University Peace Days

University of Groningen



Dr. Timo Kivimäki: Information Warfare and Peace-Making: Should we see Clashes of Interpretation as Information Warfare


We build our social reality and the social reality builds us in interpretations, conventions, linguistic practices, etc. States, interventions, propaganda, and most other things we have in our political reality are not something that we can see, hear, smell, or feel, they are there, because we all consider them real. The reason why states are real and why we consider them real is that we see them as useful units of political administration. We consider money valuable because it is useful for us to do so, since money makes economic interaction easy. Should we then consider information as a security matter, and talk about information warfare? Should we “securitize” information and talk about propaganda offensives, toxic misinformation, information that exploits our vulnerabilities and dangerously sways audiences (By the way all these expressions are taken from a recent RAND corporation study on Russian Propaganda). I think this too, depends on whether we consider framing information as a security matter as useful framing for our understanding of information.


In this talk I want to present an argument according to which we should not securitize information and interpretations since such a framing is not good for peace and conflict resolution. I will show how the grammar of security speech, which information becomes part of, if securitized, is inconsistent with a social reality where conflicts could be resolved. I will show that securitization of information and interpretations and the framing of information as warfare would make

1. compromises in conflicts more difficult,

2. appreciation of peace less likely.

3. Violence in conflicts easier.


Dr. Kivimäki is Professor of international relations with particular expertise in peace and conflict studies at the University of Bath. Previously he has held professorships at the University of Helsinki, University of Lapland, and at the University of Copenhagen. Professor Kivimäki has also been director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (Copenhagen) and the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Helsinki.


In addition to purely academic work Professor Kivimäki has been a frequent consultant to the Finnish, Danish, Dutch, Russian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Swedish governments, as well as to several UN and EU organizations on conflict and terrorism. He was President Martti Ahtisaari’s (mediators) adviser in the Aceh peace talks, and the initiator of the West Kalimantan peace process, led by Indonesia’s Vice President, Jusuf Kalla.


Professor Kivimäki’s latest book, Paradigms of Peace (London: Imperial College Press 2016) presents a constructivist pragmatist program for peace research, while his The Long Peace of East Asia (Farnham: Routledge, 2014) offers a constructivist understanding to the relative peace of East Asia since 1979. Kivimäki’s book, Can Peace Research Make Peace. Lessons in Academic Diplomacy (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), was nominated for the prestigious Best Book Prize by the Conflict Research Society in year 2014. Kivimäki’s recent articles on peace and conflict topics were published in the Chinese Journal of International Relations, Pacific Focus, the Pacific Review, International Relations of the Asia Pacific, Journal of Peace Research, Asian Security and the Middle East Policy.


Thomas Baar: Data-Driven Information: Leveraging the Data Revolution for Peace and Justice


During his presentation he will go into depth in how data can be used for peace and justice. By using examples, he will talk about current possibilities, as well as challenges for different organisations, to actually make use of this.


Thomas works on the development of innovative solutions in using data for peace and justice. He focuses on leveraging the potential of new types of data and analytics for informing decision making and improving strategies within these domains. As part of the Peace Informatics Lab (Leiden University’s Centre for Innovation), he leads several projects focussed on developing new methodologies and tooling together with researchers, practitioners and data scientists. Before joining the Centre for Innovation, Thomas held a research position at Delft University of Technology focusing on the innovation, development and application of technologies for peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Thomas received his MA Conflict Studies and Human Rights at Utrecht University for which he has conducted extensive fieldwork in amongst other Kosovo and Egypt.




Nino Nanitashvili: Peace-Building in the Digital Age


Digital revolution has changed the way we perceive the world, act on or respond to the surroundings. The use of informational and communication technologies have opened up broad range of opportunities for people to connect and co-create. How has this changed the work of peacebuilding? What are the new ways to build trust and confidence amongst those affected by conflict through the use of modern technologies? During the lecture, the speaker will share her personal experience, review some of the best practices and discuss some of the political, social or ethical challenges associated with the approach.


With the background in Sociology and Public Policy, Nino Nanitashvili is a civic activist and tech enthusiast from Tbilisi, Georgia. After joining the NGO Elva Community Engagement in 2014, Nino directed the project “Building Peace Through Online Gaming,” supported by the EU-UNDP Initiative COBERM. Through the project, Nino helped connect Georgian and Abkhaz youth, long separated by conflict. One video game developed in the project, Peace Park, has been downloaded over 10,000 times and has achieved international recognition for its originality and broad reach.


Ms. Nanitashvili is now Country Manager at Elva, where she leads projects that aim for piloting modern technologies into international development, including the use Virtual Reality for peacebuilding and storytelling.


Earlier in 2012, Nino founded Google Developers and WomenTechmakers communities in Georgia, through which she tries to support the development of ICTs and innovations and empower youth throughout the country . She has spoken on her technology-driven civic initiatives at Google Headquarters, Forbes Under 30 Summit, TEDxYouth@Tbilisi, the Parliament of Georgia and others. Recently, she has received Eurasia Partnership Bill Mayne's Fellowship and awards of Emerging Young Leader from the US State Department and Social Impact from the European Center for Women and Technology.




19:30, Marie Lokezaal, Harmonie Complex

Clio is the Study Association of International Relations & International Organization at the University of Groningen. Clio has around 1100 members and is the largest study association at a Dutch Faculty of Arts. By means of social, academic and career-oriented activities and services, Clio provides its members with opportunities to make friends and to improve their understanding of the field of IR.


Nexus (Groningen) is the student association for the LLB programme in International and European Law and related master programmes. Considering this, Nexus and its members are very internationally oriented. Nexus aims to provide members with the chance to obtain a social network, participate in the organization of guest lectures, attend debating trainings, as well as immerse internationals into the Dutch culture - all in a multicultural environment.

The NGIZ Noord is one of the four departments of the national NGIZ (Nederlands Genootschap voor Internationale Zaken). The other departments are located in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht. The board of the NGIZ Noord is led by mainly students with an international oriented study. All departments aim to inform Dutch society about international affairs in its widest meaning.

With over 300 members, SIB is the largest student association with an international orientation in Groningen. Unique about the SIB is the combination of social and intellectual activities, ànd the combination of Dutch and international students. The SIB therefore has a wide variety of activties, among which the weekly lecture which takes place every monday, a hitchhiking trip and the yearly trip.

VINTRES is the study association for students of International and European Law at the RUG. We combine a variation of formal activities concentrated on the future of our members with informal activities such as drinks, bar lectures and other meetings. VINTRES takes care of the interests of its members by making sure the their voices are heard. We realize this by participating in the various meetings regarding RUG policy-making.

GHD Ubbo Emmius is the study association for History students at the RUG. We have got almost 800 members, of which approximately 90 people take place in one of the eighteen committees. Sociability is one of the things we find most important, therefore, we organize a social drink every month and five theme parties every year. Also the ones who like it more serious can come to Ubbo. We also organize lectures, conferences and even career trips.


Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG) is an inter-faculty and interdisciplinary institute that spans the entire University of Groningen. It connects academic work of research groups and individuals issues relating to globalisation, development and humanitarianism. Its aim is to stimulate, support and initiate research projects, educational programmes, North-South linkages and project applications in these related fields, thus contributing to the global profile of the university.

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