New Media Colloquium Wels 2007

UNSA participated in the World wide real-virtual colloquium:

The United Nations and the New Media/Information Age – Education for the Next Generation of the People of the United Nations

Date: Friday, 16 November 2007, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.


“Kraftwerkcenter” (the world’s most modern cinema/digital conference center) in Wels, Upper Austria, Austria

or by virtual participation via the Internet (http://www.acuns.org)

organized and hosted by

WWEDU – World Wide Education, Academic Distance-Learning College, Wels/Austria - www.wwedu.com

Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS)


This colloquium was taking place in an innovative hybrid format, combining an on-site event in Wels/Austria with a virtual occurrence mediated through the Internet. Some panels included on-site as well as virtual speakers to make full use of the new media potentials for this colloquium, which was dedicated to the role of the new media and newly established information infrastructure for educational purposes – better communicating the United Nations system to the people.

The themes of the event just were as innovative as its format. The Wels UN Colloquium centered on leading questions such as:

  • How do new communication technologies and their inherent new opportunities for interaction of people and social communities impact the United Nations’ ability to act?
  • What are the new media’s consequences for global networking and international community action in forging and realizing global policy initiatives?
  • How can the United Nations system make use of the new media and information infrastructure in order to transmit its ideas and communicate its mission to the youth who will form the next generation of opinion leaders and decision-makers?

In addition to its thematic objectives, the Wels UN Colloquium also provided a platform for presenting and discussing newly launched projects in the field of education-focused UN studies as well as relevant database projects.


Julia and Henrike presented the UN Studies Portal. We are working on a full article on the main features and purpose of our portal, to be posted soon.

John Mathiason participated virtually (from Brazil).

For a summary of his and other presentations, please refer to the full conference material provided at the conference webpage at www.acuns.org:


  • Program
  • Round-up powerpoint presentation by Paul A. Linnarz, Deutsche Welle, Bonn/Germany
  • Summary: "The UN enters the information age"
  • Selected presentations and videos (more coming soon):
    • Video of Mr. Nowak
    • Video of Mrs. Hankey
  • Photo gallery (coming soon)
  • Coverage by Wels regional television


Program (Friday, November 16, 2007)


09:00-09:30 a.m. - Opening addresses

09:30-10:00 a.m. - Keynote address

Edward Mortimer, Director, Salzburg Seminar: “The UN and the New Information Age”

10:00-12:00 a.m. - Panel: “UN Studies and Distance Learning/Education: New Technologies for Research & Teaching”

Moderator: Michael Platzer, Visiting Professor, Global Media, Bond University/Australia

  • Foster Ofosu, WWEDU – World Wide Education, Wels/Austria: “Long Distance Learning in Developing Countries”
  • Henrike Paepcke/Julia Harfensteller, UN Studies Working Group, Berlin/Germany: “ The Wiki Portal of the UN Studies Group
  • Axel Wuestenhagen, former Director, United Nations Information Center: “Registry of UN Studies in Austria”
  • Veronika Bauer, European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy/Institute of International Law and International Relations, University of Graz/Austria: “Survey of Digital Human Rights Libraries”
  • John Mathiason (virtual panelist), Syracuse University/USA: “Examining the UN System Using International Public Sector Management Methods”

12:00-01:00 p.m. - Lunch break

01:00-03:30 p.m. - Panel: Human Rights and New Information Technology

Moderator: Wolfram Karl, Director, Austrian Human Rights Institute, Salzburg and University of Salzburg/Austria

  • Manfred Nowak (video), Director, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, Vienna/Austria: “Potential of New Technology in the Work of UN Rapporteurs”
  • Stephanie Hankey (video), Director, Tactical Technology Collective (UK/India): “Human Rights Defenders and Digital Advocacy”
  • Ethan Zuckerman (video), Harvard University/Global Voices: “Connecting Social Justice NGOs”
  • Sami Ben Gharbia (virtual panelist), Global Voice Online: “Digital Advocacy: Netizen Watch Dogs”
  • Matthias C. Kettemann, Institute of International Law and International Relations, University of Graz/Austria: “Human Rights in the Information Society: The Results of Two Projects at the University of Graz 2003-2007”

03:30-04:00 p.m. - Coffee break

04:00-06:00 p.m. - Panel “New-Media Mediated Peace Building & Societal Development”

Moderator: Walther Lichem, former Director, UN Department, Austrian Ministry Foreign Affairs

  • Alexander Siedschlag, Director, Center for European Security Studies, WWEDU – World Wide Education, Wels/Austria and CEO, German United Nations Association, Bavarian Branch: “Conflict Transformation in Information Society”
  • Nasra Hassan, Director, United Nations Information Service Vienna: “The Media, Peacekeeping, and Civil Society”: Harvey Langholtz, Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Program of Correspondence Instruction on Peacekeeping Operations (UNITAR POCI): “Distance Learning on Peacekeeping from UNITAR POCI”
  • Mark Mc Carthy, Project Manager, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Geneva/Switzerland: Relief Web and the Role of Information in Humanitarian Response”
  • Tayza Thuria (virtual panelist), Burmadigest: “The Use of Mobile Phones, Video camcorders, and Internet in the Recent Demonstrations in Burma”
  • Ian Williams, correspondent Nation and Guardian, Deadline Pundit Blog, (virtual pannellist): “Covering the UN with a Blog”

06:00-07:00 p.m. - Dinner buffet

07:00-08:30 p.m. - Panel “Communicating with Youth – New-Media Perspectives for Teaching the UN System”

Moderator: Wolfgang Luef, German Weekly Newspaper “Die Zeit”, Vienna office/Austria

  • Carmel Mulvany, UN Department of Public Information/ Bill Yotive, Global Teaching and Learning Project. Education Outreach Section, Outreach Division, UN Department of Public Information: “Connecting with Youth”
  • Ingrid Lehmann, University of Salzburg/Austria and former director, UN Department of Public Information: “Youth Perceptions of the United Nations”
  • Gregor Waldhauser, Vice President, Austrian Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs: “The Difficulties of Communication with Austrian Youth on Global Issues”
  • Niko Jilch, Kurier Daily Newspaper, Vienna/Austria: “The !Cyber School? Bus in German”
  • Michael Platzer, Visiting Professor, Global Media, Bond University/Australia: “‘Serious news’ Carried on MTV, You Tube, and Comedy Channel”

08:30-09:00 p.m. - Round Up and Next Steps

Paul A. Linnarz, Deutsche Welle, Bonn/Germany

09:00 p.m. - Farewell address by the organizers


Local organizer

WWEDU – World Wide Education
Dragonerstrasse 38
A-4600 Wels/Austria
Phone: +43 (0)7242 55864-0
Fax: +43 (0)7242 55864-66
E-Mail office@wwedu.com



  • Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture
  • United Nations Information Service Vienna


Cooperating Partners

  • Academic Council for the United Nations System (ACUNS)
  • Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs Vienna (AFA)
  • Austrian Burma Center
  • German United Nations Association (DGVN), Bavaria Branch
  • Global Voices
  • Deutsche Welle – Media Services
  • Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, Vienna
  • Technical Support Initiative (UK)
  • UN Studies Working Group within the ACUNS framework
  • United Nations Association of Austria
  • Wilfred Laurier University
  • Witness