Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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

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