US State Department sponsors ‘virtual exchange program’ for aspiring game developers

The US government, through the State Department-sponsored Stevens Initiative, is joining with the non-profit organization Games for change to launch a “virtual exchange program” for teenagers in the US, UAE, Bahrain, and Israel. The goal of the program, called Game exchange, is to bring students together “in creative dialogue and collaboration based on a shared interest in video games and game design.”

The program will support 2,700 participants from grades 6-12, who will be put together in teams and set to work on at least two projects based on a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of their choice. Teachers trained in Games for Change’s design curriculum will guide the work, and support and feedback will be offered by “mentors from academia, the games industry, and Game Exchange alumni.” Participants will also have the opportunity to attend virtual and in-person (once the pandemic is over, presumably) game jams. At the end of each school year, teams will submit their work to a Games Exchange competition, with finalists and winners announced at an awards ceremony.

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