According to a growing group of researchers, diplomats and video game developers, as well as the United Nations, video games — if done right — may just be the future of diplomacy and a peace-making tool that effectively builds empathy, understanding and bridges between global communities.
The San Diego Diplomacy Council’s Fall Signature Event – Global Game On: How Video Games Promote World Peace & Diplomacy – on Friday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. PST serves as the nonprofit’s annual fundraiser and will focus on how digital diplomacy and video games help close divisive gaps around the world.
In the Zoom event, co-hosted with San Diego chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), attendees will be transported from war to peace: Panelists include Lual Mayen, who fled war-torn South-Sudan and spent 22 years in a refugee camp. As founder of Junub games, Mayen now creates video games that build peace. He will be joined by Rami Ismail, a Dutch-Egyptian independent games and tool developer with over 20 titles, who advocates for the creation of a fairer and more equal industry for developers anywhere through his work at gamedev.world; and Dr. Constance Steinkuehler, an American professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, currently researches the cognitive and social aspects of video games and gaming, and previously advised on policy matters about video games and learning in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House Executive Office. The event will feature welcome remarks from U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce.
Then, in partnership with the North American Scholastic Esports Foundation, attendees can witness the concept in action, as high school students in the U.S and Mexico participate in the empathy video game “Among Us,” to promote global dialogue and collaboration. A Q&A with some of the students will follow.
“Our goal at San Diego Diplomacy Council is to connect, inform and empower people and organizations — locally and globally — driving positive changes in themselves, their community and the world. While we can’t have as many in-person meet ups and international visitors and visits right now, we’re seeing the critical need for digital diplomacy for international connectivity and understanding – including through video games,” said Executive Director Fabienne Perlov. “We encourage citizen diplomats, grandparents, parents, high school students and more to attend in order to help promote peace and play video games together!”
“Video games create a safe space for people of different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures to connect, while having fun,” added IGDA San Diego Vice Chair Karen Morrison. “As IGDA believes, and this event demonstrates, gaming provides a platform for authentic communication and a place for global collaboration.”
Event registration includes free access to a surprise video game. Attendees will also be entered to win a Recipe Exchange Book with recipes from the Diplomacy Council’s international visitors. During the event, local attendees have the option to enjoy dinners showcasing San Diego’s diverse cultural background and refugee community made by International Rescue Committee MAKE, available via local pickup.
Tickets are $15 for San Diego Diplomacy Council members and $25 for non-members. Additional add-ons include a private virtual cocktail room for up to six guests for $20, plus a multi-course authentic Sudanese dinner available for pick-up or delivery, which ranges from $45-$73.
For more details or to purchase tickets, visit bit.ly/SDDCgaming.