The National Academy of Engineering and the U.S. Institute of Peace have established a Roundtable on Technology, Science and Peacebuilding to use science and technology to make a measurable and positive impact on conflict management, peacebuilding, and security capabilities.
The Roundtable on Technology, Science and Peacebuilding is an alliance of government agencies, corporations, international organization, NGOs, and academic leaders pursuing technology applications that support the peacebuilding agenda:
- preventing deadly conflicts
- rehabilitating societies torn by such conflicts
- building communities, cultures and institutions
- that foster inclusive societies and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Launched in 2011 by the National Academy of Engin eering (NAE) and the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the Roundtable meets twice a year. It is co-chaired by the Presidents of NAE (Dan Mote) and USIP (Jim Marshall) (pictured in photo) The Roundtable is currently focused on four initiatives:
- Peacebuilders’ Platform. Integrating a set of open network-based capabilities and relationships to promote the sharing of information and analysis among peacebuilding organizations and host-country actors in crisis locations.
- Agricultural Extension. Enabling and supplementing agricultural extension systems and agents to address conflicts arising from land, water, ethnic and migratory conditions, using technologies to provide remote support and expertise.
- Environmental Stress and Deadly Conflict. Identifying indicators and “stress clusters” from water, food, population and climate-related pressures to anticipate outbreaks of deadly violence (with the National Research Council).
- Technology and Civil Resistance. Developing strategies to apply information and communications (and other) technologies to promote peaceful civil resistance and political mobilization (with the International Center for Non-Violent Conflict.)
- Members and other participants come from multiple federal agencies (State, USAID, DoD, USDA), major NGO’s (Alliance for Peacebuilding, InterAction, International Crisis Group, Mercy Corps, CRDF Global, Search for Common Ground, International Center for Non-Violent Conflict), multi- national corporations (Qualcomm, Microsoft, Google, CH2M Hill, Capital One), international organizations (UNDP), and specialists from think tanks and universities.
During 2013, the Roundtable sponsored workshops on four subjects:
- Adapting Agricultural Extension Systems to Peacebuilding
- Using Data Sharing to Improve Coordination in Peacebuilding
- Sensing and Shaping Emerging Conflicts
- Harnessing Operational Systems Engineering to Support Peacebuilding
Summaries of each Workshop are available on-line and in hard copy.
About NAE and USIP
Both the National Academy of Engineering (with its Academy counterparts for Science, Medicine and Research) and the U.S. Institute of Peace were chartered by the U.S. Congress (in 1863 and 1985, respectively) to provide expert advice on the most critical problems facing the country. Headquartered at the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.--adjacent to the Department of State and facing the Pentagon across the Potomac--both institutions are well-placed to involve in the Roundtable a the wide range of the agencies and organizations represented in Washington, and draw on the networks of experts and supporters both have developed around the United States and the world at large. The essence of the Roundtable is engagement of these larger communities in finding new approaches, applications and products to address concrete problems encountered in field-based settings. Both the National Academies and USIP are just a stone’s throw from the Memorials to Abraham Lincoln and to the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and both were born of the determination of national leaders to find alternatives to war, military intervention and armed violence. (Lincoln signed the law creating the National Academies in the midst of the Civil War and Ronald Reagan signed the legislation creating the Institute at the height of the Cold War.) Their collaboration in the Roundtable comes at a time when America’s military disengagement from Iraq and its transition in Afghanistan call for renewed attention to the non-military dimensions of conflict prevention, stabilization and reconstruction in advancing national security and global welfare.