University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue launched by UNESCO and UNAOC
UNESCO and the United Nation Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), with a deep commitment to promote media and information literate societies on a global scale, have launched the first international University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID).
Underpinning the Network is the need to give impetus to research that can inform policies on MIL and Intercultural Dialogue. To this end, the focus will be on maximizing the contributions of its members at both policy and operational levels. The UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID will seek to ensure that the collective knowledge and expertise are not only shared, but are also reflected in the elaboration of strategic projects at national, regional and international levels.
The activities to be carried out by the UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID are summarized under the following broad areas:
- Research: in addition to research actions mentioned above, act as an Observatory for the critical assessment of the role of MILID, contribute to the development of the joint UNESCO/UNAOC International Clearinghouse on MIL and preparation of related publications;
- MILID and Education: help to diffuse MILID at all levels of the formal education system and to advocate for the same in related media production practices; this will include partnerships to adapt and pilot the recently published Media and Information Literacy Curriculum for Teachers;
- Participation: promote actions aimed at encouraging citizen participation and at involving different stakeholders, such as community-based MIL projects and youth-media initiatives.
The University Network will include in its initial phase eight universities: Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), University of the West Indies (Jamaica), Cairo University (Egypt), University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), Temple University (USA), Beijing Tsinghua University (China), Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University (Morocco) and Queensland University of Technology (Australia). Each year the universities will be assigned alternatively a chairing or co-chairing role on a rotational basis.
The UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID Network was set-up within the framework of the UNESCO University Twinning and Networking programme (UNITWIN), which serves as a platform for building the capacities of higher education and research, and for facilitating the integration between academic world, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making.
The launch of the initiative took place during the First International Forum on Media and Information Literacy, held from 15 to 17 June 2011 in Fez, Morocco. The Fez Declaration of MIL, an outcome of the Forum, provides a set of recommendations to ensure the effective impact of the strategies, including the enlargement of the UNESCO/UNAOC-MILID Network. There are already several universities who expressed their interest to join. Therefore a gradual expansion of the Network is envisaged.
The setting up of the University Network on MIL and Intercultural Dialogue represents one component of a comprehensive strategy to foster media and information literate societies. Other actions include the facilitation of international cooperation, preparation of a Global Framework on MIL Indicators, development of Guidelines for Preparing National MIL Policies and Strategies, and establishment of an International Clearinghouse on MIL in cooperation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
The University Network initiative is part of UNESCO’s overarching strategy to sustain the development of knowledge societies, and free independent and pluralistic media and information providers.