processes of polarization and depolarization, or create metrics by which to evaluate the success of depolarization efforts in the context of conflict resolution.

Chair: Jonathan Stray (Columbia Journalism School)

Creating complex information systems: using ICTs to cover the last mile

In most conflict areas often the infrastructure that allows the use of ICTs is weak or not existent. But it is foremost in those situations that information saves lives and supports local communities in making informed decisions about their lives. In this session we will look at several projects in places like Central African Republic, South Sudan and Niger to explore how traditional media and ICTs can be connected to create systems that bypass the lack of infrastructure and connect communities inside the country and outside.

Chair: Anahi Ayala Iacucci (Internews)

Grassroots cultural innovation in the Philippines

It is unlikely that the solution to any social challenge would come from cultural practice, since contemporary art and design are fields that cater to globalized, deregulated markets that create inequality in the first place. Still, the real power of culture to attract investment and increase a country's soft power quota is difficult to ignore, especially in crisis-happy countries such as the Philippines. Gentrification and strategic essentialism (playing up ones indigenous heritage for economic or other gains) are concepts loaded with negative perceptions, but at The OCD, they are utilized--albeit diluted--with non-judgemental pragmatism. The practice of cultural innovation in our country requires disruptive methods and necessarily subscribes to the creation of a new ethical framework for which there are few tested rules and paradigms. In this session, we will explore projects as case studies and ask participants to put themselves in the shoes of earthquake victims, tribespeople and conflict-city youth before coming up with a set of best practices and ideas for cultural practice in their particular situation.

Chair: Clara Balaguer (The Office of Culture & Design)

Ignite Talks

APRIL 5, 10AM - 11AM & 11:30AM - 12:30PM

Tapping into the brain's empathy circuit
Juan Pablo Hourcade


Fostering Compromise Solutions in a Label-Divided World
Steven Rubenstein


Hacking the Border
Carlos Miranda Levy


Peace Tech: Lessons from Online Dispute Resolution
Ruha Devanesan


Accounts of the Conflict: digitally archiving stories in and about Northern Ireland
Adrian Grant


Conflict Transformation: Skills and Strategies for Change
Philani Ndebele


Building a Better Atrocities Forecasting System
Jay Ulfelder


Libyan Youth Voices: fostering peace and development
Ayat Mneina


make a friend, make Peace
Ronny Edry


InformaCam - Verified and Secure Mobile Media
Bryan Nunez


The Mojez Briefing Project: Raising Awareness about Different Opinions in Syria
Samer Kanjo


Mahallae - building digital communities across conflict zones
Nilgun Arif


MasterPeace.org - Collaborate for Peace
Alexandra Bizerova

Constitution Design: How to Negotiate Avoiding the Shopping Cart Syndrome
Sawsan Gad


Mobile Audio-Visual Unit
Muktar Hersi Mohamed


People Power: The Game of Civil Resistance
Ivan Marovic


Platform for Peace: ICTs for Greater Participation in Peacebuilding in Mali
Mahamadou Diakite


Kokoro: a Game for Ethics Education and Learning to Live Together
Valerie De Pauw


Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal
Batya Friedman


Peace is everyone's business: Mass SMS to prevent violence
Cindy Chungong


Peaceful Online Interaction
Moustafa Amin


Narco Cartels & Open Empowerment
Antoine Nouvet


Elections data for the people in transitioning MENA countries
Kate Cummings


PeaceJam: Building an Interconnected Global Peace Movement
Donovan Arthen


Art & Peace

“The importance and potential of arts as a tool for peacebuilding should not be underestimated.” -John Paul Lederach

APRIL 4, 6:30PM - 8:30PM
Directed by Kenny Dalsheimer

Peace in Our Pockets follows the inspirational Kenyan activists of Sisi ni Amani as they work to strengthen civic engagement, build democracy, and defuse violence in the lead up to the 2013 national elections. With cutting-edge text-messaging and grassroots organizing, these peacebuilders commit to transforming the very meaning of peace in their country. The film captures the work of Sisi ni Amani’s team as they expand their network beyond Nairobi, mobilizing thousands of new subscribers and ramping up their efforts to monitor tensions and defuse potential conflict. As Kenyans go to the polls and the votes are tallied, the Kenyan activists send out over half a million peace messages.

Peace in Our Pockets is in post-production with a tentative release date of Summer 2014. The filmmakers are focused on: 1. finding US and international partners to support audience engagement and distribution efforts and identify ways in which the film can be used as a resource to promote peace and development; 2. sharing our work-in-progress with select audiences to solicit feedback; and, 3. inviting organizations and individuals to sponsor the film financially and with in-kind support.


APRIL 5, 6PM - 10PM
Showcasing the work of artists who use their creative medium to examine conflict and foster peace.

Manu  on Tech4Peace manuletouze_final

Emmanuel “Manu” Letouzé is a French-born, Brooklyn-based, political cartoonist who is a Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley and the lead author of the last two OECD fragile states reports (2013 and 2014). He is also a co-founder of the Human Data and Development Initiative.

As a cartoonist, Manu contributes to various publications, including the satirical blog Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like and Rue89, France’s leading news website.He contributed editorial cartoons to French regional daily L'Union as well as national weekly Politis for several years, and recently illustrated the Management Handbook for UN Field Missions produced by the International Peace Institute. His most recent cartoons are available on his public Manu Cartoons Facebook page, and archived on his personal website. His current projects include a comic strip about the UN, another about New York city, and a 2nd exhibition at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn in 2014.

The Thin Green Linethingreenline_final

The Thin Green Line Map is part of a larger documentary film project regarding mobility across Cyprus’s buffer zone in the form of romantic or sexual relationships. The TGL project aims to produce personal historiographies of mobility across a dividing line, which is not only marked by the reality of a war, but also by ideological difference produced by institutions, such as religion, language, ethnicity, and long-established political disparities. Based on an economy of desire, the mobility that this project aspires to disclose offers an alternative space for rethinking history, sexuality, national, gender and sexual identities.

The project is a collaboration between Marios Psarras and Stavros Makris. Marios is a PhD researcher in the Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London. He has made three short films and his documentary film ‘The Thin Green Line' is currently in post production. Stavros is a composer, arranger, music and film producer. He has also written and produced music for theater, TV, radio jingles and video games.

Turning Tables

Music is a fundamental part of youth development. Music inspires. Music is a vehicle for communication and self-expression that transcends boundaries. Regardless of gender or social, political or economical marginalization everybody should have the opportunity to be part of a global music culture.

We help vulnerable young people express their grievances, hopes and dreams; we build a creative environment for learning new skills and sharing experiences, and an opportunity to pursue a better tomorrow.


Technology Fair

APRIL 5, 9AM - 3PM

The Technology Fair will showcase tools and products that use technology for peacebuilding. The following organizations / products will have stands at the Technology Fair:

Advice 4 Quarters

First Mile GEO

Tech Community and "the Crowd" in Myanmar

Change Assembly


Peace Innovation Lab

PIVOT (Palestine Israel Visual Optimization Tool)


Syria Data Discussion


Wireless, Smartphone-Based Explosives Sensors

"Beats from the Interior" and other projects for youth activists in Tunisia

Egypt Parallel Constitution


Social Media to Support Dialogue and Diversity in Yemen

Peacebuilding Data Blog & the Real Housewives of Syria

Getting to Build Peace

Build Peace will be held on April 5 & 6, 2014 at MIT Media Lab, 75 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA. Conference tickets are sold out.

The best ways to reach Cambridge are by air (to Boston Logan International), train or bus (to Boston South Station).

Download the program here.


We recommend staying at the Marriott Kendall Square.

Stay in touch

Have questions about the conference? Contact us.

Can't make it this year but would like to keep up with the Build Peace project? Sign up here.


Rodrigo Davies (@rodrigodavies) is a civic technologist and researcher whose work focuses on designing, building and analyzing tools that widen and deepen participation. At MIT’s Center for Civic Media, Rodrigo is building a platform for social research on crowdfunding, and leads the development of Call to Action, a web-based tool to enable community groups to design and deploy voice-based services.
Michaela Ledesma (@flaniererin) is a peacebuilding specialist with fourteen years of experience designing and supporting innovative, context-specific projects in conflict and post-conflict environments including Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Sudan, Timor-Leste, and Uganda. Her work has an increasing focus on technology and peace. Michaela currently coordinates Interpeace’s International Peacebuilding Advisory Team.
Helena Puig Larrauri (@helenapuigl) is an independent consultant, focusing on the use of technology to promote peace and prevent conflict. She has worked on projects in conflict and post-conflict environments including Sudan, Libya, Cyprus, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan and Iraq. Helena is also on the Board of Advisors of the Standby Task Force, an online volunteer technical community that she co-founded in 2010.

Jennifer Welch (@jenwelch15) is a researcher with over ten years of experience in marketing, communications and organisational change. At Southampton University’s Web Science Institute and Doctoral Training Centre, her work focuses on the role of ICTs and the web in post-conflict settings, particularly on how to leverage new technologies and their emergent societal properties for peacebuilding, in order to inform policy and decision making.

Kate Mytty (@kmitts) is a researcher and graduate student in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. She runs MIT's IDEAS Global Challenge, an invention and entrepreneurship competition that seeds early-stage social innovation endeavors. The goal of the challenge is to support nascent ideas in labs and classrooms that could help solve one of the world's most urgent challenges.
Chelsea Barabas (@cbarabas) is a researcher at MIT's Center for Civic Media exploring ways that online learning platforms can foster communities of learning and practice in cross-cultural contexts. Previously, Chelsea was a learning consultant for NGOs in East Africa and South America, developing co-learning and participatory design opportunities between Western development practitioners and local social entrepreneurs.
Heather Craig (@_hhcraig) focuses on the connections between interactive media and community engagement. She co-founded Media Action, a non-profit organization that produces educational interactive media and facilitates digital storytelling workshops. As a researcher at MIT's Center for Civic Media, she explores the intersections of education, digital storytelling, and civic engagement.
Chris Peterson (@peteyreplies) works, teaches, and researches at MIT, where he earned his S.M. in 2013 with a focus in civic media. He serves on the Board of Directors at the National Coalition Against Censorship and is a Fellow at the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution.

Build Peace has been made possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.
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APRIL 5, 9:30AM


The PeaceTech Lab at USIP
Anand Varghese will outline the US Institute of Peace’s plans to create a PeaceTech Lab at its headquarters in Washington, DC. The PeaceTech Lab will design, develop, and deploy new technology and media tools aimed at preventing and resolving violent international conflicts. It will bring together engineers, technologists, and data scientists to work each day alongside experts in peacebuilding from government, NGOs and the conflict zones themselves.


New tech for peace at IPI
Francesco Mancini will say a few words on what the International Peace Institute has been trying to do on new tech and peacebuilding: research to better understand the role of new tech in conflict and violence prevention, and work on machine learning conflict prediction. He will also discuss the challenge of "educating" to tech the diplomacy world and the UN in particular.


The Hive at the World Bank
Laura Ralston will talk about The Hive, which is a worldwide community of practice on the prevention of fragility, conflict and violence, connecting knowledge across contexts anddisciplines to bridge divides and reduce isolation, while sharing emerging ideas and innovations to advance best practices in the field.


The ICT4Peace Foundation
Daniel Stauffacher will briefly describe the work and publications of ICT4Peace since 2004 on the role of ICTs for Peace and its cooperation with the UN on Crisis Information Management since 2007. He will touch upon ICT4Peace's recent work on rights and security in the Cyberspace and the various international processes, trying to address some of these challenges.

Leveraging technology at UNDP

Marta Ruedas will stress the importance of partnerships in leveraging technology for peacebuilding. She will explore how expertise in this field resides across a broad range of coalitions and alliances, and how the Build Peace conference offers a platform to initiate and further positive relationships between communities, governments, NGOs and organizations such as UNDP. “We need to continue to find innovative ways of working together, and constantly encourage one another to transform ideas into action,” she says.