Universities as sisters of the search for truth: A media and information literacy, cultural dialogue and diversity response to COVID-19

Is Media and Information Literacy the tool for information verification, dialogue, and diversity around tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond? So do the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, and partner universities around the world think.

Universities as sisters of thinking and dialogue

Universities have historically been spaces of diverse knowledge creation. They stimulate freedom to think, to reason, to generate, to discuss, share and test new ideas and hypotheses. They are to be the bedrock of social development driven by research and evidence.

Sadly, the present ‘disinfodemic’ connected to the coronavirus crisis threatens to erode the trust in established institutions such as universities and the related tried and proven facts that they generate through empirical research.

The next generation of global thinkers and shapers of the development agenda will emanate from universities and other entrepreneurial enterprises as well as innovative learning spaces. Developmental actions should not only seek to empower people to protect their minds but to help the general public to understand the importance of research and evidence that support facts.

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted normal social interaction because of the necessity for social distancing. If left unchecked, it will also compromise global dialogue and cultural diversity.

UNESCO and its partners are implementing measures to promote human solidarity, cultural diversity, and constructive  dialogue. These are rooted in critical information verification, critical social discourses in the media and online environments, and purposeful engagement with technology.  A key strategy is the promotion of media and information literacy in universities and other learning spaces.

This is the “raison d’être” of the UNESCO-UNAOC UNITWIN Cooperation Programme on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID University Network).

As a response to the coronavirus crisis, the UNESCO-UNAOC MILID University Network will share its experience in research, dialogue, and diversity to unite people under the cause of discerning factual information from destructive discourses to promote human solidarity, and the fight against racial and other forms of discrimination through media and information literacy.

Key actions and ways to engage in the MILD COVID—19 Response

Click on this link to:

  • Access and share MIL, dialogue and cultural diversity related tools and material on the Resource Portal
  • Participate in the Series of webinars on MIL, dialogue, cultural diversity, and global citizenship
  • Participant in the Online Summer School Global Network
  • Contribute TED Talks style videos on the topic to let your voice be heard
  • Contribute to the crowdsourcing and dissemination of videos
  • Share and pursue various Massively Open Online Courses on the topics

For more information about how to partner with UNESCO on media and information literacy please contact, Alton Grizzle, a.grizzle@unesco.org(link sends e-mail).

To contact and explore cooperation with member universities of the UNESCO-UNAOC MILID University Network please see link here.

The UNESCO-UNAOC MILID University Network was launched in 2011. It is part of the UNESCO UNITWIN programme which stimulate international cooperation and networking among universities for collaborative, intercultural, and diverse knowledge development and sharing around various development topics and issues.

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