For nearly two thousand years, Silk Road land and sea routs — which created an “intercontinental think tank of human ingenuity” in terms of trade and communication — connected the Mediterranean to Persia, Indian to Japan, and many more places within Eurasia. Media technologies, such as the printing press, even found their way across these merchant paths some years ago. Today, now online, “The Silk Road Project takes inspiration from this age-old tradition of cross-cultural exchange.”
Yesterday’s Can You Help Me Now? Mobile Phones and Peacebuilding In Afghanistan panel at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) showcased experts on Afghanistan from all walks of life—government officials, programmers, and even social media gurus.
This event drew in a crowd of enthusiastic Twitterers using the hashtag #usipmobile, sharing questions and comments throughout the event and highlighting some of the key quotes of the day. Corresponding with the panel discussion, Twitter users tweeted about everything from improving governance (i.e. rule of law and anti-corruption) to countering extremism (i.e. media development and counter-insurgency) to delivery of essential services (i.e. education, health, agricultural development, and commerce).
It’s clear that technology is beginning to play a key role in social change. Look at the role crisis mapping software has played in coordinating earthquake response in Haiti, or the effect that social media such as Twitter have had on demanding government accountability in Iran. These examples and many more leave no doubt about the ever-increasing importance of technological innovation in a conflict-ridden world.
But how do we in the prepare ourselves to effectively embrace this reality? How do we critically examine new solutions and keep up with the rapid pace of technological development?
We believe a new kind of education is needed to address the challenges that exist in the world today. Introducing TechChange: the Institute for Technology and Social Change. TechChange will act as that critical and much-needed space for training leaders to leverage these emerging technologies for sustainable social change.
We’re planning a number of innovative online courses – courses that will be practical, flexible, and affordable, taught by leaders in the field, and unlike anything you’ve seen online to-date, but you’ll hear more about these later.