PeaceTalks is our signature, free speaker series that engage and raise public awareness on timely and critical issues at the intersection of peace, human rights and technology. The purpose of PeaceTalks is to spark discussion between thought leaders and the public in an open and accessible format, to provoke thinking about the role that individuals and communities have in social change.
PeaceGeeks has held over 35 PeaceTalks to date, with various partners including Amnesty International.
Past topics have included Talking about Racism in Canada, Interrogating ISIS — DIgital Terrorism, Digital Response, Refugee Crisis & Media Hype - Has anything changed?, Technology for Human Rights in post-Snowden Internet, Sustainable Development Goals — Realistic or Idealistic?, and much more.
On Apr. 5, 2018, we had the honour of hosting Syria's White Helmets in Vancouver for a PeaceTalk.
Formerly shopkeepers, bakers, teachers and ordinary citizens, the White Helmets is an unarmed volunteer organization in Syria that actively conducts urban search and rescue of civilians injured by bombings or trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings. They have saved over 100,000 lives since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising, earning Nobel Peace Prize nominations in 2016 and 2017.
PeaceTalk with the White Helmets featured a panel dialogue with three White Helmets volunteers, hosted in partnership with Simon Fraser University and the British Consulate General in Vancouver. It was moderated by Darren Schemmer, the former High Commissioner of Canada to Ghana and Ambassador to Togo. The sold-out event was attended by more than 145 people.
Reconciliation through Indigenous Innovation (PeaceTalk #37) was hosted in partnership with the First Nations Technology Council, and featured First Nations innovators — Denise Williams, Executive Director of First Nations Technology Council; Métis policy wonk Alexander Dirksen; and Jeff Ward, founder of Animikii Indigenous Technology — discussing how we can deepen our commitment to fair access and reconciliation through innovation.
Watch the video of the talk.
Attacked for Defending the Land (PeaceTalk #36) was hosted in partnership with Amnesty International. Emily Jacobi, Founder and Executive Director of Digital Democracy; Chandu Claver, political refugee and indigenous rights activist; as well as Tara Scurr, Human Rights and Business Campaigner discussed current campaigns in defence of land and the environment and ways forward.
Women's Human Rights at Risk (PeaceTalk #35) uncovered how women and girls around the world are impacted by mega-projects and resource extraction. One of the speakers, indigenous activist Kanahus Freedom, shared this photo from Standing Rock, saying "This can't be the norm. We're killing our people. We're killing the planet."
After a year that brought the international community racial politics and divides from Brexit to the US elections, Talking about Racism in Canada (PeaceTalk #34) explored whether Canada is a beacon of hope for diversity and multiculturalism or whether we are equally struggling to confront the reality of racism here at home. How do we talk about racism in Canada to affect positive change? We explored this question with Seemi Ghazi, Kory Wilson and Hope Sealy for this sold-out talk.
In 2019, we're looking forward to a season of talks deliberating tech-based impacts on global governance and human security. Some ideas we have in mind are:
- Blockchain in humanitarian contexts
- Artificial intelligence and peace
- Digital political interference and hacking in elections
- Data manipulation, echochambers and the future of democracy
- and more!
All of our PeaceTalks to date have been free, thanks to donors and sponsors who help ensure our programs are continually accessible to all. Donate to help PeaceTalks continue!