Students of communication and theology will address questions of media and globalization and then explore how these relate to the theme of religion in mass media, as part of a global summer school held from 23 to 31 July in Jamaica.
Participants will be introduced to different communication theories and to the challenges facing communication in the ecumenical movement and in interfaith dialogue.
The summer school is being organized in cooperation with the Northern Caribbean University (Manchester, Jamaica), the Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany) the World Council of Churches (Geneva, Switzerland) and the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).
The faculty will come from the organizing institutions. Students enrolled in the summer school have bachelor’s degrees in theology or a related field, and they are interested in ethical and intercultural reflections on communication and media.
Communication has a vital role in building just and peaceful communities, said Marianne Ejdersten, World Council of Churches director of communication. “The theme of the pilgrimage of justice and peace will permeate the planning and work of the WCC during the next years. This theme presents communication opportunities.”
Communication for peace creates chances for people to consider and value nonviolent responses to potential and actual conflict, she added. “We decided to take part in the summer school as part of our new capacity building programme in the WCC. Communication belongs at the heart of being on a pilgrimage of justice and peace. We cannot give account of the reality around us, if we are not communicating this to one another and to the world. To share is to communicate, but also to bring a hope, a challenge and a motivation into different contexts.”
"Two of the key aspects of the summer school are the attempt to build bridges between the concept of communication rights and the need for active participation of faith-based organizations in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations," said Dr Marcelo Schneider, WCC communication officer and WCC coordinator of the summer school.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, is composed of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets for eliminating extreme poverty fighting inequality and tackling climate change over the next 15 years.
“By reflecting on gender, culture and language, as well as children’s communication rights, we hope that participants may realize that they are already both part of the pilgrimage of justice and peace, and part of the SDGs agenda, and that they can make a difference in the world by telling stories from their local and regional contexts,” he added.
The Caribbean region has been selected for the summer school because of its cultural diversity and the potential it has to explore communication rights in a context of colonial and interfaith history. Those organizing the curriculum believe an appreciation of the challenges facing this region is critical to a fuller understanding of contemporary realities and future directions.
The course will be framed around communication rights, communication in the ecumenical movement, media ethics, gender and communication, and communication for social change.