PeaceTech Lab has partnered with Drexel University to create the first ever Masters of Science program in Peace Engineering. PeaceTech Lab’s Peacebuilding Engineers Program (PEP) is a series of tailored courses that merge the peacebuilding and engineering fields to provide students the skills necessary to tackle peacebuilding challenges in complex, rapidly changing environments.
PEP was founded on the idea that engineers from all disciplines have valuable know-how and skills that can help rethink and scale existing peacebuilding programming. Simultaneously, the peacebuilding community has expertise in international relations, cross-cultural communications, conflict analysis, conflict resolution, and related peacebuilding skills, that can bring the engineering student of today into the increasingly interconnected and interdependent global workforce.
We seek to bridge the peacebuilding and engineering fields by partnering with academic institutions such as Drexel University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create:
- Content that builds skills, knowledge, and attitudes in the nascent and growing field of PeaceTech, Peace Engineering, and Peace Entrepreneurship
- Creative, engaging online education and training tools, case studies, and scenarios that provide opportunities for university students and peacebuilding practitioners to practice new skills to real-world challenges in a “risk-free” learning environment
- Avenues and opportunities for students and faculty to apply their Peace Engineering skills by working with local partners to co-create innovative solutions to real-world challenges in their communities
PEP is tackling issues of the environment and climate change, which can be drivers of conflict, by educating a new generation of engineers and peacebuilders who, together, will engineer the future of sustainable peace. PEP already has two existing foundations courses: Introduction to Peacebuilding for Engineers and Conflict Management for Engineers. This curriculum currently serves our existing university students, but will also serve those in the peacebuilding community who seek to better understand and utilize engineering skills such as design thinking, as a mechanism for producing innovative community initiatives.
To extend the peace engineering field the PeaceTech Lab wants to expand its already existing curriculum to include more courses, and the creation of peacetech case studies and educational games/scenarios that require learners to apply new peace engineering skills to scenarios involving complex, real-world challenges in conflict and post-conflict environments.These courses would cover topics such as:
- Essential Skills for Peacebuilding Practitioners
- Technologies for Peacebuilding
- Engineering and Environment: Systems Analysis for Peacebuilding
- Data Collection in Complex and Conflict Environments
- Data Analysis and Visualization for Peace Engineering Programs
- Design Thinking for Peace Engineering
- Peace Entrepreneurship
- Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Peace: The Role of Peace Engineering in Community Development
- Games for Peacebuilding
Curriculum will emphasize how to apply peacetech to address conflict drivers and environmental sustainability. Why? Because the engineer of the future must have peacebuilding skills that enable them to apply their technical expertise to these global challenges. Peace engineering provides the necessary bridge to tackle environmental issues that drive conflict, such as drought and resource scarcity. Our extended coursework will bolster the tool-kit of engineering students and local peacebuilders, allowing them to collaborate on developing appropriate technical solutions for each local need, within each local context.
- Convene academics and practitioners from the peacebuilding and engineering fields to create core Peace Engineering Program (PEP) content and courseware for university students and peacebuilders working in the field.
Through our network of engineers, academics, activists, conflict experts, social scientists and data scientists the PeaceTech Lab will facilitate meetings to hone in on course topic structures, goals, and bridging classroom expertise with that of field practitioners to develop an innovative structure to reach course goals.
- Develop engaging and interactive online courses, challenging PeaceTech case studies (that ask learners to apply ideas from courses to real-life scenarios), and new educational games.
Once course structures and goals are formulated the next step is to produce this content into actual coursework using both online/offline platforms. The curriculum will consist of leading-edge educational tools like interactive, problem-solving case studies and educational gaming scenarios.
- Incorporate courses into existing MS in Peace Engineering program at Drexel University and possibly similar programs at other universities. Courses may also find a home in the Lab’s groundTruth Data Hub to expand their reach (to peacebuilding practitioners and members of civil society living and working in conflict and post conflict environments) and create opportunities for university students and peacebuilding practitioners in the field to both learn from one another and collaborate on innovative solutions to peacebuilding challenges in the field.
The final step of this project will be incorporating the new coursework into the Masters of Science in Peace Engineering program at Drexel University, and then into our groundTruth Data Hub. The groundTruth Data Hub is a data platform that collects and synchronizes both local and big data to a federated data hub which then becomes a comprehensive resource for obtaining data relevant to peacebuilding applications. The Data Hub is a PeaceTech Lab project which intends to enable data sharing, not just in the form of excel sheets and word documents, but also media content in the form of videos, reports, and in this particular case, training materials.
Since the Data Hub already exists this project objective will not need to create the platform itself, but instead, utilize our existing data tool-kits to allow the coursework created to become immediately available to our peacebuilding network worldwide.
Bridging Peace and Planet
The Global Peacebuilding Engineers Program brings together valuable components of the peacebuilding field with that of the engineering field, providing an avenue through which students and peacebuilders can work together to create innovative solutions to challenges related to the intersection of peace and the planet, through effective and sustainable peace engineering projects and programs. Education is the first step in empowering local peacebuilders to apply engineering principles, data science, technology, design thinking, and entrepreneurship to the important work they are already doing. Education is also the first step in creating a pool of engineers capable of working in the peacetech, peace engineering and broader peacebuilding field.
It is our intention to craft both relevant and reliable courses for the Peace Engineering Program (PEP), the likes of which will give young engineers and trained peacebuilders & technologists a nuanced arsenal of peace engineering skills.
There is much work currently being done to study and research the effects of environmental degradation and climate change in direct relation to driving conflict and ensuing humanitarian crises. However there is little being done to solving some of the already existing problems and vulnerabilities due to these global problems.
As mentioned above, the PeaceTech Lab will have a strict focus on engineering environmentally sustainable projects and programs through these courses.The goal of these courses and the Peace Engineering Program is to not only to educate and empower learners, but, more importantly, to create, implement, and sustain local community projects globally. Once given the context skills and technical training, the Peace Engineering Program will allow peace engineers to work with local peacebuilders to understand the local context and create programs and projects that function to build peace and protect the environment.