REMARKS OF H.E. MR. NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER
High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
At the UNAOC and UNAI event
“Media and Information Literacy: Educational Strategies for the Prevention of Violent Extremism”
February 10, 2017, Conference Room 6, UN Headquarters
Your Excellency Ms. Cristina Gallach,
Under Secretary General for Communications & Public Information,
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to welcome you all and thank you for joining us here today. We are very pleased with our collaboration with the Academic Impact in co-organizing this event.
Since its inception, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has — as stated in the High Level Group Report of 2006 — paid particular attention to Media Literacy. The Alliance recognizes the key role that Media Literacy can play in preventing xenophobia, racism, hate speech, and the violent expressions of polarizing narratives. The Alliance advocates for the inclusion of Media Literacy in the school curricula and actively supports the efforts made by another UN partner organization such as UNESCO towards that end.
Today’s presentations will center on the role that Media Literacy can play in the Prevention of Violent Extremism. Often, when discussing Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), the development of critical thinking skills in individuals, particularly in youth, and the need for Media Literacy initiatives across society, are mentioned as key factors for addressing and counterbalancing the devastating effects that Violent Extremist Propaganda has in the minds of too many of our youth.
Because of this, we decided to organize today’s meeting and jointly explore how can Media Literacy help us, as international community, to tackle these challenges. To that effect, we joined forces with the United Nations Academic Impact, invited international experts and provided a setting for today’s discussion.
If there was ever a need to seriously consider Media Literacy Education as a fundamental building bloc for the development of more inclusive and democratic societies, we recognize that now. Indeed, the urgency of these considerations have only increased enormously. What information, what emotions, what concerns, are pulling thousands of young people to join ISIS and similar extremist and violent groups? How have we failed them? What was missing in their education, and in their communities? Today’s presentations will address some of these topics.
We are grateful and pleased that the distinguished panelists have agreed to join us in today’s discussion. We would also like to particularly thank the government of Spain who supported the Alliance in organizing a series of teacher training Media Literacy Education workshops in Morocco and Egypt . It has also provided additional funding for the publication of the book “Opportunities for Media and Information in the Middle East and North Africa”. We invite you to take the book with you and share with your colleagues. I promise you, it is a good read.
We hope that today’s presentations will leave you with a better understanding of what is Media Literacy and how it can contribute to the prevention of violent extremism.