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The experience of playing Oscar Schindler in Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List” deepened my perception not only of the Holocaust, but of the importance of understanding the issues of intolerance and hatred. Being in the public eye has afforded me many opportunities to become involved with various organizations dedicated to teaching tolerance.

Journeys in Film is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching cross-cultural understanding, social studies, media and visual literacy and geography to middle school students through the use of quality foreign film.

Journeys chooses films that speak to adolescent students and impart a relevant message. Through the shared experience of film viewing, an increased awareness and appreciation of different cultures can be achieved, and from this new understanding and familiarity, compassion among school-aged children for their peers in other cultures may be born. That, I believe, is a worthy objective.

Through this educational initiative, we are encouraging a new generation of documentary, independent, and world cinema lovers. As most of us can remember, we identified with certain films we saw as children. Film had a definite effect during our formative years. Most teenagers today will have similar experiences. Journeys can help make those experiences better and the effects more positive by providing quality films and dedicated educational material.

If we are committed to the dream of world peace, we must first educate our children and teach them understanding and compassion for other people, races, and cultures. I can’t help but consider how wonderful it would be, if through our efforts at Journeys, we help change attitudes about people who are different from us.

I want to help make teaching through films an institution in our children’s education. Please share my vision of a more harmonious world where understanding and dialogue are key to a healthy and peaceful present and future. I encourage you to participate in the Journeys program either as a student, educator, film studio, or through financial support.