WHAT WE DO
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.
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.
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.