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The ICT4Peace Foundation was privileged to work with and support Build Up in the organisation of Build Peace 2016 in Zurich, from 9 - 11 September 2016. Several members of the Foundation were advisors to or part of the team behind Build Peace this year.

Build Peace is the premier annual gathering of individuals and organisations interested in the use of technology for peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Even though the venue and environs were very different to last year's conference in Nicosia, Cyprus, the conversations were deep and meaningful across the board, and especially on the second day. The Foundation is particularly glad to see the mainstreaming of ethics and moreover, the arts and culture programme into the heart of BuildPeace. As we noted on Twitter,


The selection of speakers and the conference format worked very well. Whereas so many others working around Peace Tech focus on the technology, Build Peace presentations, keynotes and discussions focussed on intent, context, ethics and sustainability - issues that are still worrying alien to so many working in this domain. A lot the Foundation encountered over the two days and spoke with were also extremely appreciative of the 'unconference' at the end, noting that this was the first or one of the very few conferences they had attended which gave everyone a voice. 

With Build Peace 2016 anchored to transformation, all the sessions probed into issues central to the use of technology in peace. On the second day, Prof. Dirk Helbing from ETH, and a leading champion of Build Peace, gave a presentation that was extremely well received on a new paradigm for peace. The short talks were well curated, offering perspectives from around the world and as far afield as South-East Asia around the use of technology - in its broadest sense - to build peace at community, regional and national levels. The workshops, often in parallel, were hard to choose between and offered deeper dives into specific regional contexts, issues, topics or technologies.

Our Twitter feed (@ictpeace) and the hashtag #buildpeace, #ict4peace or #peacetech over the last couple of days is full of insights, observations, comments and discussions around the conference and the issues it raised. We have archived every public single tweet and retweet with these hashtags and can freely make this content available to interested researchers and data scientists. Please contact sanjanahattotuwa [at] ict4peace [dot] org with your request and a brief outline of why you want the data.

Sanjana Hattotuwa, a Special Advisor at the Foundation and Advisor to Build Peace, gave some well-received introductory remarks on Day 1 on the conference, the slidedeck of which is available online.