Remembering is resisting

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
I gave a short talk on the politics of digital memorialisation through personal archives at Colomboscope 2016 on a panel titled ‘Rendering Realities’, moderated by Subha Wijesiriwardena. The festival’s description of my presentation read, Sanjana focuses on the role of the human in creating digital archives. He reflects on the ways digital archives are being generated, some of the technologies ...

Whatsapp during a live protest

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Not for the first time, I relied very heavily on WhatsApp in covering the Different Yet Equal vigil in Colombo, and the resulting drama. Updates sent to the Groundviews WhatsApp group (which at the time of writing this has over one hundred subscribers) included audio, video and photos. Also sent vital context around the use of the racist Sinhale flag. ...

Sinhale’s crisis of legitimacy

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Though this poster is very easily debunked, the intent is clear. It is not just aimed at discrediting those who organised the vigil. The purpose it serves is larger and holds currency for longer. The intent here is to mislead and spread hate against identity groups targeted by Sinhale as being somehow anti-patriotic, alien and invasive. The intended audience ...

Government Information Centre as portal for Right to Information in Sri Lanka

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
I was recently asked for my input to a submission to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) process around Sri Lanka’s Right to Information (RTI) framework. In the course of my research, I revisited the Government’s 1919 call centre and web based services, run by the Government Information Centre. When studying the 1919 framework, it was immediately evident that it could ...

Leveraging technology for social change in Sri Lanka

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Friend and colleague Sam de Silva, also the Country Director of Internews Sri Lanka, has an interesting op-ed published in The Daily FT today. Communications and information are critical to the success of this new Government, particularly with the two massive undertakings of building a new constitution and taking the country through a reconciliation process. The Government must have a ...

Build Peace 2016: Don’t miss out on registration!

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
We are getting closer to Build Peace 2016, which going by the agenda now online is shaping up to be the best yet. Spread over three days, we have a great line-up of speakers (online bots for activism, virtual reality for peacebuilding, combating extremism online) and a growing selection of workshops (videogames for peace, co-designing technology, trauma and wellbeing ...

Digital memories

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
We seek to remember more and more, by producing more and more. There’s no reason for any economy or careful framing in photography, when burst mode or a hundred different perspectives afforded by everyone present all can be uploaded, for free, in close to real time if need be. So much of remembering used to be linked to the joy ...

Session on social media in Sri Lanka

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Made the following introductory presentation on social media in Sri Lanka today, focussing on civic media, to around 25 – 30 new recruits of the National Information Centre. The training was held at Visumpaya in Colombo, and conducted in Sinhala and English. Filed under: ICT for Peacebuilding

Archiving the future

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Consultations around reconciliation post-war will invariably deal with memory, and contested historical records. It sounds counter-intuitive, but memory is in fact more about the future than it is about the past. If we lose access to content around what happened in the past and why, we lose the ability to create the future we want and risk repeating history. Not ...

Roanu’s wrath

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Disaster response and the use of technology. Some thoughts on how ICTs were used in the response to Cyclone Roanu that hit Sri Lanka earlier this month. Disasters make pundits of many. And yet, when the next hazard hits, we often tend to deal with the significant challenges around the same, if not greater magnitude of a disaster. The process ...

Countering Violent Extremism & Mobile Advocacy in Myanmar

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Cross-posted from the ICT4Peace Foundation’s website. ### I was invited to take part in Tech Camp 2016, held at Phandeeyar, where I talked about and trained on mobile advocacy and activism strategies. Calling on the work engineered in Sri Lanka around election monitoring, civil society mobilisation, voter education and civic media, I talked about how mobiles were used to bear ...

Operationalizing Peace Operations Reform

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Clearing the Decks After a Year of Reviews: Operationalizing Peace Operations Reform, organised by ZIF, the Centre for International Peace Operations, was held from 25 – 26 February just outside of Berlin. Agenda here. I was asked to make a presentation on New Technologies and New Media as it related to UN peacekeeping. The presentation can be found below, ...

Technology and Public Participation – What’s New?

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Via ConstitutionNet’s website. ### Sanjana Hattotuwa of the ICT4Peace Foundation speaks about the key characteristics and functionalities of the internet, social media and mobile technologies which have changed our world, and which offer promise for democratizing constitution building processes. What’s changing? Information flow is new.  The diffusion of information and events is far faster than before.  Information flow across countries, languages, ...

Mobility – Creating Space: Colomboscope 2015

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
The creator of Groundviews Sanjana Hattotuwa and science writer Nalaka Gunawardene explore technology and innovation in the context of becoming ‘active’ citizens, and in the politics and the language of belonging. Advocate Priyanga Hettiarachi moderated this session. Filed under: ICTs in general

Counter-speech: What works?

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
I was recently in Myanmar, where at the invitation of the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), I conducted an information presentation on hate and dangerous speech monitoring plus counter-speech strategies, as well as social media strategies during and in response to elections. In a subsequent conversation with someone from the excellent Phandeeyar initiative based in Yangon, we talked about ...

Using technology to make or revise a constitution

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Cross posted from the ICT4Peace Foundation’s website. ### The ICT4Peace Foundation, in collaboration with International Idea and Google Ideas, curated the first of its kind workshop on technology and constitutional building processes at the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia, on Monday, 16 November 2015. The concept note to the workshop can be read here. As noted on the event webpage, ...

Open data, civil society and data journalism in Sri Lanka

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
I delivered a presentation on open data, civil society and data driven journalism at the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI), as part of a half-day introductory seminar on ‘open data’ organised by Internews Network. The seminar looked at ‘open data’ and discussed the role civil society, the media and technologists can play in advocating to government to open up ...

Technology in Parliament: Opening Pandora’s Box or enabling citizens?

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Paper prepared at the invitation of Dr. Asanga Welikala for a preparatory advisory roundtable on a new constitution for Sri Lanka, hosted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Constitution Building Programme of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law (ECCL) inn collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka. ...

Technology in constitutional reform: Central or peripheral to substance and process?

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Paper prepared at the invitation of Dr. Asanga Welikala for a preparatory advisory roundtable on a new constitution for Sri Lanka, hosted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Constitution Building Programme of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law (ECCL) inn collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka. ...

Peacekeepers in the Sky: The Use of Unmanned Unarmed Aerial Vehicles for Peacekeeping

ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
The ICT4Peace Foundation just released an excellent report by Helena Puig Larrauri and Patrick Meier on the use of UAVs for peacekeeping operations. My foreword is reproduced below. The full report can be accessed here. Helena and Patrick are two of the most thoughtful individuals I know of interrogating the opportunities and challenges around the use of UAVs for ...