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Cogburn part of team to investigate how technology can contribute to world peace
Cogburn part of team to investigate how technology can contribute to world peaceOctober 23, 2007Margaret Costello Spillettmcostell@syr.edu
School of Information Studies professor Derrick L. Cogburn, director of the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (Cotelco), is among a few distinguished guests who have been invited to a workshop by Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. Cogburn and other invited guests, including Vint Cerf of Google and Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm, will examine how ICT can be better utilized to build and support peace around the globe.
The workshop, sponsored by the U.S. Institute of Peace and the National Academy of Engineering, will be held Dec. 14 at the academy’s Beckman Center in Irvine, Calif.
This fall, when Burmese government officials learned that villagers were using the Internet to voice discontent over the military’s use of force and human rights violations, they shut down the Internet service providers’ offices and confiscated cameras from reporters. But information still reached the international community.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science turned to satellite images of the country to verify that the military had burned villages and relocated residents. Today, cell phones, satellite images, e-mails and other information and communications technologies (ICT) are playing a large role in documenting international crises and supporting peace.
The goal of the workshop is to bring together global peace builders and technologists to discuss how ICTs can be used to monitor and improve intelligence about conflicts, support “virtual diplomacy” in conflict zones, improve secure and immediate communication methods, and extend education and training missions of peace-building organizations.
“This meeting has the potential to catalyze the creation of a research and practitioner community to harness the potential of ICTs for international diplomacy and conflict resolution,” Cogburn says. “I hope to build on our work in Cotelco developing and evaluating virtual organizational structures to support transnational civil society organizations involvement in global governance processes.”