In this show we’ll be hearing about how games can help your intercultural awareness. We’ll also be following up on a couple of items from the last show by going to Iraq to hear more about the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq initiative which brought Arab and Kurdish Iraqis together to make music and we’ll be re-visiting the issue of the right of Saudi women to drive cars in cities.
In the last show we went absolutely independent when we heard about the Saudi women who were going to drive their cars on June 17th in a bid to convince the authorities to accept this practice. Actually June 17th was not meant as a one-off but as a start date, but it seems that the day went well with quite a few women driving their cars with only minor brushes with the police as a result. This is in contrast to what happened with a similar action in 1990 when the women then were harassed by the authorities and other citizens and described as ‘The fallen: Advocates of vice and corruption on Earth’. ‘A source of depravity’ and when other citizens were advised to ‘Take whatever action you see fit’ to bring them under control. What’s the difference between then and now? Perhaps that, because of social media, the eyes of the world were on Saudi Arabia on this occasion.
So does social media such as Twitter and Facebook have an effect on culture? That is a question which I shall be exploring as part of a webinar organised by Christine Develotte and Fred Dervin on June 29th. More specifically we will be looking at whether social media can actually contribute to developing intercultural competences. You will find the link to the free webinar here.
We’ve covered games before and today we’re going to hear from George Simons working with Kati Volt about his Diversophy game, how it works and a bit of background about how the game is made. So how can you gain some intercultural awareness through a game? George Simons of Diversophy.com explains the game which started out as a face to face card game but now also comes in online and Android smart phone format. We also hear about sample cards in the game and how people react to them. In fact George and I had a great deal more to talk about; too much for one show, so you’ll be hearing more from George and his gaming approach in future shows. In the meantime you might like to try one of the Diversophy Android apps on your Smart phone.
Now let’s be absolutely musical and hear a little more about that incredible orchestra put together by audition on YouTube which puts together traditional enemies, Arabs and Kurds, to play together in an Orchestra which is due to perform at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn this coming October. In previous shows we have heard from Paul MacAlindin, the conductor and Karin Wolf, the viola teacher, as well as the RheinAhr Campus students whose task it was to find a way of raising awareness of the event. In this show I will play you an extract from one of the videos put together to explain the background to this very special orchestra. You can see and hear the whole video here.
Did you know that this week is international refugee week? In Australia it was marked by an amazing reality show, Asylum Exit Australia: Go back to where you came from , in which over three consecutive nights you followed the journey of six ordinary Australians who made the refugee journey to Australia backwards; in the words of the programme makers :
Deprived of their wallets, phones and passports, they board a leaky refugee boat, are rescued mid-ocean, experience immigration raids in Malaysia, live in a Kenyan refugee camp and visit slums in Jordan before ultimately making it to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, protected by UN Peacekeepers and the US military. For some of them it’s their first time abroad. For all of them, it’s an epic journey and the most challenging experience of their lives.
This is all about trying to walk in the shoes of others or leaving your comfort zone and is meant to confront viewers with their stereotypes of refugees as spongers and taking the easy option and so on. For the moment this has only been broadcast on Australian TV. But the TV company have added another way in which you can get a taste of what it might be like to have all your normal certainties suddenly taken away from you, in the form of a simulation. The game starts in Australia where, through some unamed political developments, you are suddenly in extreme danger of your life and need to escape. How does it feel to have to leave the place you consider home, to suddenly not know who you can trust? These are the sorts of issues which the game explores. You can try it out for free. I’d be interested to hear your reactions so do add a comment here after playing it. .
Ways to support “The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq”:
The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq would especially welcome your support on the various social media sites if you have a moment or two to spare.
Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany on 8th July 2011
The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Markus Scherer