change if they tell you they are
working on peace versus conflict
management research? This can be
a politically charged topic and it
can be easy to alienate groups and
institutions that should be part
of the conversation, such as the
military. Hence, we have to carefully select the language we use
when we speak about this line of
research while being clear about
our ultimate goal of reducing
Supporting the community. We
also face a related challenge in
supporting our community, in
terms of professional and financial
resources. For our workshop participants, their research on peace
and conflict reduction is work
they feel deeply passionate about.
However, many stated that they
are unable to make this work their
main focus because of issues related to the perceived legitimacy of
and funding opportunities for this
work. Few could see professional
growth in this area. Reframing the
research for funding sources with
compatible aims may provide a
7. Greene, J.D., Sommerville, R.B., Nystrom, L.E.,
Darley, J.M., and Cohen, J.D. An fmri inverstiga-tion of emotional engagement in moral judgment.
Science 293 (2001), 2105-2108.
8. Baron-Cohen, S. The Science of Evil: On
Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty. Basic Books,
9. Pinker, S. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why
Violence Has Declined. Penguin, New York, 2011.
10. Riddihough, G., Chin, G., Culotta, E., Jasny, B.,
Roberts, L., and Vignieri, S., eds. Human conflict:
Winning the peace. Science 336 (2012), 6083.
11. Hourcade, J.P. and Bullock-Rest, N.E. HCI for
peace: A call for constructive action. Proc. of CHI
2011. ACM Press, New York, 2011, 443-452.
12. Friedman, B. and Nathan, L.P. Multi-lifespan
information system design: A research initiative for
the HCI community. Proc. of CHI 2010. ACM Press,
New York, 2010, 2243-2246.
Our field’s interdisciplinary
nature and the prevalence of
interactive technologies mediating personal and societal decisions means we cannot simple
make a contribution—we must
participate. The time is now. Join
us. Contribute your ideas, time,
and skills. Make a difference.
Our world can be no brighter
than the worlds we dream of.
We would like to thank all the organizers, participants, and authors in
the HCI for Peace workshop at CHI
2012: Janak Bhimani, Evangelos
Kapros, Trond Nilsen, Daisy Yoo,
John Thomas, Daniela Busse, Kelsey
Huebner, Neema Moraveji, Janet Davis,
Panayiotis Zaphiris, Ronit Kampf, Esra
Cuhadar Gurkanyak, Nathan Stolero,
Batya Friedman, Oliviero Stock,
Massimo Zancanaro, Chaya Koren,
Zvi Eisikovitz, and Patrice L. ( Tamar)
Weiss. We would also like to thank Ben
Shneiderman and all the other members of the HCI community who have
supported and encouraged our efforts
in this line of research.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Juan Pablo Hourcade is an asso-
ciate professor in the University of
Iowa’s Department of Computer
Science. His main area of
research is HCI, with a concentra-
tion on technologies that support
creativity, collaboration, and information access for
a variety of users, including children and older
adults. He co-founded the HCI for Peace initiative,
whose papers and panels are discussed in this
Working on complex, challenging
problems can also bring significant
benefits. Our greatest opportunity is in joining other disciplines
in researching the topic of peace
and human conflict. Disciplines
as diverse as neurology, political
science, behavioral economics,
and sociology have much to offer
those developing interactive technologies. Through collaborative
efforts we can better understand
the influence of interactive technologies at a societal level, while
also investigating how they affect
specific regions of our brains. New
methods need to be developed, and
Natasha E. Bullock-Rest is a
research assistant at Brown
University. Her main area of
research is in understanding the
causes of communication chal-
lenges and assisting people with
these challenges. Natasha’s work
has included the development and evaluation of
computer-based activities to enhance the social
skills of children with autism, as well as neurologi-
cal research on the causes of aphasia. She co-
founded the HCI for Peace initiative.
Lahiru Jayatilaka is a graduate
student in the Computer Science
Department at Stanford
University. In his research, he has
implemented a system to provide
visual support to human deminers
using metal detectors in mine-
fields. Lahiru also brings the perspective of being
from Sri Lanka, a country that has experienced a
great deal of armed conflict during his lifetime.
Lisa P. Nathan is a faculty member at the iSchool at the University
of British Columbia. Through a
range of projects she investigates
the design of information systems
that address societal challenges,
specifically those that are ethically
charged and impact multiple generations (e.g.,
environmental degradation), and creative information practices that influence how these systems are
appropriated over time. She is a founding member
of the Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal project.
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the Eve of the Twenty-First Century. Scribner, New
2. Belasco, A. The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and
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Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2011.
3. Calculated based on number of public schools
private schools ( http://nces.ed.gov/programs/
digest/d10/tables/ dt10_062.asp), and cost estimates for building new elementary schools (http://
elementary-school/) and high schools (http://www.
4. This section was previously published in the
HCI for Peace blog: http://hciforpeace.blogspot.
5. Fein, L. Computer-oriented peace research.
Proc. of AFIPS. ACM, New York, 1963, 631-639.
6. Collier, P. Economic causes of civil conflict and
their implications for policy. In Leashing the Dogs
of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World.
C. A. Crocker, F.O. Hampson, and P. R. Aall, eds.
United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington,
September + October 2012
© 2012 ACM 1072-5520/12/09 $15.00