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UNAOC Launches Campaign for Diversity and Inclusion

UNITED NATIONS, May 17 2013 (IPS) - The UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) has launched its “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion” campaign in 2011 in partnership with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and more than a 100 corporate, civil society and governmental partners from around the world. The main objective of the campaign is to build awareness and public support for “Diversity and Inclusion”. It  also marks World Day for Diversity and Development on May 21.

People all around the world will be doing one thing to express their commitment to diversity and inclusion: sharing their experiences with family, friends and colleagues. The High-Representative for UNAOC Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the former president of the UN General Assembly,  is expected to express his firm commitment for  Diversity and Inclusion when he visits the New York city borough of the Bronx on May 21 at 3 PM. He will be at The Point (940 Garrison Avenue ) , the Saint Paul’s Lutheran church  and the Yankee Stadium to meet with leaders of local communities, in the field of sports, education and faith, and to express UN support for their work to promote diversity and inclusion.

The campaign will culminate in Baku, Azerbaijan  on May 29 on the sidelines of the Baku Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, which will take place with the participation of a number of ministers and government officials. Dozens of events in celebration of Diversity and Inclusion will take place around the world as well as a slogan contest and a video contest.

More information is available on the Facebook page “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion”.

Meanwhile, the UNAOC hosted a one-day seminar in Bern, Switzerland, around the topic “Covering Migration: Challenges Met and Unmet: a Look at Switzerland”. About 30 participants, mostly based in Switzerland, along with journalists, experts and civil society representatives working in the fields of media and migration attended the seminar.

Following a major high-level seminar held in Paris last January, the seminar in Switzerland, organized by the UNAOC in partnership with the Club Suisse de la Presse, was aimed at discussing  challenges and practices on how the media covers migration in Switzerland.

With the participation of some of the most recognized experts in migration– from International organizations such as the Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and the Panos Institute—along with academics, the seminar covered several issues, including the main challenges faced by media professionals, existing guidelines and how best these guidelines apply to the media coverage, migration and minority communities portrayed in the media, among others.

“The fear of ‘the other’ has long plagued discussions around migration, and migrants have increasingly become the target of racism and xenophobia. This is where the role of the media becomes essential, in dispelling myths and changing narratives around migrants. We have a shared responsibility and the UNAOC will remain engaged in the discourse around migration”, said the High-Representative for UNAOC Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

The seminar also provided journalists with backgrounders on migration, including facts, figures, trends, and projections. “If migration flows continue to grow at the current rate, the World Bank estimates that the number of international migrants could reach 405 million by 2050. Migration flows will also become more complex. There is therefore a real need for better management and communication about migration”, says Eve Amez Droz from the IOM Berne.

Journalists, experts and civil society representatives agreed on a set of recommendations that will be disseminated through various channels, both in Switzerland and in other countries.  “Journalists need to be aware of the impact of their messages when writing a story about migrants, sometimes with serious consequences”, said one of the participants.

Among the recommendations was the need to access data on migration, create a network of journalists covering the issue, create academic degrees on migration in journalism schools, or increasing migrants’ representation in newsrooms. The full set of recommendations will be available in the coming weeks.

The UNAOC is launching a social media campaign #coveringmigration to disseminate outcomes of the various seminars and engage in a wider discussion on social media.

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