peacebuilders innovating together

WHAT WE DO

Build Up recognises and catalyses better local peacebuilding through innovation. We do this by researching innovative practices for peacebuilding, applying our learning to our projects spanning diverse contexts and countries, supporting initiatives led by other peacebuilders and sharing our knowledge through a growing community of practice.

Policy & Research

We develop think-pieces and conduct research to explore what innovation can bring to peacebuilding. In a sector where good intentions can get derailed by buzzwords, we critically evaluate whether new technologies can actually deliver peace. We’re not seduced by blockchain or drones or big data in themselves, but are rather looking for what impact technology-supported methods and innovative practices can bring to peacebuilding. You can read our research on our publications page and on our blog.

Working with Innovators

As a diverse collective with a global focus, we recognise that supporting local peacebuilders to lead the design and implementation of innovations in their communities can be incredibly powerful. We provide technical support for organisations to pilot innovations in peace processes – from developing concrete innovation ideas, to researching appropriate entry points, conducting participatory design processes, and piloting new processes and tools. All of our technical support is grounded in research, tailored to the specific context, and draws on our extensive network.

Implementing Innovation

Build Up is led by peacebuilding practitioners, striving to make our own practice stronger through innovation. We design and implement projects that use technology, arts and culture to provide new ways for more or different people to participate in peace processes. That is what we define as innovation. It can take many forms: from running open art spaces to consult on disarmament in the Central African Republic, to using social media bots to tackle polarisation in political discourse in the USA. Our programs are all grounded in a participatory design process that puts the needs of individuals and communities at the centre.

Community of Practice

We convene Build Peace, the leading global conference on peacebuilding and innovation that brings together around 300 peacebuilders, activists, artists and technologists from more than 60 different countries. They work in national and international NGOs, the UN, donors, academia, civil society, grassroots organizing and the private sector. Build Peace is held in different locations that frame the central inquiry of the conference. Past editions in Boston, Nicosia, Zürich, Bogotá and Belfast have questioned tech-utopia, contested space, socio-cultural transformation, participation in negotiations, and prosperity. The conference is at the heart of our growing community of practice, which strives to contribute to global change in how we build peace. To support that, we also offer introductory training courses on innovation for peacebuilders. Sign up to the Build Peace newsletter to hear about the Build Peace community and events.

We organize Build Peace, a conference and community that brings together practitioners, activists, academics, policy makers, artists and technologists from around the world to share experience and ideas on using technology, arts and other innovations for peacebuilding.

OUR VALUES
  • At Build Up, we are honest, open and vulnerable.

    We’re not experts, we value knowledge, we engage in cross and trans disciplinary thinking. We give space to learn, encouragement to grow, and sometimes to err. We work with and support ourselves and others as whole people. We place stewardship, respect, love, peace and non-violence at the heart of our work. And our style is a bit punk: non-hierarchical, diverse and a little bit irreverent.

WHO WE ARE

Build Up is a collective of individuals with diverse skills: mediation, negotiation, facilitation, peacebuilding, marketing, media, filmmaking, design, coding, data analysis, social media, metal-work, graphic recording and more. Based around the world, we come together to re-think how to build peace.
Uploaded image

Michaela Ledesma

Team
Michaela has more than 16 years of experience supporting the design and implementation of innovative, locally-owned peacebuilding initiatives. A trained mediator, she is passionate about creating & facilitating processes that enable diverse groups to collaborate towards positive change.
Uploaded image

Helena Puig Larrauri

Team
Helena is a peacebuilding practitioner focusing on innovation design and tech-enabled programs. She has worked in Sudan, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Thailand, Libya, Cyprus, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Somalia and Iraq. Helena is on the Board of International Alert and Elva Community Engagement.
Uploaded image

Jerry McCann

Team
Jerry has spent the last 30 years honing his skills as a change agent, from structural engineering in the USA to international peacebuilding around the world. Throughout, Jerry has supported positive change processes, with a deep-seated commitment to and belief in locally-driven, locally-owned solutions.
Uploaded image

Jacob Lefton

Team
Jacob is craftsperson with a decade of experience in arts, writing, education, and community engagement. His varied work has included metalsmithing, film, animation, and interactive installation, as well as youth writing workshops, educational policy, game design, and social circus.
Uploaded image

Maude Morrison

Team
Maude is a peacebuilding practitioner based in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to her work with Build Up, Maude worked in Myanmar, managing a conflict monitoring program focusing on religious tensions.
Uploaded image

Zeina Aboul-Hosn

Associate
Zeina is a documentary filmmaker and writer based in Beirut. Her work focuses on issues of culture, identity, rights, and peacebuilding. She has worked with news broadcasters, and regional & international organisations. When not making films or writing, she can be found at her pottery wheel.
Uploaded image

Mia Bittar

Associate
Mia is a filmmaker based in Sudan. She has produced broadcast documentaries (for Witness and AlJazeera), short-form documentaries (for UNICEF, USAID, UNDP), news stories, TV commercials and promotional films. Mia has also trained filmmakers and facilitated a participatory video process.
Uploaded image

Claudia Meier

Associate
Claudia is a peacebuilder and humanitarian with a passion for process facilitation, photography, and graphic recording. She currently advises on humanitarian action at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi). Prior to that, she managed Interpeace’s programs in Burundi and Rwanda.
Uploaded image

Julie Hawke

Associate
Julie is a peacebuilding practitioner with a focus on youth, education, e-learning, and virtual exchanges. She has worked on peacebuilding projects in Morocco and Tunisia, engaging youth in the use of media for advocacy and social change.
Uploaded image

Kate Mytty

Associate
Kate is a community builder who specialises in book publishing, shaping ideas, building meaningful stories, and connecting people with ideas and ideas with people.
Uploaded image

Jen Gaskell

Advisor
Jen is a researcher, facilitator and peacebuilding practitioner, focusing on participatory & mixed methods research, with experience in Syria, Burundi, Cyprus and the Somali region. She has also worked on communication and multi-stakeholder change processes across a range of sectors.
Uploaded image

Rodrigo Davies

Advisor
Rodrigo is a civic technologist and researcher whose work focuses on designing, building and analyzing tools that widen and deepen participation. Rodrigo is currently the Head of Product at Neighborly, a civic startup based in San Francisco working on municipal bonds.
Uploaded image

Sanjana Hattotuwa

Advisor
Sanjana is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Special Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation, Founding Editor of Groundviews, Fellow of the Centre for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, TED Fellow and Ashoka Fellow.

Sign up to our community of practice newsletter to hear about events and trainings on peacebuilding innovation.

recognises and catalyzes better local peacebuilding through innovation. Tweet us or talk to us.