Source: ISRAEL21c Corporation
Games for Peace (G4P) is a movement to bridge gaps between young people in conflict zones through a shared experience of playing popular video games requiring communication and collaboration within a virtual world. Rather than reinventing the wheel, G4P adapts internationally beloved games, particularly Minecraft, to accomplish its goal. Kids across the Middle East can play G4P together from the safety of their own school or home. One way to do this is periodic Play for Peace weekends, the first of which attracted 100 players in January 2014 in a fun collaboration to build the world’s first virtual peace village via Minecraft.
The second G4P platform is weekly Play2talk Minecraft sessions for children on mixed teams from an Arab and a Jewish school. Using avatars, they advance through a series of virtual construction challenges, each requiring increasingly more cooperation, communication and dependency among team members. As they progress, the students exchange information about their real-life selves and finally have a chance to meet one another in a neutral location or at one of their schools after completing the online task.
The program comprises of six “virtual” meetings, in which two classes, each from its own school computer room, logs in simultaneously to a shared game world. The players are divided into mixed teams and encouraged to work together in order to overcome all kinds of challenges in the game. In addition, a number of after-school activities are organized in this virtual world, and the children are all encouraged to take part.
The game has been customized in order to encourage cooperation between players from different backgrounds and certain precautions have been built in, to ensure that the potential for aggressive or violent behavior is substantially reduced. The chat system automatically translates messages into Arabic, Hebrew and English and the virtual world will be monitored constantly, to ensure a safe gaming environment is maintained.
Read more at ISRAEL21c.