Games for Change Festival Tackles DEI, Mental Health, Diplomacy and more

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Festival Dates: Mon., July 12 – Wed., July 14, 9:45 am ET – 7:00 PM ET

The 18th Annual Games for Change Festival has released the final schedule, which will feature new emerging voices to discuss how games can be used to address today’s most pressing challenges around social justice and civic issueseducation, and health and wellness, as well as a track dedicated to XR for Change.

Here are just a few unique themes and sessions emerging from the just-released Festival schedule:

  • Digging deeper and advancing DEI.
    • Fireside Chat with Rick Fox and Anthony Castoro of HiDef — innovating and infesting pop culture with a positive impact on diverse communities.
    • APIA Narratives to the Front: Emerging Technology & POV — combating the ideology that the Asian American community is a monolith, and reflecting that in XR.
    • Advancing Indigenous Futurisms in Games — a movement that challenges the boundaries of what it means to be Indigenous in a digital age.
  • Activating global citizens.
    • The Grassroots Game: New Media for Voter Engagement — the New Georgia Project making it easier for every voter to engage in every election.
    • World Building: Prototyping the Future to Provoke Change — world building to inspire aspirational but achievable futures with world building pioneer Alex McDowell.
    • Disinformation Games — U.S. State Dept’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) hosts a roundtable on the use of digital games to counter disinformation and extremism.
  • Making game spaces accessible/usable.
    • Gaming Helps Disabled People, and the Fight for Accessibility — how developers can work alongside disabled people to ensure everyone can play and engage.
    • Inclusivity in the Production of Digital Content with Kids — featuring Fred Rogers Productions.
  • Creating pro-social gaming culture.
    • Building a Better Future with Gaming, NFTs, & Social Good — harness blockchain and gaming to empower/reward individuals to do acts of social good.
    • What We Get Wrong with Kids Behaving Badly — why getting it right in games matters for the future of online civility.
    • Raising Good Gamers: TED-ED Student Talks Program — young people share their stories on video game culture and highlight the pro-social elements. 
  • Digital medicine IRL.
    • Fireside with Adam Elsesser (Penumbra) and Walter Greenleaf (Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford).
    • Psychedelics as Therapeutics: The Contribution of Game Heuristics — experts in psychedelic research, finance, game development, and VR discuss therapeutic advances.

Other stand-out speakers include: Jenny Wu (Understood), Jim Huntley (USC Games), John Hanke (Niantic), Joshua Shen (State Department), Mark Bartlet (AbleGamers & 2021 G4C Vanguard Recipient), Noah Falstein (The Inspiracy), Nsé Ufot (New Georgia Project), Stan Pierre-Louis (ESA), and many more.

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