Speech of Mr. Jordi TORRENT
Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
At the Inaugural Ceremony of the
First International Forum on Media and Information Literacy,
15-17 June, 2011
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear colleagues and friends,
First of all I would like to express our gratitude to the organizers of this forum, in particular Dr. Abdelhamid Nfissi and Dr. Drissia Chouit from the
Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University of Fez, and to Vladimir Gai and Alton Grizzle from UNESCO, to the Arab Bureau of Education of the Gulf States, ISESCO and all the other organizers. Thank you for all the hard work and support in organizing the First International
Forum on Media and Information Literacy.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is a special
project of the Secretary General of the United Nations, focusing on four main areas: migration, education, media and youth. Developing synergies and building bridges with multiple partners towards a more peaceful and creatively multi-cultural world. Media
is the main source for our understating of ourselves and others. Media representations are the platform where we build our social representations. The need for Media and Information Literacy (MIL) has become a social need, as well as a human right. MIL provides
critical thinking skills, encourages emotional distance from media messages, and encourages ethical values in media as tools for the development of knowledgeable, intelligent, multi-cultural dialogue among individuals of all cultures, races and creeds.
In today’s world, MIL is a fundamental tool for the development of democratic systems where all individuals,
of any religion or culture, have the right to participate politically and creatively. We think that it is now more important than ever to ensure that MIL finds its place in the educational systems and society in general, particularly given the extraordinary
force of social media, as we have recently seen in this region. Because while only about 1/5 of humans have access to the Internet, the 5/6 of humanity have access to mobile telephone systems. Media representations are today more powerful than ever.
In this Forum we are also launching the UNESCO UNITWIN UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy
and Intercultural Dialogue (UAC-MILID). We believe that UAC-MILID will develop into a major resource for the normalization, development, and research of MIL as a platform for dialogue and mutual understanding.
I would like to thank all the participants for their presence and contributions to what I am sure will be a very influential Forum. The UNAOC is at your
service for the development of all the creative outputs of the Forum. Thank you!
Media and Information Literacy initiatives