What is Conflict Transformation?
• A process of engaging with and transforming relationships,
interests, discourses and, if necessary, the very constitution of
society that supports the continuation of violent conflict.
• CT argues against giving primacy to settlements, stressing the
importance of recognising the transformation of conflicts.
• Central to the understanding of conflict transformation is the
conviction that actors and institutions in a process of conflict
transformation co-exist in a vigorous dynamic of interacting
• In Conflict Transformation, the potential for the use of
ICT is augmented after a ceasefire agreement or
• the dynamics on the ground are relatively more
receptive on the need for sharing information &
collaboration to develop shared solutions.
Before / After?
Levels of violence
Time after which ICT
interventions can best help
• Appropriation of CSCW systems for virtual
peace processes must nourish the process
• The process, and not the final agreement, is
ICT creates opportunities
Recognition of the
immense potential of ICT
Key parties to
and developing inclusive,
plans to expand existing
access to ICT
External actors /
Donors / INGOs
interventions can help
ICT those who have
traditionally been excluded
processes to take part in
the exercise of nation
Civil Society /
• Complex, dynamic and situation interactional aspects of work to
be accounted for but not in isolation from where and how those
• The definition of locale as an ongoing relationship between
people in a particular social world is of pivotal importance to
conflict transformation, which places an emphasis on
understanding the ongoing process and opposed to a final
settlement or peace agreement.
• The locale framework recognises the different perspectives of
each entity involved in a specific locale, because of their singular
relationship with it on account of their historical associations and
• The virtual negotiation of positions and the exploration of
interests is a singular design challenge for CSCW systems in
peacebuilding – where issues like virtual determinants of trust,
asynchronicity, the use of swabasha (vernacular languages), the
creation of content, availability etc are of pivotal importance.
CSCW in peacebuilding
• While in the existing corpus of CSCW literature treats these problems as
interesting design challenges, the use of CSCW in peace process is not
purely an academic exercise – the cost of inappropriate design may often be
too disastrous to contemplate.
• The advantage, one may argue, of CSCW systems for peacebuilding over
real world negotiations, is that it offers the potential to engender satsficing
solutions by virtue of its ability to present multiple perspectives of the same
locale to each participant. While this alone may not be enough to change
ossified positions, it sensitises participants to acknowledge multiple truths.
CSCW in peacebuilding
• Any appropriation of CSCW in a peace process must
directly address complex, multifaceted layers of
emotions and positions in physical and virtual domains
in order to effectively design processes that gradually
address the need to move beyond them.
• Communications and collaboration in peace
processes, even in virtual domains, is a canvass for
the construction and reconstruction of identities and
the loci of mediated differences, debate and struggle
and reconstituting legitimacies.
CSCW in peacebuilding: Ways of helping
The point here is that virtual spaces can
allow stakeholders to explore options
that their constituencies are not yet
• Power Sharing ready to hear, thereby giving more
flexibility to the negotiations that would
not otherwise be possible.
• Mirror Imaging
• Goal Clarification
• Finding and Borrowing Eloquent Statements of the Common
CSCW in peacebuilding: Key tenets
• Communication / cooperation within organizations
• Communication / cooperation between organizations (bilaterally)
• Communication / cooperation among organizations (multilaterally, as in a
• Communication / cooperation with local leaders
• Communication / cooperation with and between decision makers
• Communication / cooperation with the media
• Communication / cooperation within & amongst the parties in the conflict
The core issues
• Engender sustainable communication within and between stakeholders
• Be sensitive to the changing emotional needs of stakeholders, but not let
stakeholders always take refuge in tired communal hagiography
• The relationships between stakeholders is NOT dealt independently of the
emotional realms which the relationship is rooted to
• The inexhaustible search for mutual interests instead of ossified positions
• The invention of options for mutual gain
• Engender sense of legitimacy and ownership in multi-partisan dialogues
Final thoughts on LF
• The ability to apply the locales framework to the
macro, meso and micro levels of peacebuilding, from
Track One to Track Three, within and between
stakeholders, gives it a unique foothold in a broader
range of theoretical frameworks that seek to engage
with the complex problems of designing CSCW
system for peacebuilding.
Info Share Overview
• Multi-Stakeholder Engagement: helping policy makers and
political stakeholders building an inclusive peace process
• Informed Communication: Getting concrete information to
policy makers on stakeholder concerns and aspirations for the
• Developing Capacity: Building a sustainable infrastructure for
the exchange of information between stakeholders and policy
• The One-Text procedure is a systematic process to elicit
underlying interests and needs of parties and providing a
mechanism and space to jointly explore and develop many
options and deciding on one. The process is called the ‘One-
Text’ because quite literally there is only one text - drawn on the
texts of each of the stakeholders.
• All the parties' positions - on every issue - are reflected in the
workspace. New positions and proposals are captured daily and
included in a dynamic document through a joint and collaborative
• Screenshots of some of the other areas we are
active in the Sri Lankan peace process
Theory vs. People
• At the end of the day, computers and technology don’t
create just and lasing peace.
• Technology can only augment peacebuilding - we
make peace between ourselves and within ourselves.
• CSCW / ICT is at best a powerful catalyst that aids
• People make the difference.
Thank you !