Friday, 9 October 2009

Technology and Peace

It is essential that educational initiatives are directed towards promoting peace within a humanitarian approach to education. (Veletsianos & Eliadou, 2009)
I'm inclined to strongly agree. The whole point of education, I believe, is to take us - the people - and to equip us with the understanding, knowledge, skills and literacy so that we can do our part in this, our shared world.

This is a personal belief, and one that I would hope that is shared by others. My current reading on the subject of peace and technology is of interest - if we miss the opportunity to use the tools around us - in this case, technology, to bring understanding, knowledge, skills and literacy to our shared world, we, ultimately, miss the opportunity for peace.

The academic research out there into the use of technology for peace is, on the whole, fairly limited, so perhaps, I hypothesise. But consider how much of the technology around us has been built or designed with conflict in mind - billions are spent on technologies that keeping the war machinery around the world in continuous operation. The internet has not necessarily joined us all up into one big happy family and of course, weapons technology is exactly that - technology designed to kill. Just think if the same sums of money for development and technology were applied to conflict resolution and sustainable peace.

Peace is Possible

There are some specific uses of technology for peace related outcomes - Peacemaker is a 2005 video game that engages the player in a negotiation for peace within a middle-east context. I've had a personal interest in the One Laptop Per Child programme - a project with that began with an aim to reach nearly two billion children in the developing world with a focus on empowerment. Whilst warblogs seem to run alongside the mainstream media, the antithesis form - peaceblogs are also in existence.

In the paper, Fostering Peace Via Adventure Learning, Veletsianos and Eliadou, return to some of the prime objectives of adventure learning and consider how collaborative learning, cultural exploration, exchange of ideas etc. serve as building blocks for understanding. The initiatives surrounding the technology therefore are important antecedents to peace.

The key, however, is an area that has been explored less by the academics, and that is the how the available technology can continue to foster a long term peace.

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