CalCon 2017 | Speakers

CalCon curators will gather recommendations from around the world to narrow the field to over a dozen innovative researchers from different countries who will “pitch” their projects that use technology to measure, analyze and/or respond to violent movements, including religious, economic, political and identity conflicts.

These researchers/technologists are using big data gathering, analysis and visualization, mobile platforms, global information systems, social media, unmanned aerial vehicles and virtual reality to find new ways to confront the urgent issue of violent movements.


  •  Lindsay Heger, PhD, Associate Director of OEF Research, One Earth Future Foundation,
    Denver, CO, United States

  • Topher McDougal, PhD, Associate Professor, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego,
    San Diego, CA, United States

  • Helena Puig Larrauri, Co-founder and Co-director of Build Up,
    Barcelona, Spain

Presenting Researchers and Technologists

Jerry McCann

Senior Advisor – Build Up

Jerry has spent the last 30 years honing his skills as a change agent, from structural engineering in the USA to international peacebuilding around the world. Throughout, Jerry has supported positive change processes, with a deep-seated commitment to and belief in locally-driven, locally-owned solutions.


Saiph Savage

Assistant Professor of Computer Science at West Virginia University (WVU) and J. Wayne and Kathy Richards Faculty Fellow in Engineering

Saiph is the director of the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCI @ WVU Lab). She is also a visiting professor at the the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and adjunct professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Her research in Social Computing and Crowdsourcing focuses on the design of systems that spark better coordination of volunteers and empower communities to reach more complex goals. Some goals she has explored is the organization of crowds to fight for activism, build infrastructure for the blind, or mentor each other to learn new skills. Saiph has been recognized with the Conacyt-UC MEXUS Doctoral Fellowship, Google Anita Borg Scholarship, and is also currently a member of Microsoft’s BizSpark, and director of the Anita Borg Community powered by Google. She holds a bachelors degree in Computer Engineering from UNAM as well as a masters and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

Assistant Professor, Political Sociology – University of San Diego, Kroc School of Peace Studies

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, PhD, is a writer and professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. His work focuses on politics, culture, technology and social change. He is the author of What Slaveholders Think: How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize What They Do (2017), co-editor of From Human Trafficking to Human Rights (2012), and is finishing a new book, tentatively entitled ProtestTech, that explores how social movements use technology. Broader essays appear in Slate, Huffington Post, the Guardian, and Al Jazeera. More at austinchoifitzpatrick.com or @achoifitz on Instagram and Twitter.

Nikki Philline C. De La Rosa

Deputy Country Manager and Head of Mindanao Operations International Alert Philippines

 Nikki leads the thematic program in the Philippines on inclusive political economy and leads work on conflict-sensitive economic governance, establishing and facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue processes, capacity-strengthening and accompaniment of local governments, community leaders and business corporations. She also provides technical support and advice on conflict-sensitive economic governance to Alert’s Myanmar program.

Nikki has over a decade of professional experience in politico-economic research and program management, working with international and local NGOs and academia. She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of the Philippines and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science through a scholarship grant from the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program. She has published works on the following topics: development history, theory and policy, official development assistance in agrarian reform communities, information communication technology in teaching and learning, conflict-sensitive economic governance and the politics of complex emergencies in natural disasters.

Before joining Alert, Nikki led the peacebuilding, information and education services of the NGO Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao and was Research Associate and Learning Center Coordinator of the University of the Philippines Open University from 1996–2008. From 2001–2009, she served in various capacities as research fellow working on adult learning, NGOs and ODA and as international intern doing research on the global economy and on peacebuilding.

Curtis Bell

Senior Research Associate – OEF Research, One Earth Future

Curtis Bell (Ph.D., political science) is a Senior Research Associate with the OEF Research program at the One Earth Future (OEF) Foundation. He leads the organization’s efforts to forecast common triggers of political instability, including election violence and military coups.  His academic publications, which examine topics ranging from coups to oil-motivated conflict, include articles in The Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, and Foreign Policy Analysis. He has also given invited talks on these topics to policymakers at the United Nations, US State Department, African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, and elsewhere.

Diana Dajer

Executive Director – Policéntrico

Diana Dajer is a PhD candidate of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford, and Executive Director of Policéntrico. Her work focuses on the interaction between citizen participation, technology and peacebuilding in Colombia, using participatory budgeting as case study. She is also a Colombian lawyer specialized in administrative law, and a Master in Public Policy from the University of Oxford.

Peacebuilding is Diana’s biggest professional, academic and personal interest, and her career is deeply rooted in Colombia and Latin America’s peacemaking and statebuilding efforts. She has worked in this area for the past eight years, on different projects involving human rights, transitional justice, international law, and political and civic participation.  In some of her previous positions she has worked as an advisor on peace for the Colombian Ministry of Interior, where she had the unique experience of contributing with inputs for the peace process between the Colombian Government and FARC, as Project Manager of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Rule of Law Programme for Latin America, and as a consultant at Purpose.

Stone Conroy

Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships – Alliance for Peacebuilding

Stone Conroy is the Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, where he works on building new partnerships inside and outside of the peacebuilding field and mobilizing and amplifying the work of Alliance members. Stone comes to the Alliance after several years on the Outreach and Engagement team at the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). In this position, he promoted security cooperation and information sharing between the State Department and private sector organizations operating around the world. Prior to this, Stone was a Boren Fellow in Nigeria where he served as a Conflict Management and Economic Development Fellow at Mercy Corps, and worked on peacebuilding and economic empowerment programs in the Middle Belt region. Stone holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and attended Middlebury College for undergraduate studies.

Lual Mayen

Founder and Game Developer, Junub Games

Lual has also been the CEO & Software developer at Citycom Technologies in Juba, Celestial Games in South Africa, IT consultant at Ebony Centre. Lual Mayen has been engaging talented youth in South Sudan and East Africa to make them self-reliant and innovative in the new IT industry. Junub Games is a non-profit Organization using games for Peacebuilding in South Sudan, with aims to become the country’s biggest gaming industry. Its products and services are the first of its kind for the country. The country stakeholders, regional actors and International Community has tried other means to bring Peace to the world’s newest war-ravaged communities but still the world has witnessed vicious killings. Therefore, Junub Games is building peace through technology because video, board and mobile games provide an entertaining and informative community activity. For this reason our games play bigger picture in the reconciliatory efforts among the conflicting communities. See the link: http://junubgames.com/ #Games4Peace

Daniel Berger

Data Lead – Creative Associates International

Daniel Berger is the Data Lead at Creative Associates International where he focuses on innovative ways of using data to improve the implementation of development projects. Before joining Creative, he taught at the University of Essex, where his research focused on using both traditional statistical methods and machine learning techniques to predict electoral violence from mobile phone records in sub-Saharan Africa. He has also used satellite imagery to explore the role of traditional chiefs in promoting local development in Nigeria. He holds a PhD in government from NYU, and held research affiliations with Caltech and the University of Chicago before joining the University of Essex.

Maude Morrison

Program Manager – Early Warning Response Program at Center for Diversity and National Harmony in Myanmar

Maude Morrison is the Program Manager of the Early Warning Early Response (EWER) Program at the Center for Diversity and National Harmony (CDNH) in Myanmar. CDNH is a local NGO working to prevent religious violence and foster a more tolerant and diverse society in Myanmar, with a particular focus on the current religious violence in Rakhine State. Prior to 2016, CDNH ran a community-based EWER Program based on information collected from a network of local peace actors and cross-checked with a variety of other information sources including government contacts. Communication with the local network was done over the phone on a one-to-one basis.

As a Build Peace Fellow 2016, Maude has been designing, piloting and implementing a smartphone application designed to track rumours about conflict in Myanmar. The application serves as a way to improve the information flow to the CDNH EWER team, but more importantly as a platform to connect local peace actors, to crowdsource verification of rumours among a trusted network of peace practitioners, and increase local engagement in rumour verification. 

Laura Villanueva

Executive Director – Center for Peace Making Practice

Laura Villanueva is a peacebuilding practitioner with 11 years of peacebuilding project management, development, and practice in the field. Her experience and practice began at Gernika Gogoratuz Peace Research Centre. She then went on to join a Japanese NGO that has developed a people-to-people harmonybuilding process, which is on-going and co-located in Japan and the Middle East. Laura also worked and practiced her approach in other locations in Europe utilizing culture as a key peacebuilding entry point. She then went on to co-found a women’s NGO in Mexico, which is preparing to train women as peacebuilders. In 2015, she joined Tejiendo Territorio para la Paz (Tejipaz), located in Granada a municipality in Colombia, as a peacebuilding advisor. In 2017 in pursuit of becoming a scholar-practitioner she became a PhD candidate.

Chris Hurst

Co-Founder & COO, Stabilitas

Chris Hurst is the Co-Founder and COO of Stabilitas. Stabilitas helps governments, NGOs, universities, and companies keep their people safe. Chris has spent his professional career serving in complex environments. He’s served as an Army Diver; an Operations Officer under Central Command; an infrastructure master planner in conflict zones like Iraq and Afghanistan; a consultant to the Government of South Sudan; and the Director of Enterprise Risk Management at Mercy Corps, with experience in the DRC and Jakarta. Chris is interested in using data to better understand security, globally. He believes dynamic, granular incident data can help provide better warnings, better indicators of risk, and better methods for assessing efforts to improve stability. Chris is a graduate of West Point, Harvard Business School, and the Kennedy School of Government (MPA/International Development).

Chris Tuckwood

Co-Founder & Executive Director, The Sentinel Project

Christopher Tuckwood is the co-founder and executive director of The Sentinel Project, a Canadian NGO dedicated to assisting communities threatened by mass atrocities through direct cooperation with the people in harm’s way and the innovative use of technology. Chris has a master’s degree in disaster and emergency management from York University (Toronto, Canada) and has been involved in atrocity prevention work since working on the movement to end atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan while studying at the University of Waterloo (Canada). Chris also provides overall leadership for Una Hakika, a Sentinel Project initiative operating as a mobile phone-based information service which monitors and counters incendiary misinformation linked to intercommunal violence and violent extremism in Kenya’s Tana River County, Lamu County, and Nairobi. Chris helped to establish the similar Peaceful Truth project which is based on Una Hakika and addresses interreligious violence in Myanmar (Burma). Una Hakika also serves the additional purpose of early warning and outside of conflict scenarios it has been used to address natural disasters, public health issues, and security incidents such as terrorist attacks. The Una Hakika model is currently being assessed for applicability in a variety of other mass atrocity-prone countries such as Burundi, Iraq, and South Sudan. Chris also initiated the development of the Sentinel Project’s Sarus Humanitarian Aerospace initiative to use unmanned aerial vehicles in violence prevention and civilian protection roles.

Dr. John Karlsrud

Senior Research Fellow and Manager for the Training for Peace Programme at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs 

He is an External Associate at the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick, where he also earned his PhD. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the journals Internasjonal Politikk and Contemporary Security Policy, and he is also Editorial Advisor to Global Peace Operations Review, published by the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, where Karlsrud previously was a Visiting Fulbright Fellow. He has also been a Research Fellow at the International Peace Institute.