PeaceTech News Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


PeaceTech Roundup
Weekly News Highlights, September 18 - 24, 2014


Technology and Science

Media and Social Media

Obama vows to defeat Isis and rallies UN against 'network of death'
While acknowledging that terrorism was nothing new, President Obama suggested that the movement's extreme brutality coupled with its mastery of tools of globalisation like social media made the group a particularly potent threat. "That means contesting the space that terrorists occupy - including the Internet and social media. Their propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad to fight their wars, and turned students into suicide bombers. We must offer an alternative vision," he said. He emphasised that Washington was now seeking as wide a coalition as possible to combat the influence of Isis, starting in the Islamic world.
See the full article (The Guardian, 9/24/14, Julian Borger)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "MENA Region in Crisis: Islam, Democracy, and Extremism" on September 29, 2014 at 10:00am.
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International Peace Day: Social Media as a Tool for #TalkingPeace
International Day of Peace is a timely reminder of the positive value social media plays towards conflict transformation through the combined effort of dialogue and peace activism. Tweeting for peace and encouraging greater peace activism can silence the hail of bullets, indeed tomorrow's headlines can be fought and won on social media. Social media can be a genuine means to take ownership of conflict prevention. It is vital that we continue #talkingpeace to ensure that all people have the chance to live and enjoy a future in peace and security.
See the full article (Huffington Post, 9/22/14, Vanessa Thevathasan)
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Russian Protesters Flood Streets of Moscow Seeking Peace in Ukraine
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Moscow Sunday as part of a march calling for peace between Russia and Ukraine. Many of the complaints from the demonstrators centered on the Russian government's tight grip on state media outlets. Sarah Mendelson, director of the Human Rights Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Putin has "weaponized information," and the government and media are presenting information about Ukraine that does not resemble the reality of what is happening in the country.
See the full article (Vice, 9/22/14, Kayla Ruble)
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CNN Explains Why Network Won't Show Latest ISIS Video
A CNN executive said Sunday that the network won't be showing the latest video released by the Islamic State because it contained no new information and was nothing but a clear use of torture by the militant group. CNN had a tough debate over whether to play the video on air. But ultimately Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director of CNN International said, the "editorial returns were not worth the ethical compromises" of showing the tape.
See the full article (Huffington Post, 9/21/14, Catherine Taibi)
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Journalists are becoming propaganda - and we must do more to protect them
Most journalists know that in conflict zones they might find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. But most journalists also do everything they can to mitigate risks. This seems to be one of the darkest periods for the safety of journalists where colleagues are being targeted with frequency: detained, kidnapped, beaten, assaulted, harassed and subjected to threats against their families and their lives. It's no longer enough, it seems, for the detractors of journalists to be killing the messenger. Now the messenger has become the channel for someone else's despicable message.
See the full article (The Guardian, 9/21/14, Hannah Storm)
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Off the Radar: Stealth Conflicts and the Media
While certain "chosen" conflicts attract media attention worldwide, many "stealth conflicts" remain largely underreported. Conflict in the Central African Republic is largely absent from the public consciousness in the world outside the region, and its future place in our collective memories is tenuous to say the least. The same can be said for the remaining 20-40 armed conflicts the world hosts at any given time.
See the full article (Fair Observer, 9/19/14, Virgil Hawkins)
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Featured Story from the USIP Foreign Policy Peace Channel

If You Want Peace, You Have to Plan for It by Kristin Lord and Ann-Louise Colgan
The challenge of building peace is an urgent one, and disengagement is not an option. As the trend toward greater global violence looms large, working for peace matters, and it's essential to include young people. Ultimately, it is the next generation of peacebuilders who will shape the future of U.S. global engagement and who will lead the search for practical, nonviolent solutions in a dangerous world.
See the full article

Click to read "Engaging Youth in Building Peace: An International Day of Peace Twitter Chat" an Olive Branch Post by Megan Chabalowski.
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Technology and Science

Can ICTs Improve Democracy and Governance in Myanmar?
We all remember how ICT played a powerful role in the Arab Spring, but can we expect to see a similar rise in civic political action, as 60 million Burmese gain Internet access virtually overnight? Historically, ethnic tensions have been at the source of many of Myanmar's conflicts and coups. Myanmar doesn't need fancy technology or more NGOs. It needs a strong democracy. ICT can assist in the process. ICT can also amplify citizens' demands for better governance.
See the full article (ICT Works, 9/24/14, Maria Anderson))
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Climate Change Is a Cause That Should Unite Us All
The science is clear and tells us that human actions are the dominant cause of climate change in the modern era. From Manhattan to the Maldives, no one escapes the impacts of climate change. Climate change is causing displacement, fueling conflict and jeopardizes development across the world. If ever there were a cause which should unite us all, old or young, rich or poor, climate change must be it.
See the full article (Huffington Post, 9/23/14, Kofi Annan)
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What Will Become of Syria's Students and Scholars?
This summer, the Institute of International Education reviewed more than 100 urgent applications from Syrian scholars. Among them were agricultural economists, pharmaceutical scientists, plant physiologists, textile scientists, and linguists. A failure to preserve Syria's vital academic capital would place even larger roadblocks on the path to peace and stability in the years to come.
See the full article (Huffington Post, 9/22/14, Allan E. Goodman and Jorge Sampaio)
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Putin Is Considering Unplugging The Internet In Russia During Protests Or War
Russia is considering measures to protect its cyberspace from the "unpredictable" West, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Friday after a newspaper said Moscow was contemplating unplugging the Internet during protests or war. Putin will convene Monday a meeting of the country's Security Council to discuss possible restrictions on the Russian cyberspace -- the last forum for free expression in the country. Authorities were contemplating measures to unplug Russia from the global web in emergency situations such as major protests or military hostilities.
See the full article (Business Insider, 9/19/14, Anna Smolchenko and Olga Rotenberg)
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