Building peace in the minds of men and women

Journeying in the world of games with media and information literacy

16 November 2019

Game is an important part of citizens’ social activities. We learn and interact with others through play. Technological growth has transformed traditional games and educational games. Today, people, especially youth, spend a significant amount of time playing digital games. Their learning experience through games can be significantly enhanced through media and information literacy, which enables them to reflect critically on their gaming experiences.

UNESCO, the Governments of Finland, India, and UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace co-organized a Ministerial Roundtable, entitled “Media and Information Literacy and Games in the Digital World.” This knowledge dialogue was held on 14 November at UNESCO Headquarters as a side-event during the 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference.

Mr Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, facilitated this Ministerial Roundtable. Three new resources were launched during this event:

The new resources launched were welcomed as important platforms for MIL and games policy dialogue and formulation.

Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Xing Qu, opened the event with a brief review UNESCO’s continuous action in the field of media and information literacy – from the Grünwald Conference in 1982 to September 2019, which saw the update of our media and information literacy curriculum for teachers. “With the massive information flows and the rapid expanding of the game-based learning global market, UNESCO will stand with Member States to ensure that our initiatives in the field of media and information literacy bear fruit.” Mr Qu said.


L-R: Mr Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO; Ms Estrella Luna Muñoz, Youth Representative from Forum of MIL in Latin America and the Caribbean ©UNESCO

Her Excellency Ms Li Andersson, Minister of Education of Finland, stressed on the importance of media and information literacy in helping citizens to navigate in an increasingly technological and information-rich world. She highlighted, “MIL is a key tool to combat hate speech, disinformation and misinformation and helps us to digest, critically analyze, and build on scientific evidence. It also helps in recognizing and challenging the narratives of violent extremists.”

His Excellency Mr Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal, Honorable Union Minister of Human Resource Development of India, said that games enable us to harness the power of digital technologies and integrate excellent educational principles with digital pedagogy, as well as build citizen’s social and emotional capacities to counter antisocial behavior, anxiety, and depression.  He continued, “Today it is absolutely necessary that we create digital learning solutions… For this, it is very important that all the learners be proficient in social and emotional skills in addition to 21st  Century Skills.”

Her Excellency Ms Tamara Rastovac Siamashvili, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Serbia to UNESCO, held “In times when we all aspire to empower citizens to respond to social, economic and environmental challenges and actively participate in our societies, media and information literacy becomes literacy for life.” She said that Serbia’s appreciation of UNESCO’s cooperation with the country and UNESCO’s leadership in promoting media and information literacy. The Republic of Serbia is proud to have been instrumental in the preparation of the Belgrade Recommendations on Draft Global Standards for Media and Information Literacy Curricula Guidelines.

Mr Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Finland and the Government of India for their support for this event. He stated that this topic is critical for our global conversation on truth-seeking, countering hate and radicalization toward violent extremism online, and the role of education and games in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 


R-L, seated on the panel and at the podium:  His Excellency Mr Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal, Honorable Union Minister of Human Resource Development of India; Mr Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO; Her Excellency Ms Li Andersson, Minister of Education of Finland; Ms Jane Lee, Senior Direct of Operations and Mental Health from Ithrive Games; Mr Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information. ©Arnaud Olszak

Her Excellency Ms Anna Ekström, Sweden’s Minister for Education, pointed out that “In order to be in employment, to engage in higher education, and to be an active citizen, media and information literacy is necessary. To be able to see the differences between facts and opinions, between statements based on evidence and rumours, is vital.”

Ms Jane Lee, Senior Direct of Operations and Mental Health from Ithrive Games said that game is an important complement of school education, because of its ability to address the unique needs of the teen brains. Therefore, media and information literacy is crucial for gaming industry in sharing information to dispel rumors or force the flow of information, evaluating the information given and understanding its value, and preventing the spread of disinformation.

Ms Estrella Luna Muñoz, Youth Representative from Forum of MIL in Latin America and the Caribbean, gave a youth perspective, she said, “There is no knowledge without learning.  MIL and games in the process of interaction, interpretation of meanings, and the action on the environment will together lead to the empowerment of youth through technological resources.” She noted that games, as an ideal alternative knowledge strategy, can encourage curiosity and experiment, and create spaces for the exchange of knowledge, dialogue, and experiences.  

About 140 participants attended the Ministerial Roundtable. The entire session was streamed via Facebook Live with 2,000 views and 367 views on Twitter. Speakers shared their experience, expertise, and advocacy for media and information literacy and games through this interactive panel.


Ministerial Roundtable on Media and Information Literacy and Games in the Digital World at Room XII ©UNESCO

A Games Bar, which complements the Ministerial Roundtable, is taking place from 12 to 22 November 2019, at Hall Ségur of the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Various games from youth-led game companies, as well as the virtual tour of mock-up of MIL Cities and SDG-related games, are available are the Games Bar. It is co-organized and co-financed by UNESCO, Samsung, and MGIEP, in partnership with the Government of Finland, the Government of India, and Hatch.

Participants of the General Conference and the public are invited to immerse themselves and enjoy these games, to improve their skills to detect disinformation, counter gender stereotypes, protect their online privacy, know more about climate change, migration, and health information, and build empathy and compassion. See the UNESCO website here, for more on our Media and Information Literacy Actions. For additional information, contact Alton Grizzle (a.grizzle@unesco.org) or Xiaotong Wang (x.wang2@unesco.org).