War terminology is commonplace in the way the media and governments describe perceived threats: war on poverty, war on drugs, war on terror, and now, war on COVID-19. Aspenia Online, The Guardian, the University of Nottingham, and Higher Education Strategy Associates have all published blog posts or articles that explore the appropriateness of using this comparison, but have neglected to provide alternative language. Those in the peacebuilding field need to be the ones to write a new, hopeful narrative during what can seem like a very dark time. If advocates for peace do not speak out, the belief that good comes out of violence will continue to weave itself into the fabric of our society, producing dangerous attitudes no vaccine can cure.
As students finish their last exams and assignments, and head home for the holidays, our Centre quiets. In the last days and weeks of this year (and this decade), we have been reflecting on exciting developments in the world of PeaceTech here at the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement during 2019.
For those of us who work and study in universities, there are distinct rhythms to each semester, and right now we are entering a time of endings. Classes are wrapping up, major projects are coming due, and exams are looming. Meetings and publication deadlines that some of us have managed to put off are starting to pile up. And, right on cue, the University of Waterloo is providing a dizzying array of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to test and showcase their efforts.
One of the most exciting times of the year in the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement is when a new exhibit is installed in the Grebel Gallery. In addition to inspiring reflection and conversations among members of our campus and surrounding community, these exhibits also contribute to the creative energy of participants in the Centre. The view outside my office door is always interesting, but our latest exhibit is particularly provocative.
The short answer to this questions is: Lots of people! One of the points of this blog is to highlight various news items and events that demonstrate the growing interest in reflecting critically on technology, and in applying technology to peacebuilding.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the role that institutions and systems play in the development and impact of technology, and the ways that our technologies come to shape these institutions and systems, not to mention our norms, cultures, and the way we think. At the same time, I also believe that individuals can make a difference through the choices we make and the ways we participate in our institutions and systems. I’ve had several reminders of this in recent weeks!