out-of-the-box thinking that could assist in overcoming persistent obstacles, while the violence prevention field draws on careful and considerable scientific expertise in building successful interventions. Combining the strengths of these fields, while minimizing potential harm, could prove beneficial for preventing violence and promoting well-being around the world.
On December 8–9, 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Global Violence Prevention convened a workshop to explore the intersection of violence prevention and information and communications technology (ICT). Dubbed “mPreventViolence,”2 the workshop provided an opportunity for practitioners to engage in new and innovative thinking concerning these two fields with the goal of bridging gaps in language, processes, and mechanisms. Part of the Forum’s mandate is to engage in multisectoral, multidirectional dialogue that explores cross-cutting evidence-based approaches to violence prevention, and the Forum has convened three workshops to explore various elements of violence prevention.3 To that end, this workshop was designed to examine such approaches from multiple perspectives and at multiple levels of society. In particular, the workshop was focused on exploring the potential applications of ICT to violence prevention, drawing on experience in development, health, and the social sector as well as from industry and the private sector. Speakers were invited to share the progress and outcomes of their work and to engage in a dialogue exploring the gaps and opportunities in the field.
The workshop was planned by a formally appointed committee of the IOM, whose members created an agenda and identified relevant speakers. Because the topic is large and the field is broad, presentations at this event represent only a sample of the research currently being undertaken. Speakers were chosen to present a global, balanced perspective but by no means a comprehensive one. Working within the limitations imposed by its time and resource constraints, the planning committee members chose speakers who could provide diverse perspectives upon which further discussion could occur. The agenda for this workshop can be found in Appendix A. The
2 “m” is shorthand for “mobile,” and is often used to define the concept of the application of mobile technology to a particular field, such as health, finance, etc. Other similar terms such as “e” for “electronic,” “d” for “digital,” or “open” reflect similar concepts of differentiating traditional or analog approaches from new and innovative ones (particularly those involving new technology or communications tools). The use of “m” here reflects a growing notion that communications is increasingly mobile vs. fixed.
3 Previous workshop summaries include Preventing Violence Against Women and Children (IOM and NRC, 2011) and Social and Economic Costs of Violence (IOM and NRC, 2012). Additionally, the National Academy of Engineering sponsored a workshop in 2007, resulting in the summary Information and Communication Technology and Peacebuilding: Summary of a Workshop (NRC, 2008) that explored a similar intersection of ICT and conflict resolution.