Public Good

We are excited to announce that on Monday May 18, the MacArthur Foundation will be officially launching MacArthur Island in Second Life with a public forum featuring Foundation President Jonathan Fanton and co-creator of Second Life, Cory Ondrejka. Ondrejka and Fanton will be discussing the future of virtual worlds and philanthropy, and then taking questions from the virtual audience. An informal reception will follow.

Virtual world / web simulcast services provided by our friends at

Head to the Foundations sim (click here to teleport.) on May 18 to participate!

MacArthur Island in Virtual World to Open with Public Forum on May 18

On May 18, to mark the launch of MacArthur Island in the virtual world of Second Life, the Foundation will host an event featuring the avatars and live voices of Foundation President Jonathan Fanton and co-creator of Second Life, Cory Ondrejka. The discussion between Ondrejka and Fanton will consider the future of virtual worlds and philanthropy. This public forum also will be broadcast as a webcast to standard internet browsers.

Alexander asks Victoria a question using Switchboard
The screenshot here is kind of hard to parse so let me describe it. A young person (represented by the green furry) in Teen Second Life is composing a text message to send to another teen in Uganda that she will recieve on her cell phone as an SMS message.  Meanwhile my avatar (the purple robot) sits atop the chat history represented by floating text and blue bubbles that rise higher as each new message is sent.  This remarkable exchange from the virtual world to a regular cell phone is made possible by the grey device behind the bubbles, a tool we call "Switchboard."

A little background after the jump...

Today Shawna and I organized a very special workshop and discussion on
AIDS in Africa.  About a dozen teens converged on Global Kids Island in Teen Second Life to participate in the event.

Dr Francis Deng speaking at International Justice Center in Second Life

Today I helped organize a pretty successful mixed-reality Global Kids event, featuring Dr. Francis Deng, the UN Special Representative on Genocide, speaking about Darfur and the UN's response to situations like these. The Online Leadership Program of Global Kids, which I'm a part of, is making concerted efforts to coordinate our work more closely with other Global Kids' programs that focus on New York teens.  While Second Lifers know about Global Kids as being innovators in virtual world education, our main work is face-to-face with thousands of real world teens in 25 schools in the wider New York City area.

My colleague Shawna and I developed a quick-and-dirty way of taking a program organized by the Global Kids Summer Institute at the Council on Foreign Relations and bring it into Second Life and Teen Second Life. 

Deconstructing Darfur Group Shot

Global Kids' Deconstructing Darfur project culminated with the Torch Relay for Darfur that was conceptualized, created, and run by the members of Deconstructing Darfur. After eight workshops addressing the situation in Darfur and looking at activism in virtual and real world communities, the teens put their knowledge into action to raise awareness about Sudan's connection to China in light of the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing.

DD Torch Relay

[tsl/public good] Deconstructing Darfur Week 4 Wrap-Up 

Workshop 7

It is hard to believe we are in our last week of Deconstructing Darfur. This workshop was one of the last opportunities as a group to put together all the elements of our upcoming event to raise awareness and funds, the Torch Relay for Darfur. The team used this time to brainstorm missing parts and roles that need to be created before the event on Friday, June 13. I continue to be impressed on the willingness of all members of Deconstructing Darfur to take on anything and everything that needs to get done. This has often meant stepping out of their comfort zones and testing out new skills as they become builders or graphic designers to help make this event reality. Once again, this confirms the tremendous amount of talent that can be found within the TSL community and youth in general.

[tsl/public good] Deconstructing Darfur Week 3 Wrap-Up 

Workshop 5

The third week of "Deconstructing Darfur" took our exploration of activism on Darfur to a much deeper level. The "Deconstructing Darfur" team was joined by Catherine Wagner of the Save Darfur Coalition and Mohsin Mohi-Ud Din of Human Rights First to share their work and experiences in taking action to help the people of Sudan.