Education and media must build more international bridges

“Internationalism and acceptance of cultural diversity mean having citizens who are committed to what happens to the planet and who are aware of the global scope of its problems. Only a media-based public sphere that promotes and gives direction to people´s participation can foster this new type of citizenship. This requires profound reform in the organization of the current communication networks as well as in their flows,” says emeritus professor Tapio Varis. He was a speaker of the Intercultural Dialogue and Diversity Seminar: Focus on Media.

The event was hold on Tuesday 31st January 2012 at the University of Applied Sciences, Haaga-Helia in Helsinki to celebrate the UN´s World Interfaith Harmony Week.

Tapio Varis has served as UNESCO Chair in global e-learning with applications to multiple domains. “Treating communities and their children and young people as passive recipients of education has lead to alienation and to the feeling that education in its current format is irrelevant for people,” he says.

He points out that the education system, which until now has been extremely dependent on national policies, must build more international bridges and be based on cooperation between countries and people. Varis sees, that this will require a change of model. He thinks, that education programs must be the fruit of cooperation and communication between people. Present day technologies are starting to enable this and global media literacy can help us to achieve this.

Ambassador Ilari Rantakari spoke about the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the role of Media. TheologianHeidi Rautionmaa lectured about the term of community cohesion and the role of intercultural and interfaith dialogue to promote the sense of belonging andto find shared vision. Karrar Al-Hello gave a presentation about the case of Salam magazine and Resalat community in Finnish media. Päivi Käri-Zein, Lecturer of International Business was the moderator of the seminar. Lars Silén and Meri-Sofia Lakopoulos gave multicultural and religious music performances.

Emeritus professor Tapio Varis speaks for new humanism.

The seminar was organized by HAAGA-HELIA, Finnish Foreign Ministry and NGO called Living Together in Cities (Kaupunki yhteisönä ry.) that is a member of the Interfaith dialogue network in Finland.

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