The Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum is an annual international conference focusing on the establishment of a platform for interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue on the challenges of globalization in which media play a central role. Germany’s Federal Foreign Office is supporting this conference financially and with regards to content provided the basis for a growing international network of experts from more than 100 nations. Take part in this event means inserting a jigsaw piece into the multiple facets of the media world’s dynamic multicultural scenario.
For me as a published freelance writer for more than 30 years, having small publication house with local language, and an active user of social media from Myanmar, to participate in this crucial event of global media as crossroad experience of the bridging.
Process of Activity
Part (a) Pre-GMF process
Thankfully, I received my invitation letter from Deutsche Welle Media Services in early May, 2014, to attend DW-GMF.
Proceeding to the German Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar for a visa was done and allowed in accordance with necessary documents. After confirmation by me, all the hotel reservation and air-rail e-tickets were came in. Everything was ready for me since middle of June. All the information about GMF and advices about travel, especially for Frankfurt Airport-rail system were sent before my journey.
My journey began from Yangon on Saturday, 28th June, through Bangkok to Frankfurt was smooth. Continued with Rail and reached safely to B&B hotel, Bonn at midnight. I had been crossing a time zone.
Part (b) GMF Participation
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Attending the pre-forum coffee party at the Deutsche Welle Centre, meet with cordial welcoming project manager and several enthusiastic participants were coming. Making new friends and exchanged mutual chit chat.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Registration was convenient with cordial welcoming from receptionist counters, receiving all the necessaries for the forum. Grandness and multicultural inclusiveness of the Forum was evident with numerous honorable guests, experts and participants came from various corners of the world.
Welcoming remarks of Peter Limbourg, Director General, Deutsche Welle, Germany at opening ceremony and Keynote speech by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General, Council of Europe, Norway, were remarkable with important messages for dynamism of media world.
For me the instrumental duo performance of trumpet and cello was very special and also significant for Bonn, the native of Beethoven. After that Brent Goff presented very well with enjoyable guest, Dr. Bassem Youssef, satirist and columnist, host of the El Bernameg satirical news show, Egypt, showing tactful entertainment’s usefulness for encountering with a very tough and challenging situations.
After that there was “Media summit: The future of journalism and the role of international broadcasters” which highlighted the shifting paradigm of media’s digital future by intermingling between bloggers’ commentary and traditional journalistic reporting contents. Keynote speech of Dr. Mathias Döpfner, Chairman and CEO, Axel Springer SE, Germany “A farewell to pessimism: Why journalism benefits from digitalization” gave the hope and ways for next steps.
At the lunch time, meals were appropriate for me and plenty of coffee breaks throughout the program make me freshened.
At the afternoon of the first conference day, there were 6 parallel workshops which make me a bit to consider because all had their attractiveness. Finally I joined to “Quality vs. quantity – How is traditional media responding to the rise of social media?” room which I believe given many ways and means to face the challenges.
After a coffee break, there were another 6 parallel workshops again which I need to make a choice. I had joined to “A blueprint for building communities: Applying community-building practices to a news media company” which was a very interactive one. Thanks for the coordinators for their skill and understanding about human nature in communication and expressing by guiding with theme. I enjoyed a lot there, getting some new friends.
At the main theatre Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany gave the speech.
The following program “2014 Bobs Awards Ceremony” was thrilling for me because of the great jobs done by media-persons from the various parts of the world. Congratulations for all award winners who had taken risk doing good not only for the communities they represented, but also stand up as role models. Well deserve for the awards.
Then I had joined to the reception at Deutsche Welle
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Morning program began with a good topic “Global and participatory: Political opinion-making in the digital age”. News and information are more immediate and omnipresent than ever before. How does that affect policy-makers’ actions and individuals’ personal roles in political communications?
Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Foreign Minister, Germany gave the keynote speech and discussion.
In the morning workshops I went to join “ The role of (social) media in promoting and sustaining democratic governance”
After lunch break, there were parallel workshops; I was participated in “the ICT4kids Oscar goes to…: Good practice in engaging children and youth in development” as I believe and hope of the future in the hands of children.
Afternoon Second conference day program was “Transatlantic talk; Disclosure of the United States NSA’s secret surveillance activities has deeply shaken transatlantic relations”.
After coffee break, there were workshops.
I had joined to “Digital activism and social change: Views from the winners of the Bobs Awards” as I admired their efforts and want to listen their point of views. I get valuable knowledge and experiences.
Boat trip and dinner cruising along the Rhine was really relaxing, delightful and unforgettable moment.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Third day program was started with the keynote speech and discussion by Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks Journalist. Active and lively discussions were observed. Continued participation and cyber security – friends or foes? Disclosure of the NSA’s global surveillance activities dealt a severe blow to people’s trust in digital society.
After noon time coffee break there were some workshops. I joined in “Cyber attacks, energy security and terrorism – A NATO perspective on emerging security challenges in the 21st century”.
At 1400 hrs there was “Closing ceremony”
Auma Obama, Chair, Sauti Kuu Foundation, Kenya/Germany gave her keynote speech and closing address was given by Peter Limbourg, Director General, Deutsche Welle, Germany. Both speeches contained the message concerned with the stand of global media for the sake of building and protecting humanistic society, individuality in the ever changing media world.
Reception at Deutsche Welle headquarter was hosted by the Mayor of Bonn City. I think we all were honored to enjoy that reception party. Remarkable moment!
Part (c) Post-GMF process
I left Bonn on 3rd July, through Frankfurt and Bangkok, safely reached back to Yangon on 4th July. After GMF I am still in contact, responding questionnaire, getting GMF-photo & blog, writing something in my own social media.
I believe that, the mission of GMF was accomplished for this year and hoping to continue. The greatest message I get from GMF 2014 is keep connected for humanity whatever the challenges we have faced. All the events of speech, performances, and workshops were lively and full of enthusiasm. Presentations, debate and discussions, remarks and comments were interactive.
Widening of knowledge, sharing some know-how, and most importantly changing attitude were happened in this GMF. This was not only the meeting of heads but also of hearts.
Epoch making was that more than 2000 representatives with multicultural backgrounds from the different regions gathered here and became connected to each other. I have confidence that the process will eventually going forward as ignition of a fire or growing of a tree.
For my impression, Bonn on the Rhine is an appropriate place to hold this conference, because of convenient space and strong background of historical, cultural, and socio-political significance. I have to note that the summer days also were enchantingly beautiful.
Hope to participate more actively in next GMF.