For immediate release August 11th 2010
For further information Henry Makiwa
Contact details 020 7877 7479 / HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk
Out of office hours pager: 07659 145095
“You are in a conflict area. Your home is about to be searched by an armed soldier or an armed robot. Which would you prefer?” Human soldiers have emotions. Robots don't. Could using robots make armed conflict more humane?
This is one of the many thought-provoking questions posed in the new online resource the British Red Cross launches today (August 11th 2010) as part of the charity’s freshly redesigned website.
The latest online initiative from the British Red Cross education team can be viewed at www.redcross.org.uk/robotsinwar and is part of the charity’s partnership with the Bonita Trust. The trust funded the Red Cross to develop an interactive humanitarian education project to engage students and teachers on global issues.
Using compelling video footage of robots in action, they respond to surprisingly challenging questions about the complex relationship between people and machines.
The videos cover the remote operation of unmanned drones, medical robots that retrieve the wounded from battle, mine detectors, armed border guards and much more.
Features of the teaching resource include:
> self-directed learning as students choose their route through a series of videos and activities
> high-quality stimulus encouraging critical reflection on key citizenship and PSHE topics
> neutral and impartial materials, always focused on the central point – acting with humanity
> a discussion forum and video competition for students.
Announcing the launch today (Wednesday 28 July 2010), Nadia Robinson in the British Red Cross education team said:
“These short and engaging videos and thought-provoking questions and are designed for secondary school students to work through in any order. The intriguing topic of robots allows them to explore aspects of international humanitarian law as well as how people experience modern warfare.”
Nadia added that, “We are grateful to the Bonita Trust for funding the development of this innovative resource and workspace.”
The philanthropic organisation, Bonita Trust has provided a £50,000 grant to the British Red Cross for the development of the interactive online resources.
Speaking on behalf of Bonita’s International Advisory Board, Ruth Parasol DeLeon said: “The Bonita Trust is pleased to support the British Red Cross by granting funding that has enabled the Red Cross to develop a user-driven online educational facility, which provides self-contained, lively and engaging resources in response to topical global events. This will provide more young people in the UK with an insight into humanitarian issues, deepening their understanding, and building their skills to enable them to become active humanitarian citizens.”
The British Red Cross currently offers downloadable lesson plans and teaching materials for citizenship teachers on its website www.redcross.org.uk/education. Last year, there were over 30,000 downloads of the resources.
For more information on the British Red Cross online humanitarian education resources, please visit www.redcross.org.uk/education
Notes to editors
- For press enquires, images or to arrange an interview, please contact Henry Makiwa on 02078777479 / HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk
- View the videos here: redcross.org.uk/robotsinwar
- The Bonita Trust is an independent charitable organisation committed to the advancement of new technologies and internet-based solutions to address health and education challenges on a global basis. For more information, visit www.bonitatrust.org
- The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.