What do stock trading and conflict early warning systems have in common? Interestingly, both rely heavily on mathematical patterns of recognition. According to Joseph Bock, Director of Graduate Studies at the Eck Institute of Global Health at the University of Notre Dame, scholars such as Phil Schrodt have been applying the mathematics of stock trading to detect and identify conflict before it happens. This pattern recognition is part of a process that enables local citizens, NGOs, and humanitarian workers to use cell phones, radio, and online forums to help detect and prevent religious, ethnic, and politically motivated violence. A few weeks ago, Prof. Bock came to the World Bank to talk about his new book, The Technology of Nonviolence, where he discussed the use of social media and other forms of technology to both detect and respond to outbreaks of deadly conflict.
Are post-conflict societies that foster, promote, and develop their cultural industries providing important reconciliation benefits to their communities? If so, should governments make cultural policy a vital part of their post-conflict reconstruction plans?
After the traumatic experience of war, a number of policymakers may consider health, security, food, and shelter as the highest priorities without much consideration for culture. However, what many leaders in post-conflict zones often forget is that a conflicted, divided, and wounded population often compromises real prospects for peace and stability. Consequently, I argue that policies that encourage the development and growth of the cultural industries should be a critical part of post-conflict reconciliation efforts.
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
"Mobile Technologies for Conflict Management: Online Dispute Resolution, Governance, Participation edited by Marta Poblet is now available online and soon in print.
Contributing authors are some of the best writers and thinkers on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), mobile technologies and dispute resolution and in the world today, including Ethan Katsh, Daniel Rainey, Jeffrey Aresty, Colin Rule, Chittu Nagarajan, Michael Best and Ken Banks. All of them are close friends. Ethan and Colin, it can be said, created the theory and practice ODR and way back in 2004 in Melbourne, encouraged me to pursue what at the time was to many a mad idea – the use of mobiles for conflict transformation." READ MORE
The United States Institute for Peace has initiated a Communication for Peacebuilding (CfP) priority grant program to support innovative practice and research designed to increase our understanding of how communication flows and technology can best be leveraged to improve the practice of peacebuilding.
The CfP program is based on two premises. First, communication is fundamental to peacebuilding. Second, in conflict-affected areas, communication technologies are restructuring the relationship between international organizations, local peacebuilders, and communities in ways that allow more people to communicate, more rapidly than ever before. This has significant and perhaps transformational implications for how peacebuilding programs are implemented.
The call for proposals can be accessed here. The CfP program does not have a geographic focus, and projects in all countries and regions are eligible.
One year after the Haiti earthquake, the disaster response/development community is in a reflective mood. And well we should be: despite a massive cash influx in the wake of the disaster, the ongoing daily struggle for existence for many Haitians does not reflect well on the international community's attention span, coordination capabilities, and ability to respond in a sustained fashion to challenging and shifting local conditions. We can and should do better.