In 2008, the Center initiated a range of international civic engagement projects, including one that connected students in Afghanistan and Philadelphia. The resulting exhibition, Being “We the People”: Afghanistan, America, and the Minority Imprint, compellingly captures the sights and sounds of freedom, religious expression, protest, and other civic themes. The exhibition opened simultaneously in Kabul, at the National Museum of Afghanistan, and in Philadelphia, at the National Constitution Center, enabling visitors in each country to join a dialogue started by the students. Conceived by the multidisciplinary design studio Cheng+Snyder, the exhibits use interactive, touch-screen monitors which allow visitors in both countries to select photographic pairings and see their votes tallied live. Selecting pairs brings visitors into an exchange with their counterparts a world away, just as it did for the students.
The exchange continues in the online exhibition, where visitors not only respond to pairings, but add to them by uploading their own photographs.
This project was made possible by generous funding from Museums and Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA), a grant program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State in partnership with the American Association of Museums.