Last month, a historic event took place in the high-definition (HD) video conferencing facility on the University of Denver’s campus through their Institute for the Study of Israel in the Middle East. Here teenagers in Israeli, representing Arabs, Jews, Christians, and Muslims met with 25 Iraqi high school students who were visiting the University of Denver to hold a peace summit to explore barriers to peace in the region and how to overcome them.
The Iraqi students visiting Denver were part of the Iraqi Youth Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by the US State Department and they met and talked directly with Israeli students who had convened at the AVCOM facilities in Tel Aviv.
The videoconference allowed these Middle Eastern youth to see the faces, hear the voices, and ask direct questions of their counterparts whom, under regular circumstances, they would never get a chance to meet or get to know as people.
The positive results of this meeting showed how the use of new communications technology can help break down barriers that have existed for decades, facilitate communication, and foster understanding.
The event showed that the creative application of new communications technology which allows people to meet on their own terms under non-threatening conditions breaks down communication barriers and allows conversations to take place that could never occur otherwise.