Gauchos will have the chance to connect with fellow college students in Iraq during the videoconference “A Dialogue for Peace: Live From Baghdad” this Sunday at 10 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center Theater.
The conference is sponsored by the noprofit organization Global Access Media and will allow students to discuss various issues surrounding American-Iraqi relations, such as misconceptions about Middle Eastern politics and paths to building better relations with Iraq. After a screening of the documentary “Road to Fallujah,” students will be able to engage in real-time conversations and debate with the help of Polycom videoconferencing technology and Iraqi translators.
Fourth-year communication major Christy Needels said she hopes the opportunity for direct communication with peers in Iraq forges cross-cultural understanding.
“There’s a lot that we don’t know about each other and through dialogues we can find out that we have more in common than we think,” Needels said.
Nick Driver, a fourth-year biopsychology major, said he has high expectations for the conference as it offers a rare ability to discuss international issues with the citizens they are affecting.
“If you are looking for a culture shock, this is the place to be,” Driver said. “It’s one thing to talk about international conflict but seeing the faces and hearing the voices of young people living directly in the heart of the conflict … it’s something else.”
To make such an experience possible, the event will utilize videoconferencing media that allows life-like interaction with Iraqis, according to Ryan Rudesill, a third-year English major.
“It’s really cool that we have the technology to do this because even 10 years ago nothing like this would have been possible,” Rudesill said.
Third-year biology major Megan Lim said the event will provide students with a fresh take on Iraqi culture and political topics.
“This event will be completely eye-opening,” Lim said. “It will change your perspective [and] you will have a better understanding of our relationship with Iraq.”