As the first video game studio exclusively devoted to making peace fun, Sipala Labs is on the leading edge of peace praxis by adopting an integral and systemic vision for transforming conflicts and addressing violence. These techniques are sometimes referred to as social-emotional learning, character building, empathy, conflict resolution, anger management, inter-personal communications, community empowerment, sustainable development, inclusive governance, social justice, amongst other names. Co-founders, Marianne Perez de Fransius and Sabrina Patrick-Urrutia both hold masters degrees in peace and conflict studies from the European Peace University and the University of Sydney respectively. Their holistic approach involves addressing conflicts at all levels, from the internal to the international and proposing peaceful, nonviolent strategies. These alternate responses have been tested and proven to be effective, when appropriately adapted, in various situations and contexts. By seeking out the latest research in the interdisciplinary field of peace studies, Sipala Labs draws from such varied sectors as education, psychology, sociology, communications, foreign relations, and human rights. Having lived and worked in over a dozen countries, Marianne and Sabrina complement this with their experience in public health, intercultural communication, project management, education, social justice, advocacy, human resources management, news media and technology. By venturing into gaming technology, Sipala Labs is charting the way for making urgently needed peacebuilding and conflict transformation skills accessible to a mass audience.
As a self-funded early stage organization, Sipala Labs has achieved impressive results in two years including winning the UN Development Programme and UN Alliance of Civilization’s PEACEapp competition for games for intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention; receiving mentorship from Games for Change; collaborating with 3 game development teams on a pro bono basis resulting in the completion of 2 rapid prototypes; being mentioned in Foreign Policy Magazine; and being invited to present at various conferences including the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security (Amman, Jordan), UNAOC’s annual summit (Baku, Azerbaijan), Build Peace (Cyprus and Switzerland), and Women in Technology and Innovation (San Francisco Bay Area). All of this is underpinned by the organizational groundwork Marianne and Sabrina have laid in developing a business strategy plan, budget and projections, board of advisors, strong network of support and collaborators, peace superheroes character book (including spec art), and self-produced marketing videos not to mention establishing the organization’s vision, mission and purpose.
Marianne specializes in peace media in which conflict transformation, community empowerment and personal development are seen as entertaining, empowering, engaging and profitable. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Sabrina is a social sector leader and nonprofit executive with experience working in mental health, youth, international community development, education, and conflict transformation. Her undergraduate degree is in Psychology from Macquarie University, Australia.