Dr. Susan Fuhrman, President of Teachers College,
Distinguished Faculty members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am happy to be here at this year Conference across Cultures focusing on youth media.
The UNAOC is committed to facilitate the participation of youth with their visions and opinions in the political process. Several of the UNAOC’s initiatives channel this commitment, just to mention a few, the Youth Solidarity Fund, the UNAOC Summer School, and PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival, the Fellowship Program, and the Intercultural Innovation Award are examples of the concrete ways on how the UNAOC supports youth participation.
The UNAOC is also committed to supporting the distribution and outreach of youth media, of media messages where youth represent themselves, creatively proposing other narratives to the main media discourse. We think that this is fundamental for the development of more peaceful, more inclusive societies; counterbalancing the forces that aggravate polarization and confrontation. We believe that this is also part of the strategic, global, and peaceful sustainable development process.
Within this context, the UNAOC has developed an on-line resource website focusing on Media and Information Literacy facilitating access to information on media education and relevant youth media initiatives. This website is developed in partnership with UNESCO.
In addition, recognizing youth as powerful agents of social change in a world often characterized by intolerance, and cultural and religious divisions, the UNAOC – in partnership with International Organization for Migration (IOM) has developed PLURAL+, a youth video festival focusing on migration, diversity and social inclusion. Since its creation in 2009, over 700 videos, from over 90 countries, have participated in PLURAL+. Each year an International Jury and PLURAL+ partners select videos for awards providing them with prizes and professional opportunities. PLURAL+ is another way in which the UNAOC empowers youth to represent themselves, to have their voices heard. This year the PLURAL+ awards ceremony is scheduled at the Paley Center for Media here in New York City on December 5th, you are all invited.
It is an honor and a great opportunity for the UNAOC to partner with Teachers College at Columbia University in this conference, and we are looking forward to continue this partnership.
I would like to extend my thanks to Professor Judith Burton and all the Faculty of the Teachers College for supporting the organization of this Conference.
I wish you successful “Conversations Across Cultures.”