The PeaceTech Lab will work at the intersection of technology, media, and data to devise means of reducing violent conflict around the world. It will be a collaborative space where experts in technology work with experts in conflict management and with fellows from the conflict zones themselves to imagine, develop, and deploy new tools for the field.

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Technology has shifted the power of media and mass mobilization from corporate and state-controlled organizations to communities and individuals. At the same time, new insight into human dynamics and sentiment—the DNA of conflict—is being shared on social networking sites and analyzed more rapidly and profoundly than ever before.

The confluence of these factors is producing a transformation in conflict management and peacebuilding. From Kenya to Colombia, Afghanistan to Indonesia, we are seeing media and technology being used in innovative ways to counter age-old drivers of conflict, ranging from election violence and interethnic hatred, to resource shortages and gender violence.

And we can do better. We can accelerate the development of these new tools. We can distribute them faster. And we can engage more people in early warning, early response, and collaborative problem solving.

We believe the answer lies in moving beyond ad hoc innovation towards a more deliberate model, where engineers and scientists from industry and academia work each day alongside experts in peacebuilding from government, NGOs and the conflict zones themselves. The PeaceTech Lab will be an opportunity to do just this – the first facility of its kind, located adjacent to the US Institute of Peace (USIP) on the National Mall, and in close proximity to US and international agencies with the influence and resources needed to scale new solutions. The Lab will be a separate, privately-funded non-profit organization that will work collaboratively with USIP.

The lab will have three main areas of focus:

  • TECHNOLOGY: Developing technology tools that are customized to meet the needs of citizens and organizations working for peace and positive social change in conflict zones around the world. 
  • MEDIA: Producing curriculum-based radio, television, and other multimedia content to inspire changes in attitudes and behavior.
  • DATA: Using new methods of data collection, analysis, and visualization to improve peacebuilders’ decision-making and collaboration capabilities.

Latest Publications

South Sudan’s people have spoken on peace. Is anyone listening?

South Sudan’s people have spoken on peace. Is anyone listening?

Friday, April 16, 2021

By: Ola Mohajer; David Deng

The United States played a key role in the emergence of South Sudan as an independent state 10 years ago. Yet today, U.S. policy toward the country is insufficient to address the continued violence or promote sustainable peace. Even so, it is not too late for U.S. policymakers to embark upon a renewed push for peace. To move forward, they should listen to what South Sudan’s people said in the recently concluded National Dialogue and incorporate its recommendations in diplomatic, humanitarian and development strategies for the country.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan: End to an Endless War?

U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan: End to an Endless War?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

By: Scott Worden; Johnny Walsh; Belquis Ahmadi; Ambassador Richard Olson

President Joe Biden formally announced on Wednesday that the United States will withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11 of this year, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks that led to the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban. The decision comes a month after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken looked to jump-start the moribund intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha, Qatar with a sweeping set of proposals. Although the withdrawal would mean an end to America’s longest war, the implications for Afghanistan’s hard-won progress are immense and many fear the possibility of a rejuvenated civil war after U.S. troops leave.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

The Intertwined Futures of Climate Action, Fragility and Peacebuilding

The Intertwined Futures of Climate Action, Fragility and Peacebuilding

Thursday, April 15, 2021

By: Anthony Navone

Crises are often described narrowly; clearly differentiated by the aspect of society they impact, such as the economy or national security. But the COVID pandemic and looming climate crisis have shown that lines distinguishing one crisis from another aren’t as distinct as they may seem, and that underlying issues like COVID can impact a number of sectors simultaneously. Navigating the intersection of health, economic, governance and humanitarian issues has become the defining challenge of the pandemic response...

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Fragility & Resilience

It Is Time to Rethink U.S. Strategy in the Sahel

It Is Time to Rethink U.S. Strategy in the Sahel

Thursday, April 15, 2021

By: Kamissa Camara

Close to 10 years after the French military intervention pushed al-Qaida affiliated fighters out of northern Mali, the Sahel region continues to make headlines with the world’s fastest growing Islamist insurgency and one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises. Across the region, insecurity and socio-political instability continue to reach new heights. Yet, unrelenting setbacks in the fight against terrorism are undermining political support for international actors within a region where a donor “traffic jam” is currently at play. For these reasons, a change in international policy toward the Sahel is not only necessary, it has become inevitable.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Conflict and Crisis in South Sudan’s Equatoria

Conflict and Crisis in South Sudan’s Equatoria

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

By: Alan Boswell

South Sudan’s civil war expanded into Equatoria, the country’s southernmost region, in 2016, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee into neighboring Uganda in what has been called Africa’s largest refugee exodus since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Equatoria is now the last major hot spot in the civil war. If lasting peace is to come to South Sudan, writes Alan Boswell, it will require a peace effort that more fully reckons with the long-held grievances of Equatorians.

Type: Special Report

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

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