The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize: The InternetTuesday, November 24, 2009 13:47
On November 20 Italy launched a new initiative entitled ‘The Internet For Peace‘ (#I4P on Twitter). The editor in chief of Wired Italy, Riccardo Luna, nominated the Web for the next Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. The first signatory of the manifesto was Ms. Shrin Ebadi, the first Iranian Muslim woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. Other prominent figures signing up included Professor Umberto Veronesi, founder of the ‘‘Fondazione Umberto Veronesi’ who expressed his full support of the initiative in an article published in the La Stampa – a national Italian newspaper – which begins: “I know: it is unusual and surprising to nominate a platform of mass communication for a Nobel Peace Prize rather than one or more individuals”, continuing: “Should the Web win the Nobel, we would demonstrate two things to future observers: that we had grasped the importance of the global revolution represented by the Internet, and that we were determined to channel its power in the right direction, to make the most out of it in the interests of mankind”.
The initiative was in fact launched in Milan on the occasion of “Science for Peace” – the World Conference organized by the Umberto Veronesi Foundation.
The December issue of Wired Italy will be dedicated to stories on how the internet has had a positive impact on the lives of many people worldwide, from Iran and the Teheran riots following the presidential election.
A site has been dedicated to the initiative – www.internetforpeace.org - where it is possible to register in favour of the nomination. The site is in English and has so far been translated into 15 languages, offering an open, interactive platform where users can submit content, participate in debates, translate the manifesto into any given language and follow the project’s progress around the globe through an interactive map.
So, forty years from its creation, the Internet, “almost at a stroke, has done more to democratise information than anything, certainly since Gutenberg, if not in the course of human civilization” (Adrian Hornsby ‘Like Rats’), and the emergence of social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook has enabled people not only to generate content, connect and dialogue with one another at any time, anywhere, but also to engage in positive change at a social level, adding value to their societies through mass collaboration. And, although pitfalls still exist, which sociologist Manuel Castells largely attributed to “ideology, futurology, and media sensationalism”, as well as the enduring problem of the digital divide, in an address he delivered last year Internet and Society, we are experiencing what many academics and citizens consider to be a ‘revolution’ in social behaviour.
With this initiative Wired Italy, its ambassadors and Umberto Veronesi – who refers to ‘future observers’ – explore the potential of the mass collaboration techniques enabled by the Internet to be used in the common interests of everyone, inviting people to become part of a mass peace movement; a laudable initiative, especially coming from a country where ‘media sensationalism’ is rife.
To sign up: www.internetforpeace.org