Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G6
As we turn another page in the 2019 calendar, the days are getting colder and shorter. But there is no shortage of local PeaceTech-related events in the month ahead!
The 2019 International Humanitarian Law in Action Conference will kick-off on Monday, November 11, at 7:00 PM with a keynote address by David Crane entitled Justice as a Solution to War: Facing Down Terrorists, Warlords and Thugs. Crane is the Founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone who investigated, indicted, and prosecuted Charles Taylor, the first sitting head of state for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It will be fitting to hear him talk about how law can make war less likely, or at least less lethal, on Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Convention. This event is co-sponsored by the Canadian Red Cross, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University, Conrad Grebel University College, and Project Ploughshares.
A highly anticipated moment for the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement arrives on Thursday, November 14, at 7:00 PM, when we host a reception to celebrate the launch of the latest Grebel Galley exhibit, The Cultural Life of Drones. Curated by Sara Matthews, this multi-media exhibition explores the vocabularies and social practices associated with drones in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and aims to create dialogue about their use. One of the four perspectives featured is researcher and activist Branka Marijan from Project Ploughshares.
The entrepreneurship ecosystem on campus will be busy this month as well. On Wednesday, November 20 at 11:00 AM, Concept by Velocity is hosting their $5k pitch competition finals. A fireside chat with Marcelo Cortes, Co-founder and CTO of Faire, and free lunch will set the stage for 3-minute pitches from ten student teams—there is no guarantee that any PeaceTech ventures will make it through the semi-final round this week, but it is almost certain that some will be tackling social or environmental problems.
Speaking of free lunches, on Monday, November 25 at 12:15 PM, UWaterloo’s Faculty of Engineering is hosting a pizza lunch featuring DarwinAI CEO (and past PACS 315 guest) Sheldon Fernandez on the topic AI and the Weaponization of Information. Given widespread concerns and controversy over the impact of misinformation and false political advertising on social media, this will be a timely talk. In Sheldon’s words: “Communication has been weaponized, used to provoke, mislead and influence the public in numerous insidious ways. Disinformation was just the first stage of an evolving trend of using information to subvert democracy, confuse rival states, define the narrative and control public opinion.”
Later that week, on Wednesday, November 27 at 7:00 PM, the Communitech Data Hub in Uptown Waterloo is partnering with the Centre for International Governance Innovation on a session entitled Ending the Cycle: Leveraging Tech, Data and Governance to Combat Human Trafficking. A panel of experts will explore ways to tackle this significant global issue that affects nearly 25 million people, including coordinating efforts between law enforcement, civil society organizations, and private sector actors such as hotels and banks.
All of these events are free, but online registration is required or encouraged.