The Second Cohort of the PeaceTech Accelerator Looks to Expand the Scope of 'Peacetech'

The Second Cohort of the PeaceTech Accelerator Looks to Expand the Scope of 'Peacetech'

Technical.ly

It's looking for startups that want to use technology to assist communities in crisis.

Five months ago, when Amazon Web ServicesC5 and the PeaceTech Labdebuted their inaugural cohort for the PeaceTech Accelerator, several misconceptions were stacked against the project.

Perception topped the list, according to Sheldon Himelfarb, PeaceTech Lab president and CEO.

“When people think about conflict, they’re picturing bombed-out buildings, bullets flying and chaos. But the fact is, in nearly every conflict zone we’ve worked, we see [technology],” Himelfarb said. “You don’t have to be defined by your immediate circumstances — there’s an outlet for expression, for cultivating and sharing new ideas, and for building something with purpose and value.”

Keeping the Peace Via Text

Keeping the Peace Via Text

US News & World Report

In Kenya, where elections can lead to violence, advocates pin their hopes on technology. 

MPEKETONI, Kenya —Two dozen women have arranged themselves in a circle under the shade of a cashew tree, some with infants in their arms and toddlers at their feet. The afternoon meeting in this small farming community near Mpeketoni is not out of the ordinary. What's new is the handful of young people from the city who have come to tell the villagers about a text messaging-based phone app designed to prevent massacres.

"Do you know the meaning of rumors?" asks Margaret Wainaina in Kiswahili, but the women have yet to warm up to questions. "It's when you don't know if something is true or not," she says, receiving steady head nods in response. "If you hear something, before you go tell your neighbor, check with us."

Wainaina is a project coordinator for Una Hakika, an initiative from the Canadian nonprofit The Sentinel Project, an anti-genocide effort. In the regional language Kiswahili, "Una hakika?" means "Are you sure?" and the goal is to squash disinformation that can lead to conflict, especially in the lead-up to Kenya's hotly contested general election on August 8.

'Unreasonable Goals Program' Hosts Entrepreneurs Focused on SDGs

'Unreasonable Goals Program' Hosts Entrepreneurs Focused on SDGs

International Institute for Sustainable Development

July 2017: The Unreasonable Group, the US Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, and Johnson&Johnson hosted a two-week Unreasonable Goals program that brought together 16 entrepreneurial solutions, each of which aim to solve one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The winning solutions have connected over 7 million job seekers in India, saved almost 3 billion gallons of water and 450 acres of forest, and reused 2.5 million kilograms of plastic waste, among other achievements.

Unreasonable Goals is a public-private partnership dedicated to engaging highly profitable entrepreneurs with cutting edge technologies in contributing to achieving the SDGs. The 2017 event was the inaugural Unreasonable Goals accelerator program. The program is expected to run annually until 2030, collaborating with over 200 entrepreneurs and dozens of multinationals and national government. Lowe’s, Thomson Reuters, Bluescape, Amazon Web Services, and PeaceTech Lab also collaborated on the 2017 program.

Washington DC Based PeaceTech Accelerator is Encouraging Afrikan Startups to Apply for its 2nd Cohort

Washington DC Based PeaceTech Accelerator is Encouraging Afrikan Startups to Apply for its 2nd Cohort

iAfrikan

The Washington DC based PeaceTech Accelerator has opened applications for its 2nd cohort and it is encouraging Afrikan startups to also apply. The 2nd cohort is set to start with the Accelerator program in Washington DC from 8 September 2017.

The PeaceTech Accelerator is an international startup accelerator program focussed on cloud innovation and dedicated to helping startups scale. The program runs over eight-weeks and it includes mentorship as well as a training part which has particular emphasis on cloud technology to help startups and non-profit organizations scale rapidly and sustainably.

Boko Haram zet steeds vaker vrouwen in bij zelfmoordaanslagen

Boko Haram zet steeds vaker vrouwen in bij zelfmoordaanslagen

DeMorgen.

De terreurgroep Boko Haram zet steeds vaker vrouwen in om zelfmoordaanslagen te plegen in Noordoost-Nigeria. Twee jonge vrouwen bliezen zich maandag op in een moskee in Maiduguri, de stad waar Boko Haram ruwweg tien jaar geleden opkwam. Het gebouw stortte in en er vielen acht doden. Een week eerder vielen negentien doden toen een vrouw zich opblies in een drukke straat van Maiduguri.

Het aantal aanslagen is volgens Nigeria-expert David Ehrhardt van de Universiteit Leiden toegenomen, omdat Boko Haram in het nauw is gedreven. "Het plegen van sporadische aanslagen is dan een logische stap", zegt hij. Daarnaast hebben vrouwen een tactisch voordeel volgens Ehrhardt, omdat ze "makkelijker wapens kunnen transporteren onder hun kleren".

Channels Academy Partners With Peace Agency To Tackle Hate Speech

Channels Academy Partners With Peace Agency To Tackle Hate Speech

Channels Television

A growing source of concern that divides people and societies is the use of hate speech through the social and mainstream media.

It is a trend Channels Academy hopes to check in the coming days, working in partnership with the Peace Media and Peace Tech Lab.

The Director of the Peace Media and Peace Tech Lab, Theo Dolan, who was at the launch of the Channels Academy in Abuja, said his organisation would support the academy’s curriculum.

“With the launch of the Channels (journalism) Academy, we can integrate hate speech training into the academy’s curriculum and that is what we are hoping to do. We’ll be in discussions about that and I think this is something that professional media can learn more about as well,” he said.

PeaceTech Accelerator looking for more startups for its next cohorts

PeaceTech Accelerator looking for more startups for its next cohorts

Ventureburn

PeaceTech Accelerator, a Washington DC based cloud innovation centre and scale-up programme devoted to peace technology, is looking for more participants for its next cohort starting on 8 September with the third planned for January next year.

PeaceTech Accelerator was launched earlier this year by tech investment firm C5 Accelerate and PeaceTech Lab , a peace building non-profit, in collaboration with cloud computing service provider, Amazon Web Services, and has since graduated its first cohort.

It runs eight week programmes for companies and non-profit organisations involved in the development of innovative technologies that promote peace and build stronger, safer societies.

Why Europe has a greater terror problem than the United States

Why Europe has a greater terror problem than the United States

USA Today

Recent terror attacks in the United States are far less common than in Europe, and Americans can thank geography and assimilation for that.

There were 100 attacks that killed 97 people in the U.S. in 2015-2016, compared to 604 attacks that claimed 383 victims in Western Europe during the same time period, according to the University of Maryland's Global Terrorism Database.

"There are oceans separating North America from the main conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa," where recent terrorists have been radicalized, said Phil Gurski, a former Canadian intelligence analyst who runs a threat and risk consulting firm. "It is far easier for extremists to get to Italy from Libya than it is for them to go from Libya to Canada or the U.S." 

Why Businesses Hold the Key to Stemming the Tide of Radicalization

Why Businesses Hold the Key to Stemming the Tide of Radicalization

Observer

The world is gripped in fear, and day after day, we are reminded why. This ongoing project between Esri and PeaceTech Lab reveals that more than 400 reported terrorist attacks have occurred across the globe in 2017, with the estimated death count nearing 3,000.

Our fears are valid, and our desire to stem the tide of new terrorist recruits is necessary. However, our best shot at accomplishing this goal may not be found in our military’s ranks; it’s likely located within the private sector.

In South Sudan, Fake News Has Deadly Consequences

In South Sudan, Fake News Has Deadly Consequences

Slate

Misinformation can fuel bloodshed

Last month, fear spread that South Sudan’s government would collapse. The president had just removed the country’s powerful army chief of staff, Paul Malong, a hard-liner widely cast as the architect of some of the East African nation’s worst bouts of violence. The shake-up risked dividing the military in a country already mired in a chaotic three-year civil war largely divided along tribal lines. The conflict has produced ethnic cleansingfamine, and the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world. After Malong’s removal, the army was put on high alert.

Then the fake news came.

On Facebook, pages known for spouting ethnic propaganda began posting updates with wild news reports. One particularly egregious offender, the pro-Malong “Aweil Eye” page, claimed that a militia loyal to the recently sacked army chief was withdrawing from all over South Sudan and assembling in the city of Aweil. It implied they were getting ready to fight the government. Another post linked to an article claiming South Sudanese President Salva Kiir had been shot dead. Both were completely false. Yet the posts, and ones like it, helped fuel online panic about a possible military coup.

Global reign of terror: map plots every terrorist attack and death in real-time

Global reign of terror: map plots every terrorist attack and death in real-time

Wired

Based on crowdsourced data, the map shows a chronology of attacks worldwide

The ongoing laptop ban, March's Westminster attack, the shocking scenes at Manchester Arena and the London Bridge attack have brought terrorism back to the front pages in the UK. Since the start of 2017, there have been 535 attacks, with 3,635 fatalities (at the time of writing) across the globe.

Many of the gravest attacks have taken place in nations relatively overlooked by the majority of the public including Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia, and Bangladesh. To highlight the problem, and preserve a record of these atrocities, Esri Story Maps has teamed up and PeaceTech Lab to build the Terrorism Map.

Based on crowdsourced data, the map shows a chronology of terrorist attacks worldwide on the left-hand side and each of the attacks are plotted on a map using coloured circles on the right. From the list on the left, you can scroll back through 2017 to see which attacks occurred on which dates.

Junub Games Reaches for Peace as South Sudan Wages War

Junub Games Reaches for Peace as South Sudan Wages War

Voice of America

 Political feuds and ethnic violence in South Sudan have displaced more than 1.5 million people. Among them is a software engineer determined to push past hate to promote peace through games.

“Hate is one of the things that is inciting violence in South Sudan right now,” Lual Mayen, a game developer from Juba, South Sudan, told Techtonics.

Living in a refugee camp in Uganda, Mayen saw first-hand the consequences of hate-mongering and ethnic conflict, undeterred by numerous cease-fires and peace talks. All efforts to reconcile the Dinka and Nuer tribes, at odds since former Dinka Vice President Salva Kiir was dismissed in 2013, had failed. Change was necessary. As a game developer, Mayen was determined to help educate the country’s youth.

Two thirds of South Sudan’s population is under the age of 30. “They are not educated,” he lamented, “and their [lack of knowledge] is killing the country.”

So he founded Junub Games, a nonprofit organization that turns out video and board games with a singular focus on peace building. Within months, he released ‘Salaam,’ a mobile game whose name means ‘peace.’

A Startup That Creates 'Sociable Networks' Off-Line

A Startup That Creates 'Sociable Networks' Off-Line

Forbes

Social media provides a unique mechanism for fast communication and all sorts of good things. But it’s not so great for fostering real, authentic, in-person interaction. Thus while the potential upside is huge, so is the downside.

Enter Wistla.

About three years ago, psychologist Dr. Richard Wolman started noticing a troubling phenomenon among many of his tech-using patients. They seemed to be suffering from an anxiety that stemmed from a lack of strong real-life bonds.

After he shared that observation with friend and entrepreneur/techie Paul Schulz, they started working on a concept—a platform that could create what Schulz calls “a digital humanist response” to the interpersonal vacuum and online bubbles caused by social media.

5 Q’s for Rohini Srihari, Chief Data Scientist at PeaceTech Lab

5 Q’s for Rohini Srihari, Chief Data Scientist at PeaceTech Lab

Center for Data Innovation

The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Rohini Srihari, chief data scientist at PeaceTech Lab, a peacebuilding nonprofit based in Washington, DC. Srihari discussed the importance of data in peacebuilding and how nonprofit startups are adopting strategies from the private sector.

Joshua New: Over the past few years, the concept of “data for good” has become increasingly popular, though PeaceTech Lab is somewhat unique in that it focuses specifically on peace rather than just social good as a whole. What role does data play in peacebuilding?

Rohini Srihari: Our view is that data plays a huge role in peacebuilding and conflict prevention, and that the importance of data is only going to get more important. I think the best way to explain why is to give you the different ways data can be used in peacebuilding. One of the ways we use data is in early warning systems. Early warning can range from something very near-term—for example we’ve seen solutions that provide warnings about imminent bombing raids in Syria—to something longer out. You can take satellite data and sensor data to predict crop failure in certain regions in the world sometimes up to three months in advance. This kind of information can be very useful when trying to anticipate refugee migration patterns in advance rather than just reacting to a crisis when it happens.  

ISIS tops the 2017 terror charts in new world map which shows 406 extremist strikes across the globe already this year

ISIS tops the 2017 terror charts in new world map which shows 406 extremist strikes across the globe already this year

DailyMail.com

  • Map shows the amount of terrorism attacks which have taken place globally since the beginning of 2017
  • The colour-coordinated map shows, so far, 406 attacks have taken place, which have killed 2,835 people
  • The larger the circles, the more deaths have taken place in that particular city or town as a result of an attack
  • Afghanistan and Iraq have the largest circles on the map due to 265 and 266 people being killed respectively

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the largest number of terrorism attacks in the world this year, according to an interactive map.

The map, created by Esri Story Maps and PeaceTech Lab, shows that Islamic State has has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks so far on the map - 140 in total - while a group listed as 'other', such as lone wolves, closely follow behind with 130 attacks.

As a result, Islamic State is responsible for 1,180 deaths that have occurred as a result of terrorism this year, with the total number of deaths being 2,835 by 1pm on May 6.

PeaceTech Lab Africa Director Theo Dolan discusses Hate Speech on #WorldPressFreedomDay

PeaceTech Lab Africa Director Theo Dolan discusses Hate Speech on #WorldPressFreedomDay

Radio Miraya

Theo Dolan, Director of PeaceTech Lab Africa and PeaceMedia, discusses the problem of hate speech in South Sudan, how people can take steps to verify and report instances of hate speech or "fake news," and encourages professional media outlets to report on cases of misinformation.

C5, Amazon Web Services, and PeaceTech Lab welcome startups to PeaceTech Accelerator

C5, Amazon Web Services, and PeaceTech Lab welcome startups to PeaceTech Accelerator

For Immediate Release

Startups will work with the three partner companies and mentors to reach the next stage of development

Washington D.C. April 27, 2017C5, the investment specialist firm focused on cloud computing, cyber security and big data analytics, announces today that five startups have entered its PeaceTech Accelerator, housed at the iconic United States Institute of Peace building on the National Mall. C5 is the lead investor and is working with Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) and PeaceTech Lab.

Peacetech is recognized as the application of technology to assist civilians living in conflict and crisis zones. The startups were selected based on their ability to produce innovative technologies that manage, mitigate, predict, or prevent conflict and promote sustainable peace. They have already developed prototypes for further development.

The first group is a combination of for-profit and not-for-profit companies. In many cases the for-profit companies are already revenue generating. Examples of their work include: technology to increase security for women in crowded spaces; online gaming to promote empathy; and interactive applications that provide a platform for children in conflict zones to tell their stories.

Online fake news and hate speech are fueling tribal 'genocide' in South Sudan

Online fake news and hate speech are fueling tribal 'genocide' in South Sudan

Public Radio International

South Sudan became the world’s newest country in 2011. But since breaking from Sudan, it’s been riven by its own internal conflicts between clan groups, minor warlords and government factions.

Earlier this month, the United Nations World Food Program discovered three of its workers were killed there. The violence has gotten so bad that a senior British official has made the rare move by a foreign government of calling it outright tribal “genocide.”

Meanwhile, internet monitors are watching very closely. Online hate speech and fake news posts seem to be inciting some of the real world violence, according to researchers and activists.

“There’s a huge potential for genocide using the mechanism of social media to drive the conflict,” says Stephen Kovats, a founder of #DefyHateNow, a nonprofit working to counter online hate speech in South Sudan.

In South Sudan, “inflammatory rhetoric, stereotyping and name calling have been accompanied by targeted killings and rape of members of particular ethnic groups, and by violent attacks against individuals or communities on the basis of their perceived political affiliation,” says a November report by Adama Dieng, the United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide. “The media, including social media, are being used to spread hatred and encourage ethnic polarization.”

Tech peace pioneers wanted

Tech peace pioneers wanted

Innovators Magazine

Technological advances are reshaping the way the world works and a new accelerator is supporting the development of platforms focused on ending conflict and promoting sustainable peace.

Launched by the PeaceTech Lab and C5 Accelerate, with support from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the initiative – which labels itself as the ‘first cloud innovation centre’ – provides startups with eight weeks of financial and professional backing, along with access to international decision makers.