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peac060: social innovation for peace | Academic year 2019/20

The PEAC060: Social Innovation for Peace class was delivered during Fall and Spring Semester 2019/2020, with the mission to “apply social innovation knowledge in practice in post-conflict communities.” 

The students in the class were placed in 3 teams: Japan Team, Northern Ireland Team, and the Colombia Team.  Each team worked with in-country community partners throughout the year, following a Design Thinking process. With guidance from Prof. Crossan and local community partners, the students built understanding the the country's past, researched existing community infrastructure and interventions, and explored the role of social innovation in peace-building.  The final output for the class was a social innovation prototype idea. 

northern ireland team 
When in Northern Ireland, the team was struck by the needs of young people their age, victims of the legacy of the conflict, who were out of education, employment, or training .  They also were interested in the opportunities that the local FabLab and digital literacy training might present for this group if delivered in a sensitive and responsive way.  Their prototype is called "Beads for the Future" - a project that allows youth to run a 3D bead printing business that tells the "Day in the Life" stories of youth living in conflict zones. 
Click here for a copy of the team's video presentation, and here for a copy of their powerpoint. 
Japan TEAM
Having had the opportunity to meet with survivors of the Hiroshima A-Bomb, the Japan Team was struck by their own lack of education around the impact of nuclear weapons.  Why isn't this being taught in high school education in the United States?  The Japan Team's prototype aims to create a website that is an educational game with a number of stages - 1) allows you to drop an atomic bomb on your own town and see the damage it would cause (and yes, there already is a website that does that...), 2) lets you hear a testimony from a Hibakusha (A-Bomb survivor) that can talk about their experience.  For example, if you dropped the bomb over Swarthmore College, there is a Hibakusha testimony describing their experience of being at school when the Hiroshima bomb dropped), and 3) reparation - a twist on "what if you could spend Jeff Bezos' Money?" online platform. The Japan Team's twist: what if you could spend the US Nuclear armaments budget on social good in a city of your choice instead?  What social good would you do? 
Colombia's peace process is fragile, with even the current government opposed to the terms of the Peace Agreement signed in 2016.  The Colombia Team heard clearly from community partners that they felt that they were commonly ignored, sidelined or worse, exploited by their own agencies and international partners - even those with seemingly good intentions.  The Team's prototype idea is to work with local community partners in the Northern Region of Cartagena to develop the terms for an internationally recognized Community Engagement Charter so that they might work towards having a unified voice, standards of practice, and expectations of engagement that embodies equality and respect for all communities.
Ashoka Japan Youth Veturers Visit the Social Innovation Lab | March, 2019

Earlier this year, the Social Innovation Lab hosted a group of six young changemakers from Japan.  Ashoka, a global organization that identifies and invests in systems-changing social entrepreneurs, sent these students as part of their Young Venturer program. These young changemakers are working on a fascinating array of projects, focused on sustainability, environmental disaster, education reform, youth engagement and other pertinent topics facing Japanese society.  While on campus, students participated in a story-trade symposium with Swarthmore social entrepreneurs, engaged in an innovation and leadership workshop at the Center for Innovation and Leadership, and attended a Zumba class and baseball game! 

Members of Ashoka Japan's Youth Venturer cohort.