lighting, Diplomacy

CyberMediation conference

19 November 2019 -

World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Geneva

Event description

[Update] Read the press release for this event.

Technological developments impact all aspects of society. Similarly, they impact the practice of diplomacy. Mediation, the process whereby a third party assists parties, with their consent, to resolve conflicts is no exception. The UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, DiploFoundation, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), and swisspeace joined forces in March 2018 to develop the CyberMediation initiative to explore how digital technology is impacting the work of mediators in preventing and resolving violent conflicts.

During the conference, the CyberMediation partners will share with the audience their findings in a number of areas including social media, data for peace, and artificial intelligence and their links to prevention and the peaceful resolution of conflicts through the use of mediation. Through the different thematic panels, practitioners and experts will exchange their experience of how mediators are incorporating digital tools in their work and how they are dealing with the new challenges resulting from the development of new technologies.

CyberMediation conference


The conference will take place on Tuesday, 19th November 2019, at DiploFoundation, WMO/OMM building, 7bis, Avenue de la Paix, Geneva. All times are in CET. 

10:00 – 10:30
Welcome Coffee
10:30 – 10:45
Opening and welcome
Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director DiploFoundation
Asif Khan, Chief of the UN Mediation Support Unit
10:45 – 12:15
Roundtable on the CyberMediation Initiative’s findings

During this session, representatives from the CyberMediation Initiative’s consortium will present the findings and recommendations stemming from their work.


  • Katharina Höne, Senior Researcher, DiploFoundation
  • Ahmed Eleiba, Program Officer, swisspeace
  • Jonathan Harlander, Acting Project Manager, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
  • Enrico Formica, Senior Political Officer, Mediation Support Unit, United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

Moderator: Camino Kavanagh, Senior Consultant, Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

12:15 – 13:15
Networking lunch
13:15 – 14:30
#participation: leveraging social media for inclusion
While social media can serve to consult constituencies which have historically been marginalised during peace processes or are unable to attend negotiations for safety reasons, their nascent use by mediators asks questions with regards to the representativity of exchanges taking place on such platforms and risks of interference from third parties. In this session, panellists will explore the opportunities, risks and challenges resulting from the use of social media for inclusion during peace processes. Panellists will use concrete cases studies to build their arguments and identify clear lessons learned from existing or past processes. As the negative impact of social media on armed conflicts and armed conflict mediation has been very well documented, panellists will be encouraged to also explore some of the productive use of social media to advance a process or support the implementation of agreements.

During this session, representatives from the CyberMediation Initiative’s consortium will present the findings and recommendations stemming from their work.


  • Supinya Klangnarong, former Commissioner of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission, Thailand
  • Andreas Hirblinger, Researcher, Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
  • Antje Herrberg, Senior Mediation Advisor at European External Action Service

Moderator: David Lanz, Co-Head, Mediation Program, swisspeace
14:30 – 14:45
Coffee break
14:45 – 16:00
#trust: AI and trust in the context of a mediation
AI tools, especially those related to textual analysis, sentiment analysis, and image recognition, can usefully support the work of mediators and their teams. The suggestions in this area remain tentative and it remains to be seen to what extent various AI tools can be taken up in practice. However, it is already clear that the use of AI tools as part of mediation processes will have an impact on trust.  Trust is an important element on the way towards conflict resolution and hence such questions demand our full attention. To what extent can AI tools help in building trust? Where are potential pitfalls leading to the erosion of trust?
  • Miloš Strugar, Senior Mediation Advisor and Director of the Conflux Center
  • Katharina Höne, Senior Researcher, DiploFoundation
  • Eleonore Pauwels, United Nations University 
  • Stefania Grottola, PhD researcher, University of Geneva

Moderator: Marco Lotti, Project Manager, DiploFoundation
16:00 – 16:30

Wrap-up and closing
Way forward: Enrico Formica, Senior Political Officer, Mediation Support Unit, United Nations Department for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

Version: 18 November 2019



You are invited to express your interest in attending the conference by completing the application form. Places are limited; registration confirmations will be sent within 3 working days. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and expenses.

For more information, please contact Mr Marco Lotti (