I have an avid interest in current affairs and a worrying addiction to BBC World News and Al Jazeera, checking them almost as often as my Facebook. So Fredrico Mayor Zaragoza’s (former Deputy Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) thoughts on media left a lasting impression on me. Mr. Zaragoza called on us to reevaluate the news we would traditionally consider as concrete. He reminded us that much of the international media power is in the hands of very few. Leaving what we learn about the world in the hands of a few got me thinking about who determines what is news-worthy or not? For example, why is so much interest garnered for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and less so on the equally complex Kashmir conflict?
Mr. Zaragoza made the fascinating point that the news only relates the extraordinary and we are left with a void of information and knowledge on the ordinary. And it is only through knowing about the ordinary world in which we live are we able to impact and hopefully change our not so perfect world. One way of learning about the ordinary in the world is undoubtedly through civic engagement. In universities and colleges we learn academically about our world but through community initiatives like the ones we witnessed today receiving the Mac Jannett Prize, do we learn how to apply our knowledge practically.
The application of knowledge was a key theme of John Fallon’s speech. While he made several insightful points the one that grabbed my attention was the need for the need for ‘thinkers that can do and doers that can think’. This of course, is the only way out of the ‘Ivory Tower’. Our student communications team has been asked to consider the next step for the Tallloires Network and I think one step in this movement is the bringing together of intelligent, academic minds with those who have the creativity and foresight to see these civic engagement through.
And that’s all for now folks!