Over the past week, more than 100 Asia-Pacific youth passionate about making positive changes in their communities have been sharing their experiences and learning how to engage with media to further their efforts.
The young people were participating in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Youth Training on Media and Civic Participation, which ended today in Bali.
The youngsters selected for the training, which ran from 21-25 August, were chosen for their efforts to build a culture of peace in their communities.
The training offered a unique program, exploring issues such as freedom of expression and gender equality and mixing in these with practical skills-building sessions aimed at enabling participants to better engage with media.
Participant Hamsini Hariharan, a media graduate from India interested in international relations, said she was impressed by the training, particularly the diverse backgrounds of the youth and the work they are doing in their communities.
“The youth here are very involved in their own communities and this exposure to different cultures, people and ideas will go a long way,” she said. “These people who I have met are clearly the crème de la crème of their countries and it’s overwhelming to be around them.
“Simply by having conversation over coffee, we get know about politics and systems in counties in the Asia Pacific,” she added. “For example my roommate is from Timor Leste and I couldn’t pronounce the name of the country until I got here. But now I know the history of the country, important places … It’s pretty amazing. In addition to sharing their experiences, the youngsters also developed their media-related skills in both traditional and new media. In one exercise, the youngsters had their work critiqued by BBC professionals, while in another they were able to visit a real newsroom, The Bali Post, and get an up-close glimpse of the inner workings of a media outlet.
Trainings were also held on topics such as leadership, team building, freedom of expression, gender issues, and the media as a tool in peace building.
The youngsters also formulated action plans for development initiatives in their own communities. The action plans will be carried out once the youth return to their home countries, extending the reach of the training far beyond its five days.
Bali served as the backdrop from the training, giving participants a chance to sample some of the island’s rich culture and fun – a rafting trip was part of the recreational agenda of the training.
Having had the opportunity to learn and hone new media skills, Hamsini and more than 20 other participants will now have the opportunity to put these skills to work as part of a Youth Newsroom at the Global Media Forum, which begins tonight with a welcoming dinner.
The participants selected will be producing a daily bulletin on forum events with traditional reports along with multimedia and will also be sharing the goings-on as they happen on social media using the hashtag #media4future.
Please also visit www.bali-gmf.com
For further information please contact Mr Charaf Ahmimed, Programme Specialist for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO Jakarta Office at + 6281807777444 or email: c.ahmimed(at)unesco.org.
Photo 2: bali touriing by Imtiaz Ali