The use of digital technologies for peacebuilding and conflict prevention is increasingly normalized. This is visible in the many international initiatives attempting to harness digital development approaches, humanitarian action, and peace.
Many digital peacebuilding initiatives work with data collection and analysis methods that can positively and negatively affect societies affected by conflict. Crowdsourcing, online focus groups and online campaigns can provide new opportunities for participation and empowerment. On the other hand, Big Data and AI-powered applications may lead to top-down approaches and a technocratization and de-politicization of conflict prevention. Additional risks stem from malevolent actors and authoritarian regimes that may use data for surveillance and repression.
“does the increasing digitalization of armed conflicts and peace processes require a more holistic response?”
Many peacebuilding actors aim to mitigate these risks with a “do-no-harm approach”. However, are technical safeguards enough, or does the increasing digitalization of armed conflicts and peace processes require a more holistic response?
Join us for an in-person workshop as part of Geneva Peace Week 2022, Towards Ethics-driven Digital Peacebuilding: How to Promote the Good Use of Technologies Beyond “Do No Harm”? organised by the Kofi Annan Foundation, Center on Conflict Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP), Geneva Graduate Institute and Search for Common Ground.
Date: Wednesday, 2 November 2022
Time: 10:30 – 11:45 AM
Location: Maison de la Paix, Geneva, Switzerland (registration required: room number will be confirmed after registration) Pre-registration closes at midnight (CET) on 23 October 2022.
This workshop explores the benefits of an ethics-driven approach to digital peacebuilding. Using efforts to prevent violence and foster reconciliation in the current political crisis in Sri Lanka as a case study, we will explore various ethical thinking toolkits and ask how they can guide the design and implementation of digital peacebuilding projects. Participants will be invited to contribute through their own experiences.
About the Speakers
Moderator: Ms Sofia Anton, Programme Manager, Kofi Annan Foundation, Switzerland
Sofia Anton is the Programme Manager for Peace & Trust and Youth Programmes at the Kofi Annan Foundation. She currently leads the Foundation’s activities on digital peacebuilding, exploring how the use of technologies can make peace and decision-making processes more inclusive, particularly for marginalized groups. Currently, as part of the youth-led initiative Extremely Together, her work with youth organizations in South and Southeast Asia focuses on supporting initiatives that prevent violent extremism and promote togetherness across communities, including on social media.
Dr Andreas Hirblinger, Senior Researcher, Center on Conflict Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP), Geneva Graduate Institute, Switzerland
Andreas Hirblinger conducts research on the impact of digitalisation and the use of digital technologies in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. He currently leads a comparative project investigating digital peacebuilding practices in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka and South Sudan. Andreas is particularly interested in how the increasing use of digitalisation changes how we make sense of conflict and how we aim to build peace. Andreas’ past research asked how digital technologies can be leveraged to support digital inclusion in peace mediation and explored the opportunities and challenges of using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Dr Kristoffer Liden, Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway
Kristoffer Lidén is a Senior Researcher at PRIO and the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies (NCHS). Holding a PhD in Philosophy and MA in Peace and Conflict Studies, his research focuses on the ethics of international affairs, focusing on peacemaking, humanitarian action, security and technology. Currently, Kristoffer co-leads a project exploring the ethics of peace negotiations and mediation. He is also concerned with the politics of anticipatory risk governance and the role of data in policy-making and political processes.
Ms Kiruthika Thurairajah, Digital Peacebuilding Specialist, Search for Common Ground, Sri Lanka
Kiruthika is a Digital Peacebuilding Specialist at Search for Common Ground with over 15 years of experience in developing, designing and implementing peacebuilding projects. Her current work focuses on implementing digital initiatives that aim to empower young women and youth on social media. She works closely with excluded groups across geographically distributed and culturally diverse communities. Her personal interest in the inclusion of gender and sexual minorities in Sri Lankan society has taken her to implement social media initiatives, where she uses satire to generate public awareness of gender-based violence, domestic violence and LGBTIQ+ rights.
Mr Senel Wanniarachchi, Co-founder and Director, Hashtag Generation, Sri Lanka
Senel Wanniarachchi is a Co-founder and Director of Hashtag Generation, an organization led by a group of young tech-savvy Sri Lankans working towards building a society where everyone has the skills, information and tools to be active participants in making the decisions that affect their communities, technologies and bodies. In this role, leads civil society efforts to counter misinformation, disinformation and dangerous speech and promote peaceful co-existence on social media and beyond. He is also a Board Member of the Innovation for Change South Asia Hub, which is a collective of organizations and human rights defenders working together to preserve the civic space in South Asia.
About Geneva Peace Week
Geneva Peace Week is the flagship event of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. The annual forum provides a dedicated space in which organizations in Geneva and their international partners come together to share knowledge, expertise and practice on a diverse range of topics relating to the promotion of peace across contexts and disciplines.
Geneva Peace Week 2022 will take place both in-person and also online from 31 October – 04 November 2022 under the theme of “Peace is Possible”.