top of page

Look Beyond Borders

This video, Look Beyond Borders, is based on a theory developed by psychologist Arthur Aron in 1997, that four minutes of uninterrupted eye contact increases intimacy.

Amnesty International Poland and Polish ad agency DDB&Tribal applied the method to the refugee crisis, asking refugees from Syria and Somalia who have been in Europe for less than a year and people from the UK, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Poland to literally look into each other’s eyes.

The video, filmed in a warehouse near Berlin’s Cold War-era crossing Checkpoint Charlie last month, shows natural, spontaneous reactions between people meeting for the first time, with overwhelmingly positive results.

When talking about the problem of refugees, we use dehumanised language, which reduces human tragedy to numbers and statistics. But this suffering concerns real people, who – just like us - have families, loved ones, friends; their own stories, dreams, goals... Only when you sit down opposite a specific person and look into their eyes, you no longer see an anonymous refugee, one of the migrants, and notice the human before you, just like yourself – loving, suffering, dreaming...

Draginja Nadażdin, Director of Amnesty International Poland, said:

“It takes a heart of stone to watch this video without shedding a tear. Today, when the world appears rife with division and conflict, it is always worthwhile to look at everything from another person’s perspective. “Too often, what gets lost in the numbers and headlines is the suffering of actual people, who, like us, have families, friends, their own stories, dreams and goals. What if we stopped for just a moment and looked at who they really are? “Borders exist between countries, not people. And it is imperative that our governments start putting people before borders and their own short-term political gain.”

Hanna Waśko, from ad agency Big Picture which is helping with distribution of the video, said:

“We conducted the experiment in Berlin because the city symbolises the overcoming of divisions. In that sense, the most important thing is to give people time to understand each other better and get to know one another.” 


bottom of page