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 ...

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 ...

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 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, ...

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, ...

Counter-speech: What works? 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 ...

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 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 ...

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. ...

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 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 ...

Cross-posted from the website of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV). Wrote this note to follow up a presentation made to CMEV’s international monitors the day after the Parliamentary Election, held on 17th August 2015. Access the presentation here or see below. ### Overview The information and communications operations of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) for the ...

Code4Good: Using ICTs for social good in Sri Lanka Code4Good, Sri Lanka’s first social good hackathon kicked off today, an initiative of Internews Network implemented in partnership with International Alert, and with the support of SLASSCOM, Facebook internet.org, Google Business Groups and the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. The event today attracted a wide range of civil society organisations from as far North as Jaffna. Nalaka Gunawardene and I ...

Power mapping Cross posted from Groundviews. ### I was asked to contribute an article to an up-coming issue of The Architect, the journal of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects. The issue will be anchored to the idea of ‘democratic space’. After the guest editor accepted my article without any reservations or edits, he was informed by the Editor in Chief a ...

Speaking notes: The future of tech and peacekeeping, re:publica 2015 Invited by ZIF – Center for International Peace Operations and representing the ICT4Peace Foundation, I spoke today at re:publica15 in Berlin, Germany on the future of peacekeeping and technology. The session this morning had a very compelling title: NERDS WITH BLUE HELMETS? DIGITAL INNOVATION AND PEACEKEEPING. My submission was anchored to the following points: Following from the ‘Performance Peacekeeping’ report, what ...

Nalaka Gunewardene has an interesting article on smart cities published on Scidev.net, in which he makes the our cities today are just too unhealthy and that the advent of smart cities will “enhance feedback loops within the complex systems” and if processed properly, result in a “the steady flow of data” that  “can vastly improve the design of ‘hard’ physical ...

Election monitoring in austere contexts using ICTs The following note was penned to the co-ordinator of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), who asked me to go into some detail around the information security, gathering, archival and dissemination strategies I conceptualised and deployed around the historic Presidential Eleection in Sri Lanka, held on 8th January 2015. CMEV’s information operations are a template for the monitoring of ...

Tsunami: 10 years hence Technology does not feel. It does not bleed. Its very insensitivity to trauma can be its strength – the tireless information sharing frameworks Info Share created knew no time of day and didn’t clamour for rest. On the other hand, because it is value neutral, technology lends itself to abuse. It cannot by itself create relief processes. No matter ...

Tsunami: 10 years hence Technology does not feel. It does not bleed. Its very insensitivity to trauma can be its strength – the tireless information sharing frameworks Info Share created knew no time of day and didn’t clamour for rest. On the other hand, because it is value neutral, technology lends itself to abuse. It cannot by itself create relief processes. No matter ...

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