Israel’s Peres Sets World Record Teaching Online Civics Class to 9,000 Students
Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday helped create a new world record when he delivered an online civics class to a group of more than 9,000 high school students across Israel.
The class, delivered from Cisco Systems headquarters via its Telepresence technology, broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest Online Civics Class. On Wednesday, Peres’s office said it hoped to break the standing record of 5,000 students by reaching 6,500 participants, but he exceeded the goal.
In a joint statement, Guinness World Records Senior Vice President Marco Frigatti, who came to Israel to vet the record attempt, said, “We immediately liked this new record idea for three reasons.”
“First, because talking about civics and talking about democracy is relevant for everybody in the world and the contribution we make is so important a topic for the young generation. The second important aspect was that we had a special feature, a person who has seen the country from its origins to today and who better to speak to the students. The third part was about the technology, a web based solution that can be used within education to keep everyone connected and informed.”
Frigatti also told Peres, “I have an interesting surprise because you’re holding two records; not only have you taught a wonderful civics lesson but you’re also the oldest head of state in the world.”
Peres added, “This record should really be for all the students who participated, they created this record. We have to spread education; this is about encouragement of that goal. The more that can participate in these sorts of lessons the better. What we have to do is invest at least as much in education as we have in entertainment and make it approachable to all pupils.”
He smiled and then said, “About the second record, I suggest people start earlier and not to wait until my age.”
At the beginning of the class, Cisco Systems Israel CEO Boaz Maoz said, “Cisco Israel, at the initiative of its Chairperson and CEO Mr. John Chambers, has been working closely with the Israeli government over the past year and a half in the fields of education, healthcare, infrastructure, communications and cyber. The cooperation is aimed at transforming Israel into the world’s first digitized country. The initiative aims to boost economic growth and reduce inequality gaps using technology and communication.”
Speaking to the students, Peres said, “I’m excited to see you all this morning and to be your teacher – I’m also jealous that you are all still pupils. Israel is a small country and as young people you are in competition with young people all over the world, you have to excel. Each of you has more potential than you realize. If you study you will soon learn your qualities and that you can achieve things you never thought possible. As citizens of Israel the most important thing is to preserve your values – it is easier to love the other than to hate.”