The Congress

The SIGNIS World Congress 2013 will take place From October 20-23, 2013 in Beirut, Lebanon on the theme “Media for a Culture of Peace: Creating Images with the New Generation”.

The Middle East is shrouded in images of war, civil strife and demands for social and political change. Yet it is also teeming with creative initiatives for dialogue, reconciliation and peace building. Many of these actions emerge from young creative minds that challenge all of us with their hopes and their images of a new culture of peace. Beirut is at the heart of many of these young dreams, and the choice of Beirut as the venue for the next SIGNIS World Congress is in solidarity with these young voices and alternative images of peace in our world.

The theme “Media for a Culture of Peace: Creating Images with the New Generation”, “underlines the continuing commitment of SIGNIS to work with children and young people to promote their rights in and through the media,” according to SIGNIS President Augustine Loorthusamy. “As a Catholic association of media professionals we want to work with and encourage the new generation to create positive and powerful images that will express their hopes for a global culture of peace.”

At the previous SIGNIS World Congress held in 2009 in Chiang Mai (www.signisworldcongress.net/2009), Thailand, which gathered more than 600 media and development professionals, Catholic communicators and young people from all over the world, the participants were challenged by young people: “We are the children of the world. Do you listen to our voices?”

The 2013 Congress will explore the responses to that challenge. To what extent are Catholic communicators listening to the voices of the young and working with them in creative and practical ways to transform the communications environment?

Such a challenge opens up the need to explore the implications for human beings who find themselves attempting to make sense of an emerging culture – how can people, young and old, realize their creativity and imagination in ways that enhance their freedom and express their values?

The concept of the ‘new generation’ also expresses the need to be able to respond imaginatively and appropriately to the emerging culture which cuts across traditional assumptions about age, sex, culture or political, economic and social status.

The Congress will tackle these issues through activities ranging from interactive dialogue, discussions, workshops, a strong youth element and the active participation of creative media professionals, following three major strands:

- A vision of the future: what is the shape of the emerging culture? Who are the creators of the images that are forming people’s imaginations? What are the implications for the Church and the wider world?

- Emerging Culture: A theological and ethical perspective on and critique of the values of this emerging culture. What values are being transmitted through the image world that is being created? How can these values be influenced?

- Challenges of the New generation: A creative and imaginative response to the new culture. Listening and engaging with those, especially the young, who are creating and producing the images of tomorrow.