Israeli tech professional Uri Mishol is using online gaming to help build bridges between children in conflict zones.
The project, Games for Peace, hosts virtual gaming events between young people from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Arab countries as a means of opening up lines of communication within a context that is inviting, friendly and informal. Conscious that choice of game could hinder the project’s goals, Mishol focuses on using games that emphasise collaboration and communication such as the hugely popular Minecraft, a game that encourages users to build structures by breaking and placing blocks.
The gaming sessions are not structured around peace talks but are designed to help young people break down stereotypes and prejudices that can sometimes be ingrained in those who grow up in conflict zones. Games for Peace hosts gaming weekends where teams are directed to work together to build something specific in Minecraft and the organisers are currently planning a curricular programme that tackles discrimination between Arab and Jewish children in schools.