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 MIL Champions Hold First International MIL Youth Virtual Summit 

In celebration of the UNESCO Global MIL Week 2020 for the whole month of November, the US-PH Exchange Alumni, PAMIL, Yabong, and GAPMIL Asia and Pacific brought the first-ever International MIL Youth Virtual Summit. The summit was premiered on the Philippine Association for Media and Information Literacy page shared on U.S. International Exchange Alumni- Philippines and Yabong Facebook pages. This summit is the first of its kind international event to enable participants to exchange experiences on how the youth can address issues related to media and information literacy. 

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As the founding president of the Philippine Association for Media and Information Literacy (PAMIL), Mr. Joey Alagaran, states, MIL, from a mere mass word, is now “a more accepted based skills as a result of the rise of false news or information disorder in 2017”. Thus, this event created an avenue for youth leaders and advocates to exchange experiences on how youth can address media and information literacy issues. Moreover, as the biggest number in the digital demographic, the summit focused on gathering youth representatives worldwide who engaged and participated in various plenary sessions via Zoom. The 100 participants were MIL teachers and advocates, SHS students, librarians, archivists, and media and communication professionals aged 15-35 years old or within the youth age bracket. 

Futhermore, the virtual event highlighted MIL experts to tackle various issues relating to MIL which empowered the youth more with the knowledge and expertise of the speakers from local, national and international. MIL champions like Alexandre Le Voci Sayad, the co-chair of International Steering Committee of Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL), Jeff Share, a doctorate and a professor of Critical Media Literacy at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and Joseph Marmol Yap, the information literacy coordinator of Nazarbeyev graced the first day of the summit with compelling lectures from the role of promoting social media engagement, youth media consciousness, to the enhancement of skills in civic engagement in social media respectively. 

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In the second and third episodes, MIL champions from various cornerstones highlighted the discussions on the issues and roles of MIL in Civic Engagement and in Cybersafety. Val Amiel Vestil, founder of the Association of Young Environmental Journalists, Jules Guiang, the co-founder of Quarantalk Media, and Sophie Sandberg, the founder of Catcalls of NYC discussed about the roles of MIL in civic engagements, as well as shared their experiences as founders and co-founders of their respective media advocacy-driven organizations. Val Vestil highlighted the role of MIL in environmental journalism, which is to bring out stories that matter, “...we prioritize stories about the environment that bring out solutions...that really push for environmental sustainability.” Moreover, Sophie Sandberg focused on the role of MIL in promoting social change and gender equality, “...the otherway I believe Chalk Back creates social change is through empowerment…so many young women, girls, folks in the LGBT+ community face frequement harassment…we are empowering people to do something about it and fight back against it…”

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The third episode featured MIL on a legal standpoint which address the issues on cybersafety. Atty. Ernesto Neri, the director of the Center for Legal Assistance in Xavier University, Nadia Tjahja, the co-founder of Sunium.EU, and Janine Vicente of Break the Fake Movement focused their talks on the laws and policies of MIL, making tech more humane, and on the importance of smart surfing. As a lawyer, Ernesto Neri was asked on various criminal offenses that MIL could solve because of the lacking laws and policies regarding social media, as he states “...there are speeches or expressions that are not protected.” Moreover, as these issues propagate due to protected speech, Janine Vicente delved into making an effort to protect and equip the participants so that they can protect and equip their own communities from the dangers of fake news and disinformation. 

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The goal of the summit does not end on the augment of MIL as a based skill, but in the declaration of the next course of actions for MIL champions. In the culmination episode, partners from the US Embassy in the Philippines through Ms. Nina Lewis, the U.S. Embassy Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer, gave their statement of support in the enhancement of MIL amongst the youth. Ms. Lewis states, “this summit is one of the many admirable initiatives…this summit have discussed how the youth can resist information through MIL.” She also added that the critical defense  against disinformation is a free and transparent news media environment. 

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Thus, the summit established the Philippine MIL Declaration Statement in which PAMIL and YABONG highlighted the principles of MIL, the goals of the statement, the declaration of actions: the  establishment of the Philippine Youth for MIL Group, organize the international MIL virtual youth summit annually, conduct MIL trainings and webinars on its integration within civic engagements, conduct MIL seminar-workshops or webinars to utilize MIL as a life long skills. 

As the YABONG founder, Dun Oliver Abiera states, "I hope we continue to be a beacon of hope for MIL in the Philippines and to continually educate others. And by education, we need to be gentle and approachable with the knowledge we are sharing. The knowledge and learnings we have acquired all throughout the 1st International MIL Youth Summit will not be ending with this episode rather, and it will continuously flourish with this declaration and the 'MIL for Youth' organization that we formed." 

Click the link below to know more: 

Watch Episode 2: 

Watch Episode 3: 

Creation of Youth for MIL Group:

Overall Post:

Wrap Up Video:

Summit Roadmap:

Summit Announcement: