The United States government has joined together with the non-profit organization, Games for Change, to sponsor a "virtual exchange program" through their Stevens Initiative, which is an international effort sponsored by the State Department that aims to "build global competence and career readiness skills for young people in the United States, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The new exchange program will reportedly be called Game Exchange and will feature students from multiple countries such as the United States, United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Bahrain.
What is The Game Exchange Program?
According to the details provided for the Game Exchange program, participants will have a chance to develop video games with a focus on making a social impact. The said program will reportedly involve as many as 2,700 students, all aged between 6 and 12. The program aims to bring these students together through video games, a medium that has, over the years, proven itself to transcend race and age.
Once included in the program, students will join others in teams tasked with working on at least two choice projects. The only requirement is that they base all their projects on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as detailed by the United Nations.
All UN Member States adopted these goals in 2015, which they now consider as an urgent call to action. This includes topics such as fighting against climate change, improving healthcare and education, putting an end to poverty, and so much more.
Students of the Game Exchange program will receive guidance from teachers that received training through the Games for Change organization. Participants will also receive feedback from other credible sources. This includes games industry insiders, as well as other former participants, and "mentors from academia."
It's interesting to see even governments getting involved in using video games to bridge cultures. However, while cultural exchange programs are usually a two-way deal, in this particular case, the Game Exchange program seems intent on spreading the United States' expertise in video game development to other parts of the world.
Click here if you'd like to learn more about the Games Exchange program.