We use popular, commercial video games like Minecraft, whose themes revolve around the ideas of communication and collaboration within a virtual world. By exploiting their mass appeal, our programs aim to create a new opportunity for a shared, positive experience between children in Israel, Palestine, the Middle East and other parts of the world suffering from conflict.
Children, everywhere, love to play games. Computer games in particular have become a widely popular form of entertainment in recent years. As a platform for promoting dialogue, video games and online games in particular combine several outstanding advantages over traditional approaches:
By focusing on one of the activities best enjoyed by children and young adults, Games for Peace programs naturally draw a larger game-loving audience, including those outside the natural “pro-peace” camp.
Among the major challenges of traditional approaches are the logistics, costs and complexities involved in bringing together children from territories in a state of conflict or tension. Online games dissolve borders – physical, national or emotional – and have the unique ability to connect unprecedented numbers of players from the privacy and safety of their home computer.
In a video game, every player is equal. Socioeconomic, national and even religious differences momentarily dissolve, forming a unique window for unbiased dialogue.
Halfway through the program, the children meet face-to-face and discover the real people behind the Minecraft avatars. The blend of virtual and real-life experiences has a lasting effect: Participants not only overcome negative stereotypes of the other group – many of them also add their counterparts to their social media circles and stay in touch.
The eSports Training Program is a new initiative in which Jewish and Arab youth engage in weekly eSports video game training, with the help of top tier streamers.
eSports video games are immensely popular and share a few similarities with physical team sports – they require teamwork, skill training, discipline and communication between players.
The eSports Training Program encourages sustained play and interaction in heterogeneous eSports teams by training and focusing on social interaction, cooperation and mutual help.
The eSports Training Program is aimed at teens aged 14-18 and is suitable for a classroom setting or for a distance learning setting.
A study conducted by Dr. Rony Berger, an expert in the field of conflict mediation and mitigation, led to strong support to the effectiveness of the program, showing participants expressing much higher willingness to interact with children from the other national group, reporting much less prejudicial feelings and much more positive thoughts towards members of the other national group.
Following those promising results, Play2Talk was recognized by Israeli ministry of education as an official educational program.
Indirect Impact extends to families, teachers and students’ outer circles
Games for Peace in TEDx:
Games for Peace in the
Israeli national television:
Games for Peace was founded by Uri Mishol, an Israeli high-tech veteran, along with partners such as Dr. Dudi Peles ,Hans Shakur, Yoad Snapir, Ido Tal, and other people from the fields of research, computer game development, education and peacemaking.
Dr. Dudi Peles, one of Israel’s leading experts on the cross between Video Games and Education, serves as Games for Peace’s executive chairman.
Naveh Tal, serves as Games for Peace’s program manager and educational content developer.
Help us develop this innovative platform for building trust and dialog between children. Support Games for Peace today for a better tomorrow!
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