Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Peacetech exchange II

10 to 12 June, Habib University
by Amna Zafar

After identifying core problematic issues related to their projects, participants were asked to synthesize the challenges into a statement and find a solution to them. Pitches were made by ten teams on the last day  by incorporating selected technologies like a mobile app or a web based app, into their projects to make them able to promote peace. The ideas were generated after being exposed to a diverse range of technologies through the experts present at the event itself. 
The Karachi Biennale Team launched its initiative of peace building by bringing art into public space through involvement from the artist community. The idea involved the use of 100 original Pakistan Cables reels from the urban environment worked on by artists and involved with communities all over Karachi. A large scale city wide project titled Reel on Hai is to be created. An open call has gone out on this website www.karachibiennale.org.pk A web platform that maps the reels, narrates community stories, archives data and encourages civic engagement in one space was needed to create a birds eye view of the project. The webplatform would use open source content management systems like story maps, google maps, storifi etc. in a fun manner to make the project far reaching.

The Karachi Biennale Team comprising of Atteqa Malik, Ruqayya Rizwan, Nasheed Imran and Bina Ali won one of the three prizes that supported peace building in Karachi. The prizes were awarded after a rigorous pitching session from all teams in front of a panel of 5 judges.
The other two winners were Peache Niche, who pitched the creation of an app that connects many players of civic related activities to each other remotely and MentHub that was aiming to create an online space connecting youths to mentors within the city.

Speakers at this event included activist Jibran M Nasir, musician Ali Gul Pir and comedian Faiza Saleem. Technologist Jehan Ara from PASHA gave the closing remarks.
There seemed to be a consensus amongst most speakers that there are very restricted spaces in the city where people can really speak their minds. Such spaces are now becoming available online. The pros and cons of having such spaces available were shared with participants of the workshop thus giving them a very holistic experience to go home with after the three days of peace tech exchange PTXKarachi.

Amna is a multimedia journalist. She takes her coffee very seriously. And loves reading, technology and the outdoors

PeaceTech in Pakistan:

by Amna Zafar

 10 JUNE: Technology for People Initiative, a Lahore based group and PeaceTech Lab, an organization of United States Institute of Peace (USIP) organized Peace Tech Exchange, PTX Karachi at Habib University from Friday 10th June to 12th June. PeaceTech Exchanges have been created all over the world, using technology and media as tools to promote peace building. ‘The Lab brings together engineers, technologists, and data scientists from industry and academia, along with experts in peacebuilding from USIP, other government agencies, NGOs and the conflict zones. These experts collaborate to design, develop, and deploy new and existing technology tools for conflict management and peacebuilding.’1

PTX Karachi was launched on the premise of identifying significant challenges of peace building in Pakistan. Can technology help drive positive change in conflict areas? Can encouraging debate between people from diverse backgrounds help achieve peace?
Sehar Tariq, country representative of USIP for Pakistan was of the view that Pakistan has faced an increase in violence in recent years. On the other hand, she mentioned that people are afraid to express conflicting or opposing views as spaces for free expression are declining steadily here.

The workshop brought together groups of people who are working in civic engagement activities with technology experts. Throughout the three days of the workshop both types of groups were able to interact with each other due to the way the workshop had been designed. Participants jumped from visualizing “violence” and “peace” using art materials to technology centered discussions and meeting guest speakers. Each day ended with participants writing out their goals and plans in a very structured way on large templates provided to them.


Amna is a multimedia journalist. She takes her coffee very seriously. And loves reading, technology and the outdoors