Promoting Nonviolence, Addressing Hate & Preventing Global Conflicts: The Role of Media Outlets

Dr. Joseph G Bock and Dr. Abbee Corb headline a special one-day event for change agents and stakeholders held at Portland State University on May 31, 2013. Attendance of this event is free and open to the public, but online pre-registration is required.

This seminar-style event will include keynote addresses and workshops focused on the complex role of media communication, modes, and outlets as affecting the aims of addressing hatred, promoting nonviolence, building peace, and preventing war in international contexts. Of special interest is the how to harness social media and other virtual media, and how to prevent their abuses, in service of these aims.  This unique gathering seeks to address two related concerns:

(1)  The problem of the use/vulnerability of media forms/modes for transmitting hate and inciting ethnic, religious, or political violence in international contexts. Proliferating platforms and increasing access have introduced vulnerabilities for hateful messages to spread rapidly and globally and give rise to political violence. Traditional media modes/outlets remain susceptible to usage for transmitting hate propaganda and like communication toward incitement of violence, warfare, and genocide.

(2)  The challenge of how to foster roles for newer media modes/outlets, and their users/developers, toward countering hate, preventing conflict, promoting nonviolent social change, and “cyberpeacebuilding” in international contexts. There exists a need to build knowledge, skills, capacities, systems, commitments, and communities toward harnessing the global virtual interactive space to provide “early warning systems” for precursors to violent conflict or war – particularly where peace is fragile, where populations have recent histories of violent conflict, where transitional justice is at work, and/or where nonviolent social change can take root. Social media and other internet-based technologies and platforms, and their developers/users, can be highly effective in bringing about desired awareness and action.

Concurrent workshops will follow each of the keynote talks. The workshops will be dialogue, skills, awareness, and solutions-based sessions focused on addressing problems, challenges, and opportunities as highlighted by Dr. Bock and Dr. Corb. Workshop will address such topics as:

  • Multi-Track Diplomacy for Peacebuilding through Social Media
  • Practical Peacebuilding:  Development Work and Use of Social Media to Foster Peace in Conflict-Affected Areas
  • Promoting Nonviolence:  The Role of Religious Leadership and Organizations
  • Overcoming Hate:  (Re)Claiming Narrative through Social Media
  • The Relationship between Social Media and Face-to-Face Nonviolent Organizing
  • The Social Media in Peace & Conflict:  Complexities, Challenges, and Opportunities in an Era of Globalization
  • Social Media and Organized Hate:  Domestic vs. Global Radicalization as Security Concerns
  • Use of Social Media for Nonviolent Conflict to Promote Justice
  • Use of Social Media to Foster Peace in the 2013 Kenyan Presidential Election

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Event Speakers

Keynote Speaker:

Joseph G. Bock, Ph.D. is the Director of Global Health Training and Teaching Professor in the Eck Institute for Global Health and University-wide Liaison with Catholic Relief Services at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Bock is the author of The Technology of Nonviolence: Social Media and Violence Prevention (MIT Press, 2012 – click here for a review), in which he describes and documents technology-enhanced efforts, often on local levels, to stop violence before it happens in Africa, Asia, and the United States. His research finds that there is solid evidence of success in violence prevention and that there is still much to be discovered, developed, and implemented. Dr. Bock has worked for international NGOs Catholic Relief Services and American Refugee Committee, lived overseas in Jerusalem and Pakistan, and gained extensive experience in humanitarian relief and development.

The Technology of Nonviolence: Social Media and Violence Prevention – Live Webcast, Dr. Joseph Bock, World Bank Headquarters, Nov. 13, 2012 | View Presentation Slides


Plenary Speaker:

Abbee Corb, Ph.D., CMAS is one of the top international experts on hate, extremism, antisemitism, and terrorism pertaining to the Internet. Dr. Corb is the Open Source Intelligence Specialist with the Hate Crime Extremism Investigative Team, a group of  13 police services from Ottawa, London, Toronto, Hamilton, Halton, Durham, Peel, Stratford, Brantford, Guelph, York, Woodstock, and Waterloo (Ontario, Canada).  She has also held for many years a similar role with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. For more than 15 years, Dr. Corb has shared her expertise and provided training in the area of internet hate and terrorism to local, provincial, and federal police agencies, as well as colleges and universities, throughout the U.S. and Canada.  She has been an active participant in the Global Forum (Israel) and International Parliamentary Coalition against Antisemitism (London, UK).  She also recently provided testimony at the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism.  Dr. Corb is a published author and Silver Screen award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter whose work includes Where Does Hate Begin? (for frontline officers) and What is a Hate Crime? (for community groups and the legal community). She is an affiliate of the  Against Violent Extremism Network (AVE), a global network of former extremists, survivors of violence, and interested individuals in the private and public sectors who are working together to counter violent extremism in all its forms.  AVE is a partnership between Google Ideas, London’s Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and the Gen Next Foundation


Other Speakers:

  • Harry Anastasiou, Ph.D. – Professor of International Peace and Conflict Studies, Portland State University Conflict Resolution Program and International Studies Program
  • Clint Baldwin, Ph.D. – Director, Center for Peace and Justice, Director, Center for Global Studies, and Assistant Professor of International Studies, George Fox University
  • Randy Blazak, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Portland State University Department of Sociology
  • Amanda Smith Byron, Ed.D. – Director of Peace Education and Violence Prevention, Portland State University Conflict Resolution Program
  • Robert J. Gould, Ph.D. – Director, Portland State University Conflict Resolution Program
  • Tom H. Hastings, Ed.D. – Director, PeaceVoice and Core Faculty, Portland State University Conflict Resolution Program
  • Patrick T. Hiller, Ph.D. – Director, Jubitz Family Foundation War Prevention Initiative and Adjunct Professor, Portland State University Conflict Resolution Program
  • Nick Macdonald, M.A. – Director of Performance Analytics and Learning, Mercy Corps
  • Erin Niemela – Master’s Candidate, Portland State University Conflict Resolution Program; Social Media Professional
  • Ashley Schmuecker – Master’s Candidate, Portland State University Conflict Resolution Program
  • John Shuford, J.D., Ph.D. – Director, Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies, Managing Editor, The Journal of Hate Studies, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Law, Gonzaga University
  • Rebecca Wolfe, Ph.D. – Senior Youth and Peacebuilding Advisor, Mercy Corps Youth and Conflict Management Team

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Event Outcomes

(1)  New and fortified linkages (regional, national, international) between:

  • Academics (educators, researchers, students) conflict resolution and peacebuilding practitioner-experts, NGO representatives, media members, social media developers and users, and others
  • The Hate Studies, international conflict resolution, and peacebuilding communities

(2)  Increased understanding, skills, and action-commitments regarding:

  • The problem of hate communication, as coming through media outlets, as impediment or threat to nonviolent social change, conflict resolution, transitional justice, and peacebuilding
  • Proven and likely-successful strategies for using and developing traditional and newer media for nonviolent conflict resolution, hate prevention, and peacebuilding

(3)  Follow-up and follow-through activities:

  • educational products and curricular resources
  • reports and papers
  • policy recommendations

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Event Hosts, Organizers & Sponsors

This special event is organized and hosted by the Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies, the Portland State University onflict Resolution Program, and the Jubitz Family Foundation War Prevention Initiative.

  • The Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies is recognized internationally as a leader in promoting research, education, and understanding on what hate is, how and when it arises, what shapes it takes, and how to address it appropriately and effectively. The Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies organizes the International Conference on Hate Studies, publishes the peer-review Journal of Hate Studies for academics and practitioner-experts, provides award support for student research and class projects in Hate Studies, and works with schools and organizations that wish to address hate and related social problems.
  • The Portland State University Conflict Resolution Program is the largest of its kind in the Western U.S. It emphasizes learning in conflict resolution theory/practice, peace and justice, and international and intercultural conflict resolution. Its curriculum is strong in nonviolence, peacemaking, and peacebuilding, and it maintains relations with NGOs like Mercy Corps and field study sites in Europe and Asia.
  • The Jubitz Family Foundation War Prevention Initiative is strongly committed to supporting peacebuilding activities, with an emphasis on teaching peace and nonviolent conflict resolution. WPI focuses on strategies of nonviolent conflict resolution and transforming the culture of war into a culture of peace by education and support for the creation of peace processes and institutions.

This event is sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace Public Education for Peacebuilding Support Initiative (administered by the Institute of International Education) and the Jubitz Family Foundation.


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Conference Venue, Lodging Information & Campus Maps

All sessions will take place at the Smith Memorial Student Union Building of Portland State University, a major public research university that supports international nonviolent conflict resolution and peacebuilding education. The choice of event location reflects Portland’s status as a major metropolitan city in the Cascadia megaregion, which features a strong international peacebuilding community. The setting for this event facilitates wide participation in other ways: PDX handles a large volume of cross-country and international flights; Portland is pedestrian-friendly and boasts an exemplary public transportation system; and the Cascadia megaregion is home to relevant stakeholders and potential collaborators on follow-up and follow-through activities.

Campus Maps:

Portland State University Campus Map

PSU Smith Memorial Student Union Building Map


University Place Hotel

Getting Here:

Campus Address: 725 SW Harrison Street, Portland, Oregon 97201

To get here by Bus, MAX or Portland Streetcar: TriMet

Directions to Portland State University:

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Contact Us

For general inquiries, please contact Dr. John Shuford at or 509.313.3665

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