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Steven Spielberg launches project to teach empathy

February 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The compassion shown by Oskar Schindler during World War II, which inspired director Steven Spielberg to make "Schindler's List," is the inspiration for a project aimed at the next generation.

Spielberg spent Wednesday morning at the Chandler School in Pasadena, where he launched the USC Shoah Foundation's IWitness Video Challenge. The contest encourages middle and high school students to engage in community service and create video essays that show what they've learned through Shoah's testimonials of Holocaust survivors.

"The idea behind the challenge is the same idea as what was behind 'Schindler's List,' that profound change can occur when even one person makes a positive choice," Spielberg said. "We can use IWitness to show the power of random acts of kindness, the significance of contribution to community and the very idea that the best way to teach empathy is with examples of it, so that maybe someday, kindness will be a natural reflex and not just a random act."

The student whose video wins the IWitness Challenge will take part in the Shoah Foundation's 20th anniversary celebration next year.


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