Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Comparing Guidance for Tech Companies in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations

Policy Brief  No.125 - March, 2022

This research report explores the strengths and weaknesses of four different frameworks tech companies, governments, and civil society can use to assess harms and benefits of new technologies. The four frameworks include human rights, conflict sensitivity, ethics, and human security. The research methodology involved interviews among diverse stakeholders in technology and civil society sectors. This research contributes policy recommendations for developing practical, operationalizable guidance that could have an immediate impact on tech companies’ work in countries or regions at risk of human rights abuses and violent conflict.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Transforming the Colour of US Peacebuilding: Types of Dialogue to Protect and Advance Multi-racial Democracy

Policy Brief  No.114 - September, 2021

Strategies to advance democracy in the US are fragmented with white peacebuilders mainly focusing on using dialogue to reduce political polarisation, and black and brown social justice activists mainly emphasizing the need for shifting power to ensure democratic representation and basic rights already enjoyed by most white people. This article begins with a race- and gender- sensitive analysis of the history of US polarisation and changemaking methods. It interrogates the ideas of “civility” and “impartiality” within the US context. This article asserts that the Movement for Black Lives should be understood as a peacebuilding strategy, and that bridgebuilding dialogue is relevant for building coalitions and support for racial justice. A model visualising four types of bridgebuilding dialogue offers a strategic peacebuilding vision for the US.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Cognitive-Affective Mapping and Digital Peacebuilding

Policy Brief  No.111 - June, 2021

Ideologies play a fundamental role in the emergence, escalation and resolution of conflict by underpinning divergent narratives and worldviews. These ideologies develop and are reinforced over the course of a lifetime. Practitioners need the proper tools to adequately visualise these complex ideologies in individuals and/or groups and work with them as part of a larger peacebuilding process. This policy brief presents a technique for visualising ideologies using a new software tool called Valence that enables technology-assisted Cognitive Affective Mapping(CAM). It then offers lessons from a recent online conflict resolution exercise in which multiple stakeholders used this tool in an ongoing water conflict in Canada via a series of facilitated Zoom sessions held in 2020.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

From Airtable to Zoom: An A-to-Z Guide to Digital Tech and Activism 2021

Policy Brief  No.107 - April, 2021

This policy brief maps how activists are using technology to pursue public interests in human rights, democracy and a livable environment. It looks at how cell phone tech has upped the outreach and mobilising game for campaigns, dives into digital storytelling and fundraising, explores key digital tools for collaboration and training, covers cybersecurity considerations and closes with a broad look at topical creative tech-based nonviolent activist success stories. Though digital tech is no silver bullet for successful campaigns, there are clear uses and recommendations to build power and win with digital technology.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Peacebuilding and the Norms of Technological Change

Policy Brief  No.103 - February, 2021

The regulation of emerging technologies is particularly challenging. This policy brief argues that peacebuilders need to devote more attention to engaging the private sector in order to influence the culture and ultimately the norms of the organisations and individuals closest to the development of advanced technologies. Running throughout this analysis are references to two contrasting contexts: the innovation ecosystems in Silicon Valley, California, and what has at times been referred to as “Silicon Valley North” in Waterloo, Ontario (Canada).