16.11.2016 - Communication & Information Sector

Awards at Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2016: The first rocks of a big avalanche


At the Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2016 Feature event in São Paulo, Brazil, three winners were recognized for their stela contribution to MIL diffusion. The Global MIL Awards winners for 2016 are Ms. Divina Frau-Meigs and Ms. Bérangère Blondeau, from France’s University of Sorbonne Nouvelle; Mr. Thomas Röhlinger, Founder and Editor in Chief of Radijojo World Children's Media Network from Germany and Child and Youth Media Institute from Thailand.

The Global MIL Awards is spearheaded by the UNESCO-initiated Global Alliance for Partnership on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL), the Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue University Network (MILID Network) with the support of UNESCO and UNAOC.

MIL moving in the right direction

The three awarded recipients were selected by a diverse Committee from among over 70 applications around the globe. The joint awardees, Ms. Divina Frau-Meigs and Ms. Bérangère Blondeau were hailed by UNESCO’s Alton Grizzle as being “academician, advocates and practitioners of MIL”. One example of this pair’s work is a DIY - Do It Yourself – MIL MOOC. It provides life-long teacher training in MIL, a field not taught at university though part of public policies in many countries. “We worked at creating a community of the MOOC and expanding it worldwide. It is question based and is always about producing an outcome. I think it is very characteristics of what I would like all the GAPMIL community to be. We have come a long way in MIL and moved from a very protectionist approach to more participatory and creative approach” concluded Ms. Frau-Meigs. UNESCO is promoting a proliferation of Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) on MIL to increase peoples access to MIL training, with versions in English and Arabic language.

“As the danger is increasing so is the salvation”

Mr. Röhlinger founded Radijojo World Children's Media Network in 2003 in Germany. Since then he has been working on empowering children using MIL for intercultural dialogue, peace, health, environmental education and North-South cooperation. Working on four continents, Radijojo has been creating an educative children media safe haven, free of commercial, religious, political propaganda or hate speech. “Recognitions help, they are a bit like a shield in difficult situations if you try to enter various countries to build trust and bridges. Sometimes doors are opened when it is communicated that UNESCO stands for MIL. Every time I go to Morocco I think to myself: we have trained 40 kids and another 20 educators, but how many of those who are really in touch with radical thoughts do we reach? We are seeing just the first rocks of the big avalanche on MIL. As one German philosopher has said it: If the danger is increasing, salvation is increasing as well. Let’s hope that GAPMIL is part of this and powerful enough” said Mr. Röhlinger.

Empowerment of communities in Thailand

The Child and Youth Media Institute (CYMI) in Thailand was founded in 2006, developing systems to create and disseminate positive media for the benefit of children, young people, families and society at large. The work of the Institute is embracing the government sector, media proprietors and producers, business and social sectors, communities, families, as well as children and young people. “We have been working for many years to support numerous communities to use and produce the media. We hope our work will help reduce conflict and violence in Thai society at both community and national level” said Mr. Athapol Anunthavorasakul, Director of the Thai Civic Education Center who collected the award on behalf of the organization.

Global MIL Week and General Assembly important for GAPMIL

This is the second annual MIL Award - last year awardees were Ms. Tessa Jolls, Director and CEO of Centre for Media Literacy and Mr. Jad Melki from the Digital Media Literacy Lab. This Global MIL Week has been a very important event for GAPMIL holding their first General Assembly, and bringing together members and stakeholders from all regions of the world. The Assembly also provided the opportunity to operationalize the sub-committees of GAPMIL, developing action plans to address certain specific themes: Advocacy, Capacity building and training, Policy and Practice, Youth and Research.  

“We are preparing a formal report as the outcome of the Global MIL Week based on recommendations of our GAPMIL members and from the regional chapters and thematic subcommittees” said Ms. Carolyn Wilson, Chair of the Interim International Steering Committee for GAPMIL.  She highlighted the common cause that has been uniting everyone, and that is media and information literacy for all. “And because of that common goal we have been able to work across regions, nations, institutions, to really strategize, collaborate, plan and to dream, a little bit, about what is possible and what we can do” Ms. Wilsons concluded. She thanked UNESCO for its vision and global leadership of MIL for all.

Global MIL Week 2016 was led by UNESCO in cooperation with General Assembly of the Global Alliance for Partnerships in Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL), UNAOC and the Media and Information and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) University Network.  The Global MIL Week 2016 Feature event was celebrated from 2-5 November 2016 in São Paulo, Brazil.

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