The Problem

How do you bring together passionate, talented, professionals gathered together to imagine how they could remove the barriers that threaten dialogue and free expression in digital space?

The Solution

Create space for a small group of experts to develop solutions, tools, and partnerships to support users in sensitive digital space. The Digital Public Square project hosted Create 2016 from March 15-16, 2016 at the Campbell Conference Facility at the University of Toronto. Over two days, thought leaders and practitioners on digital innovation, political accountability, human rights, and internet freedom worked together to generate innovated solutions to problems posed by regional experts.

Description

The Digital Public Square project hosted Create 2016 from March 15-16, 2016 at the Campbell Conference Facility at the University of Toronto. The event brought individuals from around the world to participate in an action-oriented solution building exercise facilitated by Allen Gunn of Aspiration Tech. The event centered around four problem sponsors from Tunisia, Lebanon, Libya, and Turkey/Syria. These individuals laid the groundwork for Create 2016 by explaining four key obstacles that their country’s civil society faces in holding governments to account:

Turkey/Syria: How can we create a system of reporting that identifies violations of ceasefire agreements in Syria that is verifiable and considered legitimate by all parties?

Libya: How can we amplify and unify the voices of the Libyan people in a way that they reach and influence the government that is currently in exile?

Lebanon: How can digital outreach seek to engage Lebanese people on governance issues?

Tunisia: How can we create a safe network of women in Tunisia that can intervene in the lives of young Tunisian people who are considering joining extremists abroad?

Impact

Participants
40 from around the world

Background

Create 2016 brought together a small but select group from academia, civil society, the tech community, and the public and private sectors. The format was simple. No lectures or lengthy panels. Instead, four problems presented at lightning speed to set the stage for collaborative lab spaces. Each lab tackled issues that experts in the audience could contribute to – data, outreach, and technical innovation. Success meant participants found valuable support networks, generated opportunities to collaborate, and most importantly seeded the potential to develop something that can have meaningful impact.