The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) are looking for young game-changers! The organizations are launching a call for applications for the #DigitalGamesForPeace challenge, an initiative that aims to support young people in co-designing and co-creating games that will serve as pedagogical tools for transferring, enhancing, and developing skills and competencies for intercultural dialogue, and social and emotional learning to prevent violent extremism.
Increasingly, studies show that games are not just fun but educational and pedagogical methods to teach pertinent competencies such as mindfulness, empathy, compassion, critical thinking and collaboration, achieving learning objectives and outcomes. Games harness the power of play to transcend national boundaries, flatten hierarchies across individuals and cultures, summon emotions, and hone problem-solving skills. They have the potential to develop emotional intelligence and resilience, which is fundamental for behavior change. This initiative will therefore affirm the potential of games and put forth actionable guidance on ways to build or use existing games to develop relevant competencies for intercultural dialogue and social & emotional learning to prevent violent extremism in selected countries in South and Southeast Asia.
The selected youth will have the opportunity to spearhead a United Nations project, improve their capacities in intercultural dialogue, the prevention of violent extremism, socio-emotional learning, and game-based methodologies, meet and work with an enthusiastic group of young change-makers from the region, and interact with experts.
A total of 51 participants will be selected for the first stage (June-September 2021), which consists of curated training, bootcamps, and mentorship opportunities by thought and industry leaders in the disciplines of game design and development, socio-emotional learning, and the prevention of violent extremism. The group will then review and test existing games that contribute to building intercultural dialogue and socio-emotional learning competencies for the prevention of violent extremism.
Based on their activity reports and participation in Phase 1, 21 selected youth will move on to Phase 2 (October-December 2021). This cohort of game-changers will then ideate, design, and develop innovative projects on the use of games for peacebuilding.