Film director Steven Spielberg, in conjunction with the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation-The Institute for Visual History and Education, has launched an interactive project called “IWitness,” aimed at raising consciousness of international genocide. Spielberg, who founded the Shoah Foundation with funds from his Oscar-winning Holocaust film Schindler’s List (1993), has devoted his recent years to interviewing thousands of genocide survivors from all around the world. “IWitness” is an educational website which features over 1,300 testimonials from survivors of the Holocaust, Cambodian, Armenian, and Rwandan genocides. The website includes tools to make your own video project, photographs, and an encyclopedia of historical terms.
Like Harriet Beecher Stowe who used the media of her time, Spielberg utilizes the media of the 21st century to raise consciousness and promote active, engaged dialogue on issues facing the world. In what ways can we further use media to increase action and social change? Unlike Stowe, technology has democratized and globalized media, making it accessible for virtually everyone. How will you use media tools to promote awareness and leverage this awareness into tangible change?