The First International Forum on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) was organized through partnership among UNESCO, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University (Morocco), Islamic Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States (ABEGS) and United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and other partners.
It was held from June 15 -17, 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. In the Fez Declaration, the participants of the Forum “fully endorse 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.
UNESCO’s global action to promote media and information literate societies has at its basis the development of knowledge societies and free independent and pluralistic media and information providers. The Organization’s strategy includes: integration of MIL into all levels of education systems, particularly through the adaptation the MIL Curriculum for Teachers; setting up of the MIL University Network; facilitation of international cooperation; preparation of a Global Framework on MIL Indicators; development of Guidelines for Preparing National MIL Policies and Strategies; and establishment of an International Clearinghouse on MIL in cooperation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.