Global innovators build Apps for peace

Feb 19, 2015

New York - A range of new mobile apps and digital games have been hailed by international experts as world-beating examples of how technology can boost peace, break barriers and smash damaging cultural and religious stereotypes.
 
The five winning entries of the global PEACEapp competition included a worldwide conflict simulation from Germany, ‘the choice is yours,’ a mobile phone game to educate voters and inspire a commitment to peace around the 2013 Kenyan elections and a pioneering mobile app from Australia that lets users walk in the shoes of people who suffer from racism in their daily lives.
 
The two other winning entries were prototypes, specifically a virtual game from Canada which fosters a sense of community and collaboration and ethical values, and a digital game from Brazil that helps players develop empathy skills to end conflicts.
 
“The broad range of projects submitted to the PEACEapp competition shows the huge untapped potential of new technologies to create new spaces for dialogue and story-sharing, and to overcome stereotypes” said Patrick Keuleers, Director of Governance and Peacebuilding at UNDP.
 
“Mobile apps and games offer smart and cost-effective ways to engage communities and citizens of all ages. They help people break down walls, be they walls of division, oppression, injustice or prejudice” he added.
 
The PEACEapp competition was organised by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). The competition brought technological innovators and activists together from around the world to create hi-tech and fun tools that can contribute to a culture of peace.
 
Over one hundred entries from 42 countries were submitted to a panel of global experts drawn from the fields of peacebuilding, technology and international development.
 
H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, said:
 
“With PEACEapp, the UNAOC once again focusses on innovative ways to provide opportunities for fostering understanding and tolerance among individuals from different religious and cultural backgrounds, by supporting the development of new platforms for questioning stereotypes and developing empathy, such as video games and gamified apps. The UNAOC is pleased to work with UNDP to infuse humanistic values into digital entertainment.”
 
The three winners that submitted finalized apps will receive five thousand U.S. dollars in cash. The two winning prototypes are set to receive expert mentorship from ICT and gaming professionals to further develop their projects. A representative of all five award-winning teams will be invited to present their project at the Build Peace Conference in Nicosia, Cyprus in April 2015, where the PEACEapp awards ceremony will be held.
 
Ten other applications – from Colombia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Spain, Sweden and the United States – received Honourable Mentions for their efforts to promote innovating approaches to peacebuilding though the use of gamified apps.
 
“These impressive submissions to the PEACEapp competition from all corners of the world highlight the universality of principles such as human dignity, equality and peaceful coexistence,” said UNDP’s Keuleers.
 
The rising use of mobile phones and new technologies offer fresh avenues for participation and enables the collection and dissemination of information that can be used in multiple ways, including for early-warning and increased transparency. UNDP supports a range of projects that integrate the potential of new technologies for conflict prevention in countries such as Georgia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Cyprus.

Contact information

Sangita Khadka
Communications Specialist, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
UNDP, New York
Email: sangita.khadka@undp.org, Tel: +1 212 906 5043
 
For more information about the PEACEapp competition: http://www.unaoc.org/peaceapp

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