Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, March 1, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 9

Developing empathy through information technology

Santa Clara students—graduates in Stover’s Information Technology and International Politics class and undergrads in Introduction to International Relations—will be participating in a similar 10-day international exercise beginning March 3.

They’ll interact via computer with students in Lebanon, Israel, Morocco, Egypt, and Palestine using a scenario “that pushes the Middle East conflict out perhaps a month or two.” The SCU class playing Lebanon will assist half a dozen students actually in Lebanon who will play the roles of prime minister, foreign minister, and other diplomats.

The SCU class playing the United States will work with students at the American University in Beirut acting as U.S. officials. “So ‘President Bush’ in Lebanon will make a decision, and our students here will help him carry it out,” he elaborates.

Stover, who is in the process of developing a tool to objectively quantify empathy, says improved international empathy fosters better domestic relations as well. “Students begin to see that there’s a different way of looking at the world overall, whether across the globe or across the street.”