Apps and Games Promoting Intercultural Dialogue Print

Published: 30 April 2013

Region: Worldwide

unaoc apps battuta 2The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), in partnership with Learning Games Network and MIT-Education Arcade, has announced the results and current updates of CREATE UNAOC - the apps/games for intercultural dialogue challenge.

Last year the UNAOC invited the programmers around the world to share their vision of how mobile apps and games can raise awareness and enable new opportunities for intercultural dialogue.

The winning applications were presented at the 5th UNAOC Forum in Vienna where one of the participants of the Global Forum was the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) Executive Director.

Among the five winners and five honourable mentions are apps/games allowing users to improve their knowledge of Arab culture (Ibn Battuta), to experience the world’s cultural diversity through the eyes of children (Touchable Earth) and to become aware of the global crisis for one of the most basic need: Water (Get Water!).

These apps/games are available and can be downloaded.

Other applications are in developing stage and they highlight the importance of critical thinking in journalism (Reality) or invite young people to discover the rich multi-cultural corollary of contemporary Europe (Culture Shock).

More about each app/game

unaoc app battutaIbn Battuta is an app with the purpose of improving the knowledge of Arab culture. Battuta’s Legend tells the story of Ibn Battuta, the famous Muslim Moroccan explorer. With this iPad app’s slick artwork, you can follow him on his travels and learn more about Muslim culture. Vivid, animated storytelling and high-quality photos, as well as a desktop version for classrooms, lead you through the new world and let you test your knowledge of the Arab world. This app is now available in the iTunes Store in English and Spanish.

unaoc app touchable earthTouchable Earth is developed by programmers from New Zealand. Touchable Earth is a content-rich app that shows you the cultures and customs of countries and regions around the world, as told by local children. Available on the iPad, you can quickly and easily navigate a world map and simply click on an area of the world about which you want to know more. Learn about children’s school day, games, music, dress and more in short, high-quality videos. This app is now available in the iTunes Store and its content is added regularly.

unaoc app get the waterGet Water! is an iPad game that illuminates the global crisis for the most basic and universal need: water. You play as Maya, a young girl who is pulled out of school to fetch water for her family. In the style of other viral smartphone games, you collect water with your basket and purchase new tools to aid in your effort. Along the way, you learn important facts about water shortages and waste and become a more informed global citizen.

Praising “Get Water!”, Jordan Shapiro at Forbes, is intrigued by the effect of these apps. “These are some big human rights issues that Get Water drags out of the invisible shadows and brings into the light of discussion. I’m now having surprisingly sophisticated conversations with my two sons (five and seven years old) about the privatization and commodification of water rights while we swap devices and controllers on the living room sofa…all because of a video game.“

“These games are examples of how new technologies can provide global education content in an engaging and fun activity,” writes The Huffington Post.