Parallel Session 2 | Connect | 13 June 2018, 13.30h - 15.00h | Room 6.01

Online and offline polarization – the impact of social media on peace, and how to turn the tide


The worldwide spread of social media opens new horizons and poses new challenges to peacebuilders at the same time. Social media platforms contribute to freedom of speech, but the filter bubbles they create can also foster polarization and hate-speech, with serious offline implications. Recent elections – in the Global North and the Global South alike – have shown both the potential and dangers of this dynamic.

The session will focus on the phenomenon of online and offline polarization, discuss how it impacts the way we think about peacebuilding, and explore what role peacebuilding approaches can play to tackle polarization. The workshop aims to connect peacebuilders with social media experts. We will reflect and discuss based on concrete experiences and examples in Colombia, South Sudan, the USA and Germany.


Moderated expert dialogue followed by an interactive world café with the participants of the session.




  • Julia Schappert, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale zusammenarbeit GIZ, Germany
  • Sonja Vorwerk-Halve, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germany
  • Claudia Meier, Build Up, Germany


  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
  • Build up