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OTHERS ARE US: Imagining You and Your World
During the 2002-2003 school year, OTHERS ARE US piloted Imagining You and Your World, a project that engages children attending New York City public elementary schools in non-political dialogue with Arab Muslim and Jewish children in communities, both in the Middle East and the United States. Through creative expression and technology, children get to know and understand each other as children not ideologies and cultural caricatures. They are then given the means (through a public project presentation) to share with adults what they have learned about building positive relationships and opening avenues of communication. Children are thus empowered to play an active role in shaping their world today and the one they will inherit from us in the future. This is vital in our post-9-11 society where fear and anxiety have entered children's lives, fostering feelings of helplessness.
Our pilot phase saw children from 15 schools in 4 countries (an estimated 1000 students) exchanging visual and written messages about their schools and teachers, hobbies and recreational activities, fashion, families and pets, space exploration, food and what we know about each other's culture! Over 200 New York City public school children took part in the pilot and we plan to add additional schools and countries in 2003-2004. Our goal is to develop the program over the next three years in such a way that it can be easily implemented by teachers worldwide.
Please visit us at www.othersareus.org to find out more about Imagining You and Your World.