Khalil sisters: Creating immersive VR experiences

"Our ultimate goal is for users to recognise that beneath the surface of religious diversity, there's a shared humanity with universal values like compassion, empathy, and kindness," says Dina Khalil

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Published: Mon 4 Sep 2023, 6:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 4 Sep 2023, 6:17 PM

In an era characterised by diversity and connectivity, harnessing technology to bridge gaps and foster understanding among different communities has become increasingly essential. Two visionary siblings, Dina Khalil and Maya Khalil, have embarked on an innovative journey that merges virtual reality and interfaith dialogue, resulting in an immersive VR experience that showcases the unity of humanity beyond religious boundaries. In this article, Dina Khalil discusses the inception, creation, and impact of their remarkable VR experience.

Through their project, Dina Khalil and Maya Khalil are proving that technology can serve as a bridge to connect hearts, minds, and cultures, and that unity is indeed achievable, regardless of religious beliefs.

Could you provide a brief overview of your VR project and its objectives?

Of course! Our VR experience is designed to offer users an engaging and enlightening journey into the world of interfaith unity. Through captivating storytelling and interactive elements, we strive to highlight how various religious beliefs address common societal issues, emphasising the underlying shared values that bind us all as humans.

How did the idea for this project come about?

The inspiration for this project came from our shared passion for technology, storytelling, and the belief that understanding and empathy can transcend religious differences. We recognised that while our world is beautifully diverse in terms of faith, culture, and traditions, there's a common thread of values that runs through all these different paths.

Can you walk us through the user experience of your VR project?

Certainly! In our VR experience, users find themselves seated at a virtual family gathering table. They observe the interactions and behaviours of the family members, each representing a different religious background. Afterwards, users participate in a multiple-choice survey that challenges them to make assumptions about the family members' religious affiliations based on their behaviours. This survey not only tests their assumptions but also reveals the shared values that cut across religious lines.

What has been the response to your VR experience so far?

The response has been truly heartwarming. Users have expressed how the experience opened their eyes to the commonalities among different faiths and dispelled misconceptions they may have had. We've had the privilege of witnessing meaningful discussions sparked by the experience, which is exactly what we hoped to achieve.

What do you hope users take away from your VR experience?

Our ultimate goal is for users to recognise that beneath the surface of religious diversity, there's a shared humanity with universal values like compassion, empathy, and kindness. We hope this experience encourages open-mindedness, meaningful conversations, and a greater appreciation for the richness of our collective human experience.

Any plans for the future? Will you be expanding on this project or exploring new avenues?

Absolutely! While we're immensely proud of the impact our current VR experience has had, we're always looking ahead. We're exploring ways to expand the project, possibly delving into more intricate aspects of religious practices and traditions. Additionally, we're intrigued by the potential of using immersive technology to tackle other societal issues that could benefit from greater understanding and empathy.

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