ACUNS 2023 Annual Meeting

2023 06 21 ACUNS Key Visual 1370 © DWIH New York

The DWIH New York hosted the roundtable discussion “Innovating Computational Social Science for Peace and Development” at the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) on June 21, 2023. The Annual Meeting 2023 revolved around the topic “Making, Keeping and Sustaining Peace”.

Event Information

June 21, 2023, 1:15 PM to 2:30 PM

United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC
Organizer(s): Academic Council on the United Nations System, DWIH New York

Collage 4 Pictures ACUNS

The world is facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, ranging from the climate crisis, extreme poverty, to ongoing wars and conflicts. Intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations, were created to help more effectively tackle such challenges through coordinated global action. However, such responses call for targeted and effective approaches. Yet insights on these can be hard to obtain – especially when relevant and trustworthy data is missing. New data sources such as social media, satellite imagery, and mobile phone traces can offer real-time signals on the above-mentioned challenges at an unprecedented scale. By drawing on these data sources, researchers have begun to apply Computational Social Science to help ‘counting what counts’, and guide on the ground responses and inform policy efforts. In this panel, speakers highlighted illustrative cases of innovative data use in areas of peace and development. Panelists also discussed practical and ethical problems when applying and scaling up such methods within the complex setting of international organizations.

Our Experts

Marzia Rango recently joined the UN Operations and Crisis Centre (UNOCC) in the UN Secretariat in New York as a Migration and Human Mobility Specialist. Prior to UNOCC, she led the work on data innovation and capacity-building at the Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Berlin. She is the co-editor of the handbook Harnessing Data Innovation for Migration Policy (forthcoming, 2022), and IOM’s volume Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean (2020).
Marzia Rango, Migration and Human Mobility Specialist, UN Operations and Crisis Centre (UNOCC)
Headshot Martin Waehlisch
Martin Waehlisch leads the Innovation Cell in the Policy and Mediation Division of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UN DPPA), an interdisciplinary team dedicated to exploring, piloting, and scaling new technologies, tools, and practices in conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding. He holds a PhD in International Law and recently published the edited volume “Rethinking Peace Mediation: Challenges of Contemporary Peacemaking Practice” (Bristol University Press 2021).
Martin Waehlisch, UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
Ingmar Weber
Ingmar Weber is an Alexander von Humboldt Professor in Artificial Intelligence at Saarland University. His interdisciplinary research looks at what non-traditional data sources can tell us about the offline world and society at large. Working closely with sociologists and demographers he has pioneered the use of online advertising data for complementing official statistics on international migration, digital gender gaps, and poverty. His work is regularly featured in UN reports, and analyses performed by his team have been used to improve operations by UN agencies and NGOs ranging from Colombia to the Philippines.
Ingmar Weber, Alexander von Humboldt Professor in Artificial Intelligence, Saarland University

Our Moderator

substituting Dr. Jan Lüdert, Head of Programs, DWIH New York

Julia Helmes
Julia Helmes is the Program Officer at the DWIH New York. She is responsible for all things event-related, including programming, planning and communications, as well as office management. Prior to joining the DWIH, Julia spent two years working for an arts non-profit in Boston, teaching visual art and creative writing, and working as an Outreach Coordinator. Julia studied literature at Barnard College, the Humboldt University in Berlin, and Trinity College Dublin where she graduated with an M.Phil. in Children’s Literature. She’s always on the lookout for a good story and thinking about ways to engage an audience.
Julia Helmes, Program Officer, German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New York