WSCF at the Symposium on Communication for Social Justice in the Digital Age
The World Student Christian Federation participated in the “Symposium: Communication for Social Justice in the Digital Age”, a 3-day event that took place from September 13 to 15 by zoom meetings, live stream sessions and in-person meetings in Berlin. The event was organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the World Association for Christian Communication and co-organized by the World Student Christian Federation, Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World), Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (Evangelical Church in Germany), and Evangelische Mission Weltweit (EMW, Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany).
According to the WCC, the event brought together research, experiences from different regions and marginalized communities, expert input on economic and political trends, and ethical and theological reflection. The aim of the symposium was to explore the challenges of digital communication with a social justice lens and to identify opportunities for concerted and collaborative actions with faith communities and among faith, civil society, academic, media and technological organizations.
The program of the event was carried out through theme days and live-streamed sessions:
- The first-day discussion was based on the question: what do social justice and social injustice look like in the digital era, especially for marginalized people and communities?
- The second-day emphasis was on the ways in which the digital era has changed the notion of public space.
- And finally, the question on the third-day discussion was: what vision do we have of a more just digital – and human – society – and how do we help to bring it about?
A VISION FOR A JUST DIGITAL FUTURE
The WSCF participated in the morning session of the third and last day of the Symposium on the theme “vision for a just digital future”. Marcelo Leites, WSCF General Secretary, was the main speaker of the session and Christiane Gebauer, WSCF Europe Chairperson, acted as the moderator.
The session started with words of greeting by Philip Lee, General Secretary, World Association for Christian Communication, followed by the intervention of WSCF General Secretary, Marcelo Leites. The main inputs in Marcelo’s speech were:
- The business model and surveillance. Between digital capitalism and the accumulation, control and manipulation of our privacy and intimacy.
- The dispute of hegemonies in the economic, religious, media and political fields. Deregulation and the debate or dispute of narratives. Youth and Rebellion.
- Challenges for the future, some ideas or hypotheses to contribute to the debate: Build overcoming and transformative counter-narratives; recognize the exacerbation of inequalities that digital capitalism brings; emphatically reject the agglomeration of monopolies, seeking regulation and social control, also rejecting the idea of pior tempore prio jure; propose a comprehensive system that guarantees human rights; avoid the problem of the digital capsule and promote the role of the ecumenical movement.
After that, Tijana Petkovic, University of Tübingen, and Prof. Anita Cloete, University of Stellenbosch, presented their statements framed in the session’s theme and responded to Marcelo’s speech. A conversation between the three speakers was moderated by Christiane, who also asked them questions sent through zoom and youtube. The closing of the session was in charge of Dr. Silke Lechner, Deputy Head of Division “Religion and Foreign Policy” of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, who shared words of greeting to the whole WCC community.
Watch the session here:
Interviews leading up to the Symposium