Are you a student of Tartu University and you think there are not many things going on out of Tartu, well, I came to disappoint you; there are plenty of extracurricular activities happening that one just needs to be curious and search for the opportunities. For example, last week University of Tartu Narva College hold very interesting international youth conference. Two of our International Student Ambassadors, Anastasiia and Meline, took part in the event and conducted an interview with the conference coordinator, Nikita Lumijoe.

1.Tell us in general about the conference

The conference brought together the brightest and the most active students and pupils from all over Estonia. The main objective of the conference was to bring together Estonian and international experts, analysts and media producers so that they conduct discussions with students and young leaders, debate on several issues and also give a chance to express opinions and opposing ideas. It is a long-term project supported mainly by Nordic Council of Ministers and all the further information can be found at Narva College webpage.

2.Which were the main topics?

The main topics of the conference were Elections and Media, creating a virtual self: the social media world and youth, information wars and fake news, media youth and schools.

3.Who were the speakers?

The main speakers were Estonian, Russian and Scandinavian experts who spoke about three main topics; Social Media, Media Literacy Education, hybrid threats and informational warfare. Experts came from different countries to express their own views which were quite different and to give broader picture of media world.

4.Who were the participants?

The participants were young people from 16 years old from all around Estonia, school children, students from bachelors and masters, representatives from both Tallinn University and Tartu University.

5.What was the main aim of the conference?

The conference aims to improve understanding between youth and media producers and to increase media literacy among young people, which is becoming essential to navigate in a post-truth world. Furthermore, it also wants the participants to get something new after the conference, live the experience of the real international conference, as for some of them it was the first time to take part in this kind of conference, listen to the speakers, ask questions and be critical in analyzing the information. Moreover, one of the points was to improve media literacy among youngsters, how media is being created and how to sort out and analyze it, because in this fast growing century, we need to keep being skeptical on many issues, in order to avoid disappointing and false information.

The conference was organized for the first time and whether it was successful or not we will know after the feedback of the participants.

The lessons we have learnt from the young media makers and experts

Before going to the conference, it seemed that we are so much aware of the media world that there is not so much that the experts can teach us. Meanwhile, after the conference we understood that there so much that we, the youngsters of 21st century need to know, as media literacy is of great importance. It is important to know how to read anything critically, how to analyze the text. In order to avoid disappointments and false information, one should read not from one source, but try to find various sources and compare them, trying to come to conclusion on the topic.

Moreover, we are so much connected to social media that sometimes we are losing our connection to the real world, the world where real people live, create and interact. In order to solve this problem, there is a need to improve the media literacy among youngsters starting from schools and universities. The youngsters should start prioritizing what is more important for them, to get lost in a virtual world, losing connection with the real one, or to use social media more wisely, making it to serve us as a means of fast and easy communication, keeping the track on the world news and so on.

All in all, if you are reading this post, it means you are already on the right track in your search for extracurricular activities, congratulations. Hence, get motivated, take the lead and explore the world of conferences and social events, and do not forget to share with others, as we say, “Sharing is caring”.

Written By:
Meline Avagyan (Armenia)
MA in Democracy & Governance

Photo By:
University of Tartu
Narva College