Insights: Conference on Children and Youth Day One

A first attempt at gleaning some of the insights shared this first morning of the conference on Children and Youth in an Interconnected World, full of presentations from a broad range of distinguished speakers, all talking about the role of children and youth in this fast-changing world.

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Globalization 2.0: Children and Youth in an Interconnected World.

Professor Marcelo Suarez-Orozco from the University of California, Los Angeles, brought up many interesting statistics as how migration is the human face of globalization as we know it now. Many cities are moving towards superdiversity hubs, where immigrants become the majority. In many places two-thirds of the children in the classroom are from immigrant backgrounds. It is the value of family that drives migration. But how might one use this challenge as an opportunity? Education is the key, making use of the multilinguistic capacities and the often missed ability of this diverse group of children to learn and reflect on their learning.

Media and the construction of childhood

The talk by Professor Dafna Lemish from Southern Illinois University was about children and how media is a presentation focusing on the role of media in the construction of childhood. How do children perceive the world around them, how do they internalize the messages they receive through the media? Which images are returning over and over, how do they demonstrate their desire for peace? What is the role of media during war and what approach is taken with regard to children? How might we keep them occupied and  safe at home? How can one tell the truth without saying too much? Do we protect them by sheltering them or by informing them? What should they see? How is inequality projected through media productions? There is much critique, but less advise for how to approach these dilemmas. Our understanding of what children are is the foundation to which we return: are children becoming adults, or can we approach children as beings themselves? “Children should be presented as having more similarities than differences.” Professor Lemish quoted one television producer who mentioned that if politicians cannot bring peace about, “children will do it.” Their dreams and aspirations are similar. And media can have a very positive role by supporting this in a socially conscious way.

Read more about this conference here, organised by the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace taking place at the University of Maryland, 28-29 September 2016.

Photo Credit: IFRC via Compfight cc.

About the author

Nicole des Bouvrie_n_ is a continental philosopher and a visiting scholar during autumn 2016 at the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace. She works as a freelance philosopher all around the world, applying structures of thought to practical problems. She is interested in radical change and feminine thinking.
For more information about Nicole: personal website, Twitter.

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