Eight student teams from around the world will gather at the United Nations tomorrow for the inaugural SPIRIT conference, a one-day event that aims to let young adults “micro-contribute” to international peacemaking.
In partnership with Columbia Business School, SPIRIT (Students Participating In Resolving International Tensions) focuses on collaboration and knowledge-sharing, connecting people in war-torn countries with those with the resources to help.
The ultimate goal is to create the first open-source peacebuilding platform, a social network that would help open the peacebuilding processes to all citizens, irrespective of social standing and/or wealth. The current system, according the organization, is closed, giving only politicians, superstars and a select few any influence.
Over the past few months students have submitted proposals via the Web that could help bring peace to the Afghanistan – Pakistan border region, Colombia and Israel/Palestine.
Once the final ideas are chosen, it is expected that each will have a heavy social media component. For example, one idea is “Nets of Peace,” a project that would create a fishing industry in Gaza. Thousands of jobs could be created and SPIRIT hopes their presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will help.
The SPIRIT Initiative is thinking big, and some have dubbed the project “Peacebook.” We can only hope a positive project like this has the reach of its namesake.