ABOUT THE EVENT

With access to mobile phones, cloud computing and the internet expanding rapidly in low- and middle-income states, new avenues of participation, engagement, and accountability are emerging for people to influence processes that impact their society. Peacebuilding is not immune to these changing dynamics. Known as PeaceTech, this intersection of technology, data and media to reduce violent conflict is an emerging field that offers new ways for citizens to democratize and engage with peacebuilding processes.

While most of the attention on technology for peacebuilding has focused on early warning and response sourced from social media, PeaceTech is a cross-sector, multi-disciplinary field that is radically changing the peacebuilding field through the creation of alternative infrastructures for peace. Digital media offers tools for local peace builders to easily, and across a vast scale, challenge dominant conflict narratives with alternative visions. Networking platforms provide new avenues for positive communication and relationship-building to be fostered between conflict groups, which creates digital trust networks.

As PeaceTech provides innovative tools to counter age-old drivers of conflict it is important to explore what they mean for broader peacebuilding processes. This will be the central question addressed at the sixth instalment of the Centre for Security Governance’s eSeminar series on “Contemporary Debates on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding”, presented in collaboration with the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Department of Global Studies. Our distinguished panelists each gave brief introductory remarks, followed by an open Q&A period where participants will be able to engage the panel directly.

The eSeminar, took place on February 1st from 12:00 PM EST to 2:00 PM EST, was open to the public and free to attend. A recording of the event is available on YouTube above, while a report of the event is available for download below.

Dr. Mark Sedra

Dr. Mark Sedra

Moderator

Dr. Mark Sedra is the Executive Director of the Centre for Security Governance. Mark teaches in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and is a faculty member of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Prior to joining the Centre for Security Governance, he was a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the leader of CIGI’s Security Sector Governance project. His research on post-conflict state building has taken him to a number of countries and regions, including Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Sudan, the Middle East and the Balkans.

Mark was formerly a research associate at the Bonn International Center for Conversion, and a visiting research fellow at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. He served as the 2004-2005 Cadieux Léger Fellow in the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Mark has served as a consultant on international security issues to numerous organizations and governments, including the United Nations, DFAIT and the British Department for International Development.

Giselle Lopez

Giselle Lopez

Panelist

Giselle Lopez is a Senior Specialist at the PeaceTech Lab. Giselle’s work with PeaceTech focuses on providing support for the Lab’s Open Situation Room Exchange, a program designed to make data more accessible to the peacebuilding community. At PeaceTech Lab, she has also organized and served as a trainer for exchanges in India, Myanmar, Turkey, and Egypt to build capacity for peacebuilding organizations to incorporate low-cost, easy-to-use technology solutions to support their efforts.

Giselle joined PeaceTech Lab after completing a master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution at American University’s School of International Service. Previously, Giselle worked for the National Democratic Institute’s Information and Communication Technologies program and Crimson Hexagon, a social media analytics company in Boston, where she managed the Social Research Grant Program to extend access to the technology for nonprofits. Giselle is also a Senior Fellow with Humanity in Action.

Walter Dorn

Walter Dorn

Panelist

Dr. Walter Dorn is Professor of Defence Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada and the Canadian Forces College. He specializes in arms control, peace operations, just war theory, international criminal law, international  verification and enforcement, and the United Nations.

As an “operational professor” he participates in field missions and assists international organizations. For instance, he was a UN Electoral Officer for the 1999 referendum in East Timor  He also served as a consultant with the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including on the Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping.

His two most recent books are Air Power in UN Operations: Wings for Peace (Ashgate, 2014) and Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology, and Innovation in UN Peace Operations (UNU Press, 2011).

Nada Basir

Nada Basir

Panelist

Dr. Nada Basir is a strategy professor at the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre at the University of Waterloo. She holds a PhD in Strategic Management, and an M.Sc and B.Sc in Molecular Biotechnology. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Basir worked in the pharmaceutical industry in marketing and business development. For her doctoral research, she was interested in studying the innovation process and patent strategies in large organizations. As she was developing her doctoral proposal, the Arab Spring broke out and she became heavily involved in building a non-profit organization to deal with the Libyan crisis. This became especially challenging as civil society in Libya had been completely suppressed prior to the regime. Dr. Basir found herself fascinated with how civil institutions were being built from scratch at such an incredible rate in post-Gadaffi Libya. She re-focused her doctoral research  to understanding how institutional innovation happens, especially in volatile regions. Her current research looks at the role of institutions in the innovation process, and how innovation affects institutions. She teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the Undergraduate and Graduate level.

Anwar Abas

Anwar Abas

Panelist

Anwar Abas is the Director of Outreach and Partnerships for SalamaTech at the SecDev Foundation.

Working for 12 years in the Syrian development sector, Anwar’s focus has been on empowering marginalized people. He brings a passion and faith to his work, and in turn, finds this experience fulfilling. In working with The Foundation, Anwar supports people to have their voice heard and access information that enables them to be in charge of their own lives.

As the CEO of SOS Children’s Villages Syria, Anwar introduced a widely acclaimed family-strengthening program to prevent child abandonment in at risk communities in Syria. Anwar has also worked for the British Council in Syria and the International Labour Organization. Anwar has lived and worked in Europe, Asia and North America.