Building peace in the minds of men and women

Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue Week 2014 concludes in Asia

Experiences on how media and information literate citizenries foster inter-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding were discussed during the third Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) Week, which concluded in Beijing, China, on 28 September 2014.

For the first time in Asia, the culminating event of the MILID Week was hosted by the Tsinghua University in Beijing, co-organized by the Tsinghua International Center of Communication (TICC) together with the UNESCO-UNAOC MILID International University Network.

Attended by over one hundred and fifty scholars, educators and participants from more than twenty countries, the Conference was opened by Prof. Liu Binjie, Dean of the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication, and Andrea Cairola, Adviser for Communication and Information, who represented the UNESCO Beijing Office.

The 2014 MILID Week was kicked off on Tuesday 23 September with an International Symposium hosted by the Hosei University in Tokyo, Japan. In her opening remarks, Yuko Tanaka, President of Hosei University called for media and information literacy in pursuit of sustainable development. Over 76 participants (46 men and 30 women) gathered, debated and made recommendations on how to increase awareness of media and information literacy in Japan and Asia-Pacific.

During the MILID Week Conference in Beijing, scholars and educators assessed results in piloting MIL locally and regionally, for instance in Europe, North America and Brazil, as well as in the Southern China city of Guangzhou. A specific session was devoted to MIL in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

“Intercultural dialogue practice using video letters between China and Japan” was presented by Prof. Jun Sakamoto, while scholars from the Minzu University of China, introduced studies about media literacy among ethnic minorities in China, as well as impact on pastoral communities.

While moderating the session about Formulating National MIL Policies and Strategies, Alton Grizzle, Programme Specialist coordinating UNESCO's work on MIL, summarized the spirit of the discussion noting how there is general consensus that “media and information literacy for all is a necessity in the 21st century”. However, this will not happen without national media and information policies and strategies. He further underscored that “there is no choice between basic literacy and media and information literacy: both are needed, as media and information literacy is literacy”.

In concluding the MILID Week marathon, Prof. Li Xiguang, Director of TICC and President of the Conference Organizing Committee, informed the participants that the opening ceremony enjoyed a wide coverage among Chinese online media.

This year's edition of the MILID Week also featured the launch the 2014 MILID Yearbook, the UNESCO-UNAOC Online Intercultural MIL Teaching Resource Tool and the Japanese translation of the MIL Curricula for Teachers, and invited MIL-related organizations and communities to join the Global Alliance on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL).

Prof. Sherry Hope from Temple University announced that MILID Week 2015 will be held next June in Philadelphia, USA, in conjunction with the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) Conference - focusing on the theme “Celebrating connectivity across cultures”.

The University of San Paolo, Brazil, will host the MILID Week 2016.