Peace Building with New Media
Web 2.0 is a new platform for peace building. Applications such as social networking sites, blogs and video sharing have created an abundance of democratic space. Participation is the primary feature of these interactive forums. Within our virtual communities we have the opportunity to engage in reciprocal knowledge sharing and dialogic relationship building to transform conflicts and build peace. The World Pulse Voices of Our Future Correspondence Program is an example of how interactive sites can be used to empower women through constructive dialogues. I am excited to collaborate with this amazing network of diverse women to validate our experiences, share our interests and advance our skills.
The new media revolution has facilitated important social transformation. The Egyptian revolution is a primary example of how new media can mobilize civil society to hold governments accountable on a national and international level. “The March of the Millions” on January 28th signified the emergence of civil society and the defeat of Hosni Mubarak’s 40 years of autocratic rule. The use of social media by youth to coordinate the revolution has been identified as the driving force behind the uprising. The Egyptian revolution sheds light on the significance of participatory media in peace building.
Like any tool the Internet can be used to promote virtuous or vicious cycles. The ban on new media in countries like China indicates the importance of Web 2.0 in facilitating democratic engagement, and the desire of authoritarian nations to suppress dissent. New media can also be used to promote violent and hateful agendas. Opening Web 2.0 is like pulling the blinds on a window with a view of the world. The amount of light we let in depends on our focus, integrity, motivation and patience. These characteristics wipe our windows free of the webs that block a life-enhancing view.