Media and Information Literacy in Function of Development of Critical Thinking and Public Advocacy of the Youth

A team of experts from the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade, tailor-made an online workshop titled, “Media and Information Literacy in Function of Development of Critical Thinking and Public Advocacy of the Youth”, for 43 students from the Universities of Novi Sad, Nis and Belgrade. The event aimed to empower and enhance peacebuilding capacities of students in public advocacy campaigning.
Winning team University of Nis, advocating for “Equal access” of disabled persons to public facilities

The workshop was structured around specific UNESCO methodologies (Media and Information Literacy MIL, World Heritage in Young Hands Kit, Learning to Live Together, Prevention of Violent Extremism PVE), developed through video lectures and supported with different online tools.

Its objectives were multiple, from enhancing the skills of participants in partaking constructively in dialogue and decision-making processes to improving skills of fighting stereotypes and nourishing acceptance of diversity, increasing expertise of public advocacy, critical thinking and participation in constructive public projects and dialogue in future and, gaining knowledge on how to use media for active contribution to positive transformation in their communities.

The students were inspired to influence positive change in their local communities, as a result of the training activities of the workshop. Grouping the students into small teams stirred up their creativity and created a platform for brainstorming different ideas. With the support and encouragement of skilled mentors, the students came up with unprecedented small-scale advocacy campaign ideas to implement effective positive change in their local communities.

Thus, involving young people not only through engagement but participation, is one of the essential building blocks in changing their local communities.

November 2020 marked the launch of two public advocacy campaigns:

  • “Donate, get degree” encouraging students to donate clothes for people in need, by students from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade;
  • “Equal access” advocating for improving access of disabled persons to public facilities, by students from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Nis.


Winning team University of Belgrade, “Donate, get degree” campaign

Impressive was the level of enthusiasm that students have shown for gaining knowledge about public advocacy and the creativity of the follow-up public campaigns that have developed.

“This makes me believe that young people are willing to collaborate, engage and actively participate in bringing positive changes in our communities, but they need to be motivated more by us”, underlined Project Manager and Assistant Professor Ana Milojevic, Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade. “The campaigns were ambitious and demonstrated that young people are ready to get involved with decision makers."

The project is realized within the joint UN Regional Programme "Dialogue for the Future: Promoting Dialogue and Social Cohesion in and Between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia" implemented by UNESCO, UNDP and UNICEF, with the support of the UN Peacebuilding Fund.