Working for individuals and communities affected by conflict, using technology, media, & data to accelerate local peacebuilding efforts.
What we're listening to, reading, watching, and following this week.
It may seem strange that a book dedicated to training warriors would inform my understanding of peacetech. That said, Karl Marlantes’s What It Is Like to Go to War is on the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List, and should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand the evolving nature of conflict and the role technology plays in blurring the lines between war and “everyday life.”
Marlantes notes: “Today a soldier can go out on patrol and kill someone or have one of his friends killed and call his girlfriend on his cell phone that night... by conscious well-intended efforts to provide ‘all the comforts of home’ and modern transportation and communication, what chance does your average eighteen-year-old have of not becoming confused?”
As a peacebuilder, I often think about this phenomenon in reverse. What about the confusion experienced by youth who have only known their neighborhoods to be conflict zones? How do they cope with the glimpses of “stable societies” afforded by the proliferation of internet, mobile phones, and social media? Does this spur them to commit further acts of violence or build peace?
At PeaceTech Lab, we work with people every day for whom this blurring of realities is the norm. Through programs like Salam Shabab in Iraq, Sawa Shabab in South Sudan, and PeaceTech Exchanges worldwide, we strive to turn the same tools used to amplify violence into platforms for peace.
Commentary by Twila Tschan | Communications Coordinator | PeaceTech Lab
Physical Security of Women
The PeaceTech Lab's Open Situation Room Exchange (OSRx)contains open sourced data on state fragility. One of the indicators used to measure state fragility is the physical security of women. The lighter colored countries on the map represent nations where women have greater physical security whereas the red countries represent areas with higher levels of insecurity. Sexual assault, murder rates, sex trafficking of females, and suicide rates of women of childbearing age are some of the factors used to calculate security levels. Women's physical security must be globally addressed in order to achieve gender equality.
PeaceTech in Action
Stories from the field.
What do Israelis and Palestinians hope for when they imagine the future of the region? The team at The Hope Map Project is going to find out. Oded Adomi Leshem, from Israel, and Obada Shtaya, from Palestine, are scholars at the George Mason University School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, who study hopelessness as one of the drivers of conflict. In a region where fifty percent of Israelis and Palestinians believe that the conflict will last forever, Oded and Obada believe that change lies in the hands of the other hopeful fifty percent.
The Hope Map Project is a collaborative effort to measure Israelis’ and Palestinians’ hope for the future by using an extensive survey apparatus and statistical analysis. Building on the scholars’ past research, participants’ hope for peace will be assessed on cognitive, emotional and behavioral dimensions. Demographic variables will be collected to reveal the correlates of hope and hopelessness in the two societies. The project will chart the first Hope Map of Israel-Palestine, which will be available for decision-makers and the general public.
The project is currently underway but a larger sample size is still needed for greater accuracy. Oded and Obada have been financing their project through an online crowdfunding campaign which has received tremendous support. For every 15 dollars donated, the sample size is increased by an additional Palestinian and Israeli. The scholars hope that improved peacebuilding collaboration will be possible with their new information and data visualization.
Storytelling can be a powerful tool for shaping social norms. By creating characters and scenarios that resonate with the audience, existing opinions and norms, such as child marriage, can be challenged through curriculum-based programming.