Many thanks to American University in Washington, D.C.'s School of Communication faculty and students, for all of your hard work in putting together this half of our parallel filmmaking initiative!
To see what the people of Cairo had to say to the question posed to them by the students at American University in Washington, D.C., be sure to watch the accompanying half of this parallel film project on our website:
Each Virtual Dinner Guest Project programming cycle connects groups from two countries for a videoconference call, and a shared meal. Our initial encounters are moderated discussions that focus on the collaborative deconstruction of the dominant media narratives that our respective countries have about the other.
At the end of the meal, each group poses a question to their fellow Virtual Dinner Guests, at the other end of the virtually contiguous dinner table. These questions then become the basis for parallel media projects, where participants on both sides film street interviews in an effort to find answers to the questions given to them by their international partners. The people of Cairo answer the dinner guests in Washington, D.C., in their own words, and the people of Washington, D.C. do the same for the Virtual DInner Guests in the Egyptian side. The content is then shared online for everyone.
We seek to provide the most representative cross section of our communities possible. That said, it should be noted that The Virtual Dinner Guest Project is non-partisan and non-sectarian, and the many (and often conflicting) views that you will hear, do not necessarily represent our own, or those of our collaborative partners.
We are a grass roots movement, in need of support.
Our ultimate goal? Take this concept to a global scale, integrating it into university classes, civil society programming, and media outlets around the world, with a special emphasis on connecting communities in conflict.
Our mission? We intend to promote a global cultural shift in the way individuals and communities view their relationships to news media, from one of passive consumption, to one of collaborative production, across borders, and political and cultural divisions. We are a media literacy training module, a mechanism for transforming conflict, a citizen journalism crash course... and we intend to be a stand alone media outlet, where people can come to glean street level perspectives from people around the world.