New Dimensions in Testimony Showcased at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

Wed, 01/24/2018 - 4:50pm

USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith, Director of Global Initiatives Karen Jungblut and Project Manager Kia Hays are attending this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to demonstrate New Dimensions in Testimony, the Institute’s interactive biographies that enable people to have conversations with pre-recorded video images of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses to genocide.

Many of the world leaders and business titans convening in the snow-covered town laud the program after spending a few minutes interacting with a virtual versions of Holocaust survivors Pinchas Gutter and Eva Schloss, and Nanjing Massacre survivor Xia Shuqin.

Mike Hanley, the Forum’s head of digital communications wrote in a blog this week about his encounter with Schloss.

“I walked into the booth, and there she was,” he wrote. As large as life, as vivid and engaging as always, so realistic I wanted to reach out and hug her. My father’s best childhood friend, Eva Schloss, was sitting there waiting to have a conversation with me. I’m used to meeting all sorts of people at Davos, but this caught me a little off guard.”

“The response has been wonderful,” Jungblut said. “People here have very hectic schedules, but when they stop to interact with New Dimensions in Testimony it’s as if time has stopped for them. They truly engage with the survivors, come away deeply moved by the experience, and often begin to talk with us about possible applications in their world.”

In the first few days of the weeklong conference, which ends Friday, hundreds of global leaders have spent time interacting with the three testimonies. "The wide range of participants in leadership from every continent who have seen the opportunity to experience these exciting new testimonies - finding new colleagues from Iran to United Arab Emirates and Nigeria to Bangladesh - demonstrates the universal power of testimony to touch hearts and open minds," Smith said.

 New Dimensions in Testimony is a perfect fit for this year's conference theme "Shaping a common future in a fractured world."