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Smart for Democracy and Diversity Final Meeting with Partners

AGE Platform Europe

On 14 June 2023, AGE Platform Europe (AGE) welcomed the Smart for Diversity and Democracy (SDD) partners within their offices for their final meeting. We discussed the final outcomes of the project, mainly the SDD online game that was going to be presented the day after to European Union (EU) stakeholders in Brussels.

The final meeting was the opportunity to make the last adjustments to the SDD game, including its translations as the game is available in several languages: English, German, Dutch, Czech, Portuguese, Italian, and French. In addition, we spoke about its dissemination, both at EU and national level as the SDD game is going to be available for 10 years, despite the project finishing in July 2023. Finally, we reflected on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the project.

User-centred approach and empathy as the key strengths of the SDD game

The game target a wide range of stakeholders such as advocacy organisations, universities and schools, trainers of civic education, adult educators, companies, human resources services, and policymakers.

When addressing the issue of discrimination and hate speech, it is necessary that people who face sexism, racism, queerphobia, antisemitism, anti-Muslim racism, anti-Roma racism, and/or ageism are heard and their lived experiences not invisibilised. This is why the SDD compendium conducted interviews with persons who have experienced discrimination. The game is based on these testimonials and partners developed the scenes jointly with these persons. Although the characters in the game are virtual, their stories are taken from real persons, which invites the players to develop their empathy.

In addition to be a creative and playful way of reflecting on our own biases and internalised stereotypes, empathy is at the core of the game. Empathy helps us to recognise and understand how others are feeling. Based on that, we will adapt our way of responding to and interacting with others. The empathetic approach of the game invites the players to understand that one’s word and/or action may hurt the others. As such, it aims to reduce the gap within oneself and others.

The game allows for a shift in perspectives that is usually more complicated to achieve with more conventional methods. It opens the dialogue around the issue of discrimination and allows for broader conversations and in fine societal changes.

Tackling discrimination cannot just be about winning a game

Despite the game being a good entry point to tackle discrimination, it cannot be enough as reflecting on our own biases is an endless journey. As such, the game is only an ‘appetizer’ and should be accompanied by an adult educator to pursue discussions. When finishing the game, even if the player may have found all the answers, this should not lead them to think that their behaviours are completely safe and free of discrimination to others.

Indeed, reflecting on our own biases means paying attention to our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours. It may be uncomfortable, yet this is necessary if we want to build an equal society, where everyone could enjoy their human rights free of discrimination. It is a long journey, and the game can only initiate this process.

However, we are confident that the SDD game will promote critical thinking and invite players – learners in adult education, adult educators, third-sector organisations, and policymakers – to self-reflect and bring change.

If you are interested to play the SDD game, you can click here.


Smart for Democracy and Diversity Final Meeting with Partners