The relationship between the Muslim and Western worlds has been cast as a “clash of cultures,” a war between civilizations in which one is destined to prevail over the other. But is this so? What are the real attitudes and viewpoints of mainstream Americans and mainstream Muslims?
“Crossing Borders” aims to give a personal face to the “other side”, through the experiences of American students studying abroad and their interactions with students in the moderate Muslim state of Morocco. By avoiding a focus on extremism, the film provides its audience with a sense of the millions of good-willed, “ordinary citizens” on both sides whose voices are often not presented by the media. By avoiding political polarization, the film aims to attract a broad audience from all political, social, and religious backgrounds. The documentary aims to inspire audiences through practical examples of how to overcome the artificial separation between “Us” and “Them.”
Since September 11, I believe each of us – each adult in every peace-loving country around the world – has a new and very important responsibility. We must spend time with the young minds that will shape the future, and teach respect for the rights of the individual and tolerance of other faiths and other points of view.Margaret DeB. Tutwiler, Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco
Today’s undergraduate college students were 3-5 years old during the tragic events of September 11 and consequently have spent their intellectually formative years with post-9/11 media coverage. Crossing Borders targets a young adult base in both the Muslim and Western worlds—youth who have never met “the Other” in person. The film is a practical and engaging tool to initiate dialogue and debate between students on university campuses in the USA, North Africa and Middle East via screening events, classroom interactions and online platforms. These direct conversations are vibrant experiences and practical steps to grow empathy for the “Other” and deepen understanding for complex issues of the current world situation.
Arnd Wächter, Director/Producer, Crossing Borders
Intended impact of the film
Personal empowerment of students:
- Providing students with a counterbalance to stereotypes and sensationalism in the media.
- Addressing the pressing need for intercultural understanding in an increasingly interconnected world.
- Awakening students’ intercultural interest and helping them acquire intercultural communication skills.
- Helping students develop self-reflective and critical thinking skills through a range of activities designed to identify and question their preconceived and largely media-generated ideas about “The Other.”
Professional support of educators:
- Providing inspiring films to address diversity issues on campuses
- Providing training for faculty and staff (online tools and workshops of group facilitation)
- Providing online tools and lesson plans