Workshop April 15th 2016

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Information and Communication Technologies for Displacement

April 15th , 2016

U.S. Institute for Peace
2301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037


In the three years since the initial 2013 ICTs for Displacement workshop in Stellenbosch, South Africa, the world has witnessed a crisis of displacement comparable only to the mass refugee crises of the 1940s. Whether fleeing gang violence in Central America, a political crisis in Burundi or civil war in Syria, the complex and diverse circumstances of the displaced has catapulted into world consciousness.

In these trying times, information and communication technologies (ICTs) serve as critical tools to ameliorate the pain of forced migration, from route planning and family finding to resource tracking and food allocation by refugees and humanitarian agencies. However, while valuable, the use of these tools highlighted many shortcomings, not only with the available technologies but also with the organizational and governmental policies that directed or constrained their use.

Looking at innovative architectures likely to be implemented in the next 10 years, we seek to identify research directions that attain a balance of short term benefits and long term relevance. In particular, we aim to specify research directions for developing new technologies that take advantage of future architectures, as well as social theories, which can inform policy and practice in the medium term while being robust in the longer term.
This workshop will bring together academics, policy makers, practitioners and funding organizations to collectively define a research agenda that is both ground-breaking and practical. Building on our first gathering in 2013 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, this workshop will expand the community of scholars and practitioners, taking advantage of the diversity of relevant agencies and organizations in Washington, D.C.

At the workshop participants will network and brainstorm, facilitated by the innovative meeting space of the U.S. Institute of Peace, as well as hear stimulating and informative talks by scholars and practitioners. Through these processes the workshop endeavors to spur innovation for improved support for and by displaced persons worldwide. The workshop is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Penn State University Institute for Information Policy, X-Lab, and the PeaceTech Lab. Covered costs include meals during the workshop as well as a stipend of ~$500 to defray transportation costs for selected participants. Closer to the event date, information about hotels and directions to the workshop venue will be provided on this website.