blog posts from GYC's participants, alumni, & staff
By Alex Madj
Consider two scenarios. In the first scenario you are sitting at the table having breakfast while reading the newspaper. There is an article on Haiti that states a staggering number of lives have been lost due to poor living conditions. In the second scenario, you are watching a five minute video in which a group of Haitian children sing to you about their lives, and in few words are able to reach out to you on a personal level.
We as humans are more likely to respond at an emotional level to a visual message, such as a music video or documentary, as apposed to large numbers written on paper. Recognizing this, the United Nations’ Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is trying to promote the use of video for intercultural harmony, according to the UNAOC’s Director Marc Scheuer, with whom I met, along with my fellow Global Youth Connect delegates, on June 29, 2012 at the UN. The UNAOC encourages the use of visual imagery through the Plural Plus Video Awards, where young people from around the globe submit a video that conveys a message relating to intercultural communication. In winning this award, amateur producers have the opportunity to have their work acknowledged on a bigger stage.
One such producer is Tariq Chowdhury, a young filmaker from the UK. His short film, Faith in London ,was not only a visually impressive piece, but used the art of silence accompanied by Londoners holding up signs displaying quotes from their various faith traditions all representing the “Golden Rule.” For example, a quote from the Talmud Shabbat : “What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary”. The series of signs and the diverse faiths represented, created a powerful effect, and symbolized unity among a diverse city. Each quote carried the same message: Hold yourself responsible for your actions, and do not expect to be treated kindly if you cannot be kind to others.
Now after I have told you about this video, picture an article written containing facts about diversity in London. The video certainly gets a clearer image across. Why is this important? It is important because there are only a handful of newspapers, yet thousands among thousands of youtube videos. Short videos such as Chowdhury’s would likely never be noticed without the help of the Alliance of Civilizations, and Blogs like this one.