About Us

The Antiochia sim in SecondLife is the initiative of the Antiochia Scholarships Trust, a Canadian non-profit organisation whose aim it is to assist young people from the Greater Middle East belonging to socio-cultural minorities or otherwise in need of assistance to pursue their post-secondary studies at Canadian universities. AST's job is to bring together all stakeholders in the education environment - students, universities, educators, sponsors, governments - to make their dream come true.

Our scholars live in many countries throughout the Middle East and do not have an opportunity to interact face to face before they arrive in Canada. Even after their arrival, they live in different cities and study at different universities. However, they have common needs, both before and after their arrival in North America. Therefore, we felt the need to bring them together as a community and assist them in acquiring the English language skills, requisite information and skills to allow them to choose and apply for the universities and programs of their choice, and develop he time-management and leadership skills necessary for them to hit the ground running when they arrive here. 

No virtual environment offers the visual intensity of social interaction and the availability of a multitude of communication tools to individuals spread out around the world, than does SecondLife (SL). No other medium can offer the ability to re-create a physical place in the space and time of one’s choice and transform it into a place designed, managed and owned by its members, who end up developing affective and emotional ties towards it similar to those they have towards their real home environments. This ability to engage in stimulating social interaction in a rich multi-media 3D environment motivates all participants to invest extra time and effort into the project and to return again and again to what has become their “virtual home”.

Participants become not simply students, but content creators and educators in their own right, and improve their communication and social skills in a very diverse, multicultural environment. This provides them with excellent preparation for their arrival in Canada, and helps cement a spirit of community and solidarity and sharing of ideas between individuals before they even meet in real life. On other levels, SL provides AST with the opportunity to interact with and develop synergies with other educational and cultural projects, and of course to engage in fund-raising activities in support of its students.

As beautiful and attractive as Antiochia’s virtual environment is, the core of our project is made up of the many people who devote their time, energies, and skills in making it come to life – both in Second Life and, especially, in real life, where we aim to help real young people pursue their actual dream to further their education and bring peace, prosperity, and participative governance back to their homes and communities. We have connected and developed here synergies with other educational and cultural organizations who share our vision and aims, and plan to expand Antiochia in SecondLife to a multiple-sim “micro-nation”, drawing on the various cultural and educational layers already in place now in Antiochia. Building a real, vibrant community in both the real and virtual worlds will be an ongoing, daily task of communication, persuasion, and cooperation that is just beginning for us...