"Teaching Respect for All" Program Fights Discrimination, Prejudice, and Racism with Interactive Video Discussions that Increase Students' Understanding of Diverse Cultures
PLEASANTON, Calif. - Feb 01, 2012 : Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in standards-based unified communications (UC), today announced that Global Nomads Group (GNG) used Polycom® RealPresence™ Video and Voice Solutions, powered by the Polycom® RealPresence™ Platform, to facilitate the launch of the "Teaching Respect for All" program. The program was established by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and funded by the U.S. State Department to increase tolerance, respect and understanding on a global scale with a comprehensive curriculum for teachers and online platforms for educators and students to talk about building respectful communities. Using Polycom video, GNG connected students in Salvador, Brazil and Virginia Beach, Virginia with top officials from UNESCO, U.S. State Department, and the Brazilian government who were at the UNESCO office on January 18 in Paris, France, to launch the program.
"Global Nomads is focused on fostering greater understanding through person-to-person interactions between young people all over the world," said Bernardo Monzani, programs manager, Global Nomads Group. "Polycom RealPresence video collaboration solutions make that possible through high-definition, virtual environments where students can talk to each other in crystal-clear audio and video just as if they were in the same room. That type of immersive experience makes Polycom video a perfect solution for our partnership with UNESCO on the 'Teaching Respect for All' program."
Esther Brimmer, assistant secretary for International Organization Affairs at the U.S. State Department, attended the UNESCO event in Paris. "At its core," she noted in her address, "this program poses a challenging question to today's youth: are you—are any of us—capable of change? Are we able to not just confront other people's bigotry, but to confront our own? I believe the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. Yes, we can change; yes, we can improve; and yes, we can build a more respectful world." In another recorded video address, Brimmer explained that the UNESCO program will result in new classroom materials to help teach children about respect, human rights, and the value all people can bring to their communities.
Polycom has been working with GNG for many years to support programs that facilitate understanding of and increase tolerance among the world's diverse cultures, connecting thousands of kids around the world to discuss topics ranging from the war in Iraq to the natural habitat of the Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda to relations between U.S. and Arab students to terrorized children in Uganda, resulting in increased understanding and tolerance for the world's diverse cultures. As GNG expands its reach into more remote locations and areas where traditional IT infrastructures are unavailable, the group plans to leverage the Polycom® RealPresence™ Mobile software solution to enable face-to-face video interaction among students using their tablets and smartphones.
"Polycom's ease of use eliminates a potential roadblock for us," said Monzani. "We can deploy videoconferencing to new locations very quickly and students and teachers who may not be technically sophisticated have no trouble mastering our system. Polycom video is extremely intuitive to use. The open standards-based interoperability of the Polycom RealPresence Platform was essential to our ability to deliver video capability quickly for UNESCO. We pulled together all the planning and logistics across three continents in a matter of weeks. And Polycom's mobility solution will open up countless new possibilities for us, letting us reach new locations and people that we couldn't have reached in the past."
Monzani added that when GNG asks participating students to rate various aspects of GNG programs, videoconferencing is consistently rated as the most impactful element. This is no surprise, as several studies have shown that people learn more, absorb more, and retain more information visually, and that face-to-face collaboration is far more effective than voice-only. Through interactive video, students can experience eye-opening adventures and develop new relationships long-distance. And, when meeting and discussing issues with other students halfway around the globe, the high-definition video lets them clearly see the reactions, body language, enthusiasm and facial expressions of their peers.