[media] Virtual Worlds Collaborate to Spread Kofi Annan’s Message About International Justice: Global Kids Plays Lead Role in Bringing Event to Online Communities


Global Kids
137 East 25th Street New York, NY 10010


Jonah Kokodyniak, Global Kids, 212-226-2116, Jonah@globalkids.org
There.com: Aimee Yoon, Dotted Line Communications, aimee@dottedlinecomm.com, 646.678.4980
Second Life: Peter Gray, Lewis PR, secondlife@lewispr.com, 415.992.4434

For Immediate Release:

Virtual Worlds Collaborate to Spread Kofi Annan’s Message About International Justice: Global Kids Plays Lead Role in Bringing Event to Online Communities

On March 20, 2008, spearheaded by Global Kids, Inc., a unique collaboration amongst virtual worlds, which combined report audiences of over 10 million users, streamed live from the Waldorf Astoria where Kofi Annan received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s first award for international justice. While Annan spoke before a live audience of 1,200 people in New York City, hundreds more watched and discussed the live speech across four virtual world communities, creating the largest massively multiworld simulcast to date.

At events coordinated by Global Kids, Inc. within There.com, Whyville, Second Life and Teen Second Life, virtual world residents, both teens and adults, viewed the MacArthur Foundation awards ceremony in which Mr. Kofi Annan received the first MacArthur International Justice Award of $500,000 to be distributed to a non-profit of his choice. During the live presentation, the virtual audiences, led by Global Kids staff with support from the virtual worlds companies Makena (There.com), Numedeon (Whyville), and Linden Lab (Second Life), engaged in vigorous discussion and debate.

A demonstration video can be viewed at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=tEtDEdyf3bM and samples of the teen responses can be read at: http://tinyurl.com/6bn62x.

“This unique collaboration among some of the largest teen-oriented virtual worlds emphasizes the importance of using virtual worlds for education and civic engagement,” said Global Kids’ Online Leadership Director, Barry Joseph. “It was inspiring to be part of such a unique collaboration with such amazing partners.”

“Virtual worlds continue to be used for commercial purposes and the platform must not be overlooked for education as well,” said Michael Wilson, CEO of Makena Technologies. “We are proud to support Global Kids and help to promote the work they are doing to make a difference for urban youth throughout the country.”

“We are continually amazed at the energy and enthusiasm our kids bring to the live events we host in Whyville,” said Jen Sun, President of Numedeon. “For many of them, this was the first time they’ve heard about Kofi Annan. We had a lively and inspiring discussion around international justice and civic awareness.”

“This is exactly the type of use I envisioned when we developed what would become Second Life almost nine years ago,” said Philip Rosedale, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Linden Lab. “I believe virtual worlds have a responsibility to not just enhance the lives of their users but make a tangible difference in their communities and the larger society. Global Kids’ innovative work in Second Life, and this event in particular, serve to demonstrate how virtual worlds can be used to address real world concerns.”

In April, Global Kids did it again, this time with a simulcast of a presentation by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (http://youtube.com/watch?v=iKRmP1wvsnA). These events exemplify Global Kids’ role as the foremost nonprofit in virtual world education. Since 2005, Global Kids has leveraged the educational potential of virtual worlds to inform and involve people in pressing international and public policy issues. Global Kids brings students from its New York-based programs into the virtual worlds and conducts youth leadership programming and streams audio and video of major international events into the worlds, as well. This work is conducted in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, UNICEF, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Youth Venture, and the International Criminal Court, among others.

About Global Kids, Inc. (globalkids.org)
Founded in 1989, Global Kids' mission is to transform urban youth into successful students and global and community leaders by engaging them in socially dynamic, content-rich learning experiences. Through its leadership development and academic enrichment programs, Global Kids educates youth about critical international and domestic issues and promotes their engagement in civic life and the democratic process. Through professional development initiatives, Global Kids provides educators with strategies for integrating experiential learning methods and international issues into urban classrooms. Over ninety percent of the high school seniors who participate in Global Kids’ leadership program graduate from high school.