Instead of “killing time” in a violent fantasy world, why not use the vivid virtual reality of a video game to solve real-world conflicts?

From this insight, Cedaria was born: a game that lets players learn what the results of cooperative—and exploitative—leadership are. Players must work to restore stability on an island where sectarian tensions, i.e. fear and greed, threaten to unravel into violence.

If that scenario sounds familiar, it’s because Cedaria’s makers crafted it for a Middle Eastern audience, consulting with peace-building experts and veteran game designers to maximize both serious learning and visual fun. To those from the region, the game should look familiar too, as its architecture combines 19th century Lebanese, Ottoman, and Victorian steampunk elements.

And for those wishing to bring it even closer to home, by donating to the game you can have streets, statues, and stores named after you. With partial funding provided by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Beirut, an ongoing crowd-funding campaign aims to raise the rest.

For more info –  Crowdfunding site

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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