Building peace in the minds of men and women

Transformative initiatives celebrated at the Global Media and Information Literacy Awards 2019

25 September 2019

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Jelena Perovic, receiving the award on behalf of UNICEF Montenegro
© UNESCO

Gothenburg, Sweden, is the home of the UNESCO-led Global Alliance for Partnership on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) from 24-27 September 2019. This UNESCO-led network, presented the fourth edition of the Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Awards at the Global MIL Week Feature Conference.

The GAPMIL network unanimously recognized six recipients for their groundbreaking contributions to promoting MIL for all. The awardees range from NGO’s, development organizations, to individual efforts. In no particular order, they are UNICEF Montenegro, the scientific journal Revista Comunicar (Spain), Prof. Alexander V. Fedorov (Russia), Mr Frank Baker (USA), the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA) and the free news literacy project NewsWise (UK).

More on the Awardees

UNICEF Montenegro: UNICEF and Montenegro Agency for Electronic Media launched a national MIL campaign in February 2018. Based on the first nationally representative survey about media consumption, it has been conducted among children aged 9-17 and among their parents. UNICEF Montenegro has been continuously raising awareness of Montenegrin citizens about MIL. The campaign "Let's Choose What We Watch" is based on civic engagement of young people in the role of UNICEF volunteers - young reporters who become the "opinion-leaders" on this topic of their peers, families and local communities. One in every two Montenegrin is aware of this initiative. The campaign has gained wide national media attention, but it has also been recognized internationally.

“Our message is clear, we must equip every child with MIL,” said Jelena Perovic, Communication Officer, in receiving the award on behalf of UNICEF Montenegro.

Revista Comunicar: Founded by Dr Ignacio Aguaded, Revista Comunicar (Comunicar) has been within the 10 top scientific publications in the world in the fields of Education, Communication and Cultural Studies. This leading scientific publication devoted completely to media education, covers all the topics within MIL and giving a voice to the Spanish-Speaking scientific community through a bilingual journal that presents works in Spanish and English and strives to continue to be a referent as an international MIL related scientific publication. Dr. Aguaded is one of the fathers of Educommunication as a field of study.

Daniela Jaramillo-Dent, Researcher, Comunicar, noted that the team was honoured to receive this award and that MIL related research is never more important than today to provide evidence of how people respond to MIL.

Frank Baker, has taken the MIL related message to schools in the US, as well as in Singapore, Mumbai, India and Nairobi Kenya from more than twenty years. Creator of the Media Literacy Clearinghouse website resource (since 1998) for educators to understand the importance of young people applying critical thinking to media messages. His tremendous work has been recognized by the National Cable TV Associations (Leaders in Learning Award), the National Telemedia Council, as well as the South Carolina Council for Social Studies (Lifetime Achievement Award).

Prof. Dr. Alexander Victorovich Fedorov is one of the most influential professor and researcher in Russia in the field of MIL (20 books on media education and media literacy and more than 400 articles in Russian, English, Canadian, French, German, and Norwegian media studies and media literacy journals). He is also a scientist, teacher, media education specialist and film critic. He won the International Media Research Competition of the National Association of Media Researchers (NAMMI) (NAMMI-2018).

The Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA) is a youth-oriented organization established since 1999. The organization seeks to activate and empower young Palestinians both young men and women, and equip them with the necessary skills and tools that would enable them to address their issues, needs and rights. PYALARA has adopted a comprehensive intervention package whereby all social sectors were targeted. The Ministry of Education has partially integrated items from the MIL Handbook developed by PYALARA into the curricula and other Arab countries are looking into their work to reproduce the MIL experience.

In receiving the award on behalf of PYALARA, Alexandra Bianquini do Amaral, a GAPMIL youth representative, noted that PYALARA said for them, “MIL is a way of life.”

NewsWise is the first UK-wide, free news literacy project for 9-11-year-olds. The programme offers age-appropriate resources, relevant real-life contexts and news stories boosting children’s confidence and understanding and skills in news literacy. NewsWise publish open access evaluation data and free school resources and regularly advocate for MIL education in both UK and international debates. They are also developing and testing a successful pedagogical model, demonstrating how MIL can be embedded in the primary curriculum linking to critical literacy, wellbeing, relationships, and digital literacy.

Alongside the GAPMIL MIL Global MIL Awards, the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO recognized another stalwart of MIL, Ulla Carlsson. Ulla was awarded the SVENSKA UNESCOPRISET (Swedish UNESCO Prize). Ulla Carlsson has been involved in MIL related work from the 70’s. She was the architect behind the International Media and Children Clearinghouse, has edited scores of books and written numerous articles on MIL related topics. MIL can help to liberate people’s minds. As Ulla puts in her keynote speech at the Feature Conference Opening session, “Liberation once and for all.” “Citizens are struggling to bring about internet that is open, free, and safe,” she continued. MIL is one answer in this quest.

UNESCO and partners set-up GAPMIL in 2013 as a network of networks that promotes international cooperation to ensure that all citizens have access to MIL competencies. It currently has over 500 member organizations (including other networks) from over 110 countries. You can join GAPMIL here. For more information, please contact Alton Grizzle, a.grizzle@unesco.org or Xiaotong Wang, x.wang2@unesco.org.