Peacebuilding in the time of a pandemic: What lies ahead?

On 14 April 2020, Sanjana Hattotuwa, an Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation had a conversation with Helena Puig Larauri, Co-founder and Director at Build Up over Skype, on issues anchored to two blog posts penned by Helena. Digital peacebuilding and the pandemic, Part 1 and Part 2, covers a range of issues impacting peacebuilding as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic. The conversation looked at,

  1. What Sanjana called the ‘pandemic panopticon‘ or the accelerated and heightened rise of surveillance after Covid-19.
  2. The implications of peacebuilding frameworks that may no longer be able to bring people together in real life, whereby digitally mediated content, communities and conversations become the default for conflict transformation.
  3. Linked to this, how social media frames and foci, given the absence of real-life, face-to-face interactions, have become the means through which entire populations are now addressed and the implications thereof.
  4. The rise of authoritarianism and populism, including in the West.
  5. The power dynamics within peacebuilding and amongst peacebuilders in dealing with a new or much stronger emphasis on anchoring practice to evidence and data that resides in digital domains.
  6. The consequences around the privatisation of content, where consumers (and peacebuilders) are hostages to corporate whims around use, retention and access.
  7. The challenges around how to access relevant content and commentary generated today when in the future, this material may be firewalled behind and captive to platform and product changes.

Cross-posted from ICT4Peace Foundation website. Read the full post and watch the full video here.

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