Questions about the promises and dangers of technology have recently dominated headlines—but less often covered are the stories of practitioners and start-ups leveraging their know-how to build peace. On May 31, the Justice Sector Training, Research and Coordination Program and the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a symposium to tackle the difficult questions of how technology can be used to strengthen rule of law, security, community engagement, and relationships between states and the people they serve in developing and conflict-affected areas.

This included a series of expert panels on technology and rule of law, and an exciting networking session with local entrepreneurs that are driving technology forward to meet peacebuilders' needs. Review the conversation on Twitter with #RuleofLawTech.

Welcoming Remarks

Nancy Lindborg
President, United States Institute of Peace

Harry Bader
Acting Executive Director, U.S. Global Development Lab, U.S. Agency for International Development

Hamid Khan
Deputy Director, Rule of Law Collaborative, University of South Carolina

Session One: Innovations in Law Enforcement: Digital Investigative Analysis & Forensic Science: Advances and Setbacks

Lindsay Freeman, Moderator
Human Rights Center Research Fellow, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley

Mark D. Mogle
Deputy Assistant Director for Forensics, International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, U.S. Department of Justice

Mark Grantz
Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office, U.S. Secret Service

Joe Varani
Digital Investigative Analyst, Cybercrime Lab, U.S. Department of Justice

Exhibitors

Keynote Address

Luis C. deBaca
Former Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and Former Director Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) U.S. Department of Justice

Session Two: Innovations in Engagement: From Mobile Apps to Social Media

Rohini SrihariModerator
Chief Data Scientist, PeaceTech Lab

Jeffrey Aresty
President, InternetBar.org

Karen Naimer
Director, Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, Physicians for Human Rights

Antoine Heuty
Founder and CEO, Ulula LLC

Zaid Zaid
Public Policy, Strategic Response, Facebook, Inc.

Session Three: Innovations in E-Governance: From Case Management to Consensus Building

Andrew SolomonModerator
Senior Rule of Law Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development

Jeff Apperson
Vice President, National Center for State Courts

Julia Glidden
General Manager, IBM Global Business Services - Global Government Industry

Nino Vardosanidze
Senior Legislative and Oversight Manager, Good Governance Initiative, Tetra Tech ARD (Republic of Georgia)

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In Niger, Foreign Security Interests Undermine Stability—What Can Be Done?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

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Over the past decade, the United States, France, and the European Union (EU) have drastically increased security assistance to countries in the Sahel region. They have done so to address two perceived transnational threats—violent extremism and mass migration to Europe—but have often neglected Sahel countries’ own interests and long-term stability. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Niger, the world’s poorest country. Although in 2018 the country received $1.2 billion in external aid—representing 13 percent of its GDP—it has not made the country safer for Nigeriens. If long-term peace and stability is the end goal of foreign security assistance, donor countries need to center Nigeriens’ priorities in their aid.

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As Afghan peace talks in Doha move forward, a vital component to the success of any peace deal will be how Afghanistan’s security sector can reform to sustain peace after more than 40 years of violence, and how the international community can best assist. This effort would benefit from recalling the lessons of another time when there was need for a comprehensive reconsideration of Afghanistan’s security sector: the two years immediately following the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban regime. Despite the many important changes, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have undergone and a dramatically different context, key lessons from 2002-03 remain relevant to guide thinking ahead of and after a peace agreement.

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Five Things to Know About Mali’s Coup

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On August 18, rising tensions to boiled over into a mutiny, leading to the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. This dramatic chain of events followed three months of protests, calling for Keita’s resignation. As the country grapples with an intractable insurgency and eight years of instability, anger over the government’s failure to resolve conflict, respect democratic norms, and provide basic services pushed citizens and the military to their boiling point. What comes next in Mali over the coming months could have significant implications for the country’s democracy and on the stability of the Sahel.

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