Games for Change logoGames for Change is presenting their upcoming Sixth Annual Games for Change Festival, May 27 – 29, in New York City! This is the central event dedicated to the exciting new movement of video games for social change — games about poverty, global conflict, climate change and more. Called “the Sundance of video games” for “socially-conscious game-makers” Games for Change are building a new genre of video game — games to change the world — for the better. This year’s festival features an Opening Keynote by Pulitzer-Prize winning author and world-changing New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, who will give a sneak peek into his new book, documentary series and video game! Panels on documentary-makers making games, games for raising awareness, and a hands-on 101 workshop for those new to social issue game-making are features of special interest to filmmakers. For more information visit the Games for Change website.

A recent report by the Pew Center found that 97% of teenagers play games, and also noted that “some particular qualities of game play have a strong and consistent positive relationship to a range of civic outcomes,” making games, perhaps, one of the most powerful media of our day for fostering positive social change. The Annual Games for Change Festival brings together the world’s leading foundations, NGOs, game-makers, academics, filmmakers and journalists to explore this potential and examine how best to harness games in addressing the most critical issues of our day, from poverty to climate change, global conflicts to human rights. And some of these new games are being played by (literally) millions of people of all ages! The festival is now the biggest game event in New York City and draws people from around the world. It should be a fun and fascinating few days.

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Simon served as chief operating officer of American Documentary for six years before assuming the role of executive director in Fall 2006. Since joining AmDoc in 1999, he has played a key role in helping to set strategic direction for the organization and implementing new initiatives, including the Diverse Voices Project, POV's co-production initiative in support of emerging filmmakers; POV's Borders, PBS' Webby Award-winning online series; and True Lives, a second-run series for independent documentaries on public television. In addition, he worked to secure pioneering partnerships with both Netflix and Docurama to expand the distribution opportunities for POV filmmakers and enhance branding for POV Previously, Simon was associate director at Teachers & Writers Collaborative, a nonprofit literary arts and education organization and publisher, where he is now a member of the board of directors. He has also served as a board member and treasurer for Elders Share the Arts and East Harlem Block Schools, and as an informal advisor and funding panel member for other organizations including the New York City Center for Arts Education, the Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers and New York State Council on the Arts. Simon attended the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Columbia University Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.