Challenge #5 – Cross-Cultural Understanding

Posted on Jan 28, 2011

Cross-Cultural Understanding

in partnership with the Global Lives Project

Challenge Overview

The world is shrinking faster than empathy is growing. While it has become easier for people around the world to connect both on and offline, significant gaps in empathy and compassion remain. Despite all the technology and ability to reach out to one another we still have not, and global inequity continues to grow. There are still major gaps between individuals of different cultures, races, nationalities, genders, ages, religions, rural vs. urban communities. The divide between the rich and the poor continues to grow while the global community of individuals remains disconnected.

  • 38% of young Americans (18-24) consider speaking another language to be “not too important.”
  • 89% of young Americans do not correspond regularly with anyone outside of the United States.
  • 88% of young Americans cannot find Afghanistan on a map of Asia.

An open dialogue is the key to closing these gaps and increasing empathy for one another. The problem is one of both individuals and groups, while these issues exist at a societal level the solution exists with engaging individuals.


In a shrinking world we believe the divides between cultures are becoming ever more evident. The Global Lives Project seeks to reconnect people to their shared cultural heritage, inviting them to reevaluate their point of view, looking closely into other cultures while reflecting on their own cultural experiences. In doing so they hope to open a space for dialogue and new understanding.

Global Lives needs effective ways to both gather and disseminate their content and to do so quickly before that content becomes stale. They’re volunteers need support and the organization needs ways to get their message out. Global Lives must leverage its understanding of cultures and disconnects in order to reconnect people and continue to foster awareness of their mission while creating a community of support.

Your Challenge Is…

Using available resources such as, the internet, camera equipment, volunteers, and the network of partner institutions, reconsider the problem of how to create empathy in a shrinking world.

Design Conditions

  • Solution must enhance exhibitions, web or education programs
  • Find ways to partner with other institutions
  • Have effective and replicable deployment method for video exhibits
  • Reach people around the world
  • Engage the community and sustain interest in the project
  • Leverage, partner with, and support a worldwide network of volunteers
  • Consider costs and method for sending equipment and gathering footage from these people
  • Must be implementable by limited staff and resources

Additional Resources

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