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P1136: Putting the “Peace” in Peace Engineering: The Carter School Approach
Keil Eggers, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Ashton Rohmer, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Elana Sokol, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution’s Peace Engineering Lab launched in Fall 2020 to contribute a peace studies perspective to the growing peace engineering movement. The Lab supports experimentation on issues of emerging peace technologies and innovative approaches to intervention that could help peace engineers navigate the complexities of social conflict in their work. The Peace Engineering Fellows at the Carter School Peace Engineering Lab have taken a multi-faceted approach to exploring the emerging and evolving field of peace engineering, particularly as it applies to the intersection of SDG Goals 4 and 16. The panel will be a conversation between three Peace Fellows - with expertise in complexity-informed conflict resolution and SenseMaker, urban planning and community engagement, and digital diplomacy, smart city development, and data trust fiduciaries - around a set of questions focusing community engagement and ethics. The conversation will focus discussion with questions related to two main areas: the experience of the Carter School Peace Engineering Lab entering the peace engineering space from a conflict resolution perspective and approaches to ethical and inclusive community engagement necessary for conflict-sensitive peace engineering.
From Complexity-Informed Conflict Resolution: The Carter School Peace Engineering Lab is pioneering work on how SenseMaker, a scalable quantitative approach to narrative research, can support peacebuilders in mapping complex conflicts and engaging communities by asking the simple question, “What can you do tomorrow to create more stories like the ones that you want to see?” SenseMaker is a technology that supports distributed ethnography where community members tell and interpret their own stories.
From Urban Planning: Often engineering projects emerge from long-term comprehensive plans that define how a community will develop, shorter-term capital improvement plans that outline financing options for infrastructure projects, and planning efforts across a broad range of policy areas such as resilience and sustainability. As we face an uncertain future due to climate change impacts and one in which frontline communities experience disproportionate vulnerability, these planning processes can be leveraged to engage neighborhoods in charting a path forward. However, our shift from traditional in-person civic participation to virtual engagement raises important questions, challenges, and opportunities related to fostering inclusive participation despite the digital divide.
From Data and Smart City Development: Data is speculated to be the new oil. Like valuable commodities, its impact can be misused, exploited, or simply underestimated. Many countries have invested in creating smart cities, allowing them to leverage emerging technologies and data. As countries and organizations increasingly become technologically connected, however, awareness of data rights, trust, transparency, and user design tend to be reactively addressed as an after-fact of these collaboration efforts. Digital diplomacy is emerging as a way to facilitate urban development and data collection processes among stakeholders. Peace engineering approaches can further enable stakeholders to be more proactive and shape a sustainable future.
This panel will offer an opportunity to discuss the complexity of these broader processes, open a line of inquiry into the challenges and barriers that exist as engineering schools seek to integrate peacebuilding into their curricula, and explore approaches the Carter School is taking that could deepen the ability of engineers and aligned professions to engage more meaningfully with impacted and interested populations.
Putting the “Peace” in Peace Engineering: The Carter School Approach
George Mason University, United States of America