Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Fez Declaration on Media and Information Literacy

Back on June 15, The View from Fez reported that Fez was to host an international conference ~ 'women and new media in the Mediterranean'. Well, the conference has been held and after a period of time for reflection has posted its initiatives. Happily, we can report on some very positive outcomes.

The First International Forum on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) was organized through partnership among UNESCO, the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University (Morocco), the Islamic Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), the Arab Bureau of Education for the Golf States (ABEGS) and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and other partners. It was held from 15 to 17 June 2011 in Fez, Morocco, under the auspices of His Majesty King Mohammed the Sixth.

This Forum was the first of its kind at the international level to examine media and information literacy as a combined set of competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes). Issues relating to importance of media, Internet and other information providers and their impact on learning, cultures and public opinion, as well as the empowering effect of MIL practices and global Internet governance were among the main topics discussed at the Forum.

Over 200 participants representing all regions of the world, including educators, information and media experts, civil society actors and social scientists, gathered to discuss MIL and share experience and knowledge.

The Fez Declaration, fully endorses the far-reaching vision that today’s digital age and convergence of communication technologies necessitate the combination of media literacy and information literacy in order to achieve sustainable human development, build participatory civic societies, and contribute to the consolidation of sustainable world peace, freedom, democracy, good governance and the fostering of constructive intercultural knowledge, dialogue and mutual understanding.

They call on all stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to initiatives relating to MIL.

In connection with this event, the MIL Curriculum for Teachers launched at the Forum was translated into Arabic and French, and the Arab Region’s Consultation on Adaptation of the Curriculum was organized. Participating countries from the region included Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Morocco. A plan of action is being consolidated for piloting of the MIL Curriculum in teacher training institutions in Morocco, Lebanon and Oman. Discussion is on-going with other countries in the region.

In addition, the first International University Network on MIL and Intercultural Dialogue was launched through a partnership with the United Nations Alliance of Civilization. This will facilitate follow-up on the recommendations of the Forum and particularly the Fez Declaration on Media and Information Literacy. The Network on MIL and Intercultural Dialogue includes universities from Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Italy, Jamaica, Morocco and Spain.

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