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

Afghan Talks Are Historic Chance for Peace, Says Top U.S. Negotiator

Afghan Talks Are Historic Chance for Peace, Says Top U.S. Negotiator

Thursday, September 24, 2020

By: Adam Gallagher

Afghan peace talks that began in Doha on September 12 are a “historic opportunity” that could bring a close to four decades of conflict in the country and end America’s longest war, said the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation on Thursday. The ongoing talks are the “heart of the Afghan peace process,” said Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. “It's important to be fully aware of the significance of this moment, and to recognize its historic relevance.” With a note of a cautious optimism, he said there is hope but still a long road ahead, with many thorny issues to be negotiated.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Normalizing Sudan-Israel Relations Now is a Dangerous Game

Normalizing Sudan-Israel Relations Now is a Dangerous Game

Thursday, September 24, 2020

By: Payton Knopf; Jeffrey Feltman

With the UAE and Bahrain having joined Egypt and Jordan in declaring peace with Israel, those asking “who’s next?” often look enthusiastically westward, toward Khartoum. Adding new chapters to the Abraham Accords is in the U.S. interest, but so is a successful transition in Sudan. And the sequence of these steps is critical. A unified Sudanese government with a popular mandate will be better able to forge a warm and sustainable peace with Israel, whereas a rushed Israeli-Sudanese agreement has the potential to unravel Sudan’s transition and generate renewed support for Sudan’s Islamists and their foreign backers.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Global Policy

Scott Worden on Afghan Peace Talks

Scott Worden on Afghan Peace Talks

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

By: Scott Worden

With talks finally underway between the Taliban and Afghan government, USIP’s Scott Worden says initial expectations should be tempered, as the chances for success are “low in the short term, but much higher than if the talks hadn’t begun,” adding, “you can’t end a war without starting a peace process.”

Type: Podcast

Peace Processes

How International Security Support Contributed to Mali’s Coup

How International Security Support Contributed to Mali’s Coup

Monday, September 21, 2020

By: Ena Dion; Emily Cole

Since a 2012 coup, Mali has received significant security assistance from United States, France, the European Union and other foreign donors to address violent extremism and insurgency and help stabilize the country. In the wake of the August military coup, it is clear that strategy has backfired—and that, in fact, the failure of international security sector assistance to prioritize governance likely contributed to the conditions that led to the coup. With the military now in control and the country facing an uncertain democratic transition, the mistake donors made prior to the coup is clear: They worked to develop Mali’s security capacity, but neglected governance of the security sector and beyond. If international donors, particularly the United States and France, want to help bring peace and stability to Mali—and the region—and achieve their own security objectives they will need to heed these lessons and change their approach to security sector assistance.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

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