Media Academy » Overview

The Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change is a unique three-week action research and critical making program that brings young media makers together from around the world to critique and create civic media for social change. The academy focuses on responding to the wicked problems of the world, and values human connections and co-creation of media initiatives to solve them. We focus on developing media and digital literacies that can be applied to inform intractable issues that face us today. 

Over 70 students and a dozen faculty from all five continents gather annually in Salzburg to work in international teams and across disciplines. Since be founded in 2007, a global network of young media innovators has emerged, with over 830 students, 175 faculty, and a host of visiting scholars and practitioners. In this time, participants in the Academy have built:

  • Prototypes plans for media innovation
  • Global Case Studies that explore media's role in the world across borders, cultures, and divides
  • Digital Vignettes that show media's impact on the world
  • Global Media Literacy Models for engaging communities to be more sustainable and vibrant in digital culture
  • A Network of young media innovators that work to lead and invent the future media industries best suited for success in digital culture

Students produce substantial collaborative projects based on the year's theme.


We have had the pleasure of welcoming the following visiting scholars:

  • Richard Goldstone - South African judge who helped bring down the Apartheid / UN chief prosecutor
  • Dana Priest - Pulitzer-prize winning journalist for CBS / Washington Post
  • Richard Ford - Pulitzer Prize Winning Author
  • Bianca Jagger - Social Activist
  • Tom Stoppard - Playwright
  • Henry Jenkins - Founder, MIT Center for Civic Media
  • Anthony Kennedy - US Supreme Court Justice
  • Liz Lufkin - Yahoo News front page editor
  • Charles Sennott - founder of the GlobalPost
  • Will Dobson - foreign policy editor at Slate
  • Lucio Mesquita - director, BBC Monitoring
  • Martin Weiss - Head of Press Dept, Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Maya Morsi - UNDP Egypt
  • Ivan Seigal - Director, Global Voices

Upcoming Sessions in 2018:

Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change
July 15 to August 4, 2018


What Media Can Change

Salzburg Academy Guest Lecturer Najib Sharifi Recognized as ‘Peace Hero’
Salzburg Academy Guest Lecturer Najib Sharifi Recognized as ‘Peace Hero’
Tanya Yilmaz 
Najib Sharifi got an unexpected call just moments after giving the 2014 Bailey Morris-Eck Lecture at this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, a program on comparative journalism and problem solving held 20 July to August 9 at Schloss Leopoldskron.   To his surprise, he was informed that he had been awarded the title of Peace Hero by the Peace Museum in Vienna, Austria.  The Award is an initiative of the newly-opened Peace Museum, and is part of the Windows for Peace project that will feature influential figures in window spaces across the city. Sharifi’s achievements will be showcased alongside other Peace Heroes including Vienna’s own Bertha von Suttner, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi. Windows for Peace is a groundbreaking initiative designed to educate the public through interactive window displays that will illustrate the work of more than 150 Peace Heroes. The project is unprecedented in scale and runs from June 2014 through June 2016.   A native of Afghanistan, Najib’s career transcends academe and journalism, politics and medicine. He is president of Afghan Journalists Safety Committee and Afghan Voices and has worked for leading news organizations, including The New York Times, BBC, CNN, and National Public Radio.

He has been a frequent commentator on Afghanistan issues on both Afghan and international media and many of his opinion pieces have been featured in global media outlets including South Asia Global Affairs Journal and Foreign Policy. Najib has also served as senior political officer for the Office of the Special Representative of the European Union for Afghanistan as well as an active medical practitioner. The connecting thread across his career has been work that supports understanding and peaceful development for those divided by belief or group.  Whilst attending this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, which runs from July 20 to August 9, Sharifi delivered the Morris-Eck lecture on conflict-sensitive journalism. Program Director, Paul Mihailidis praised Sharifi for his contribution to this year's Academy and said that his experience in the field of media change has been invaluable to students. "I think he is a living example of how using the media and engaging [with] the media can build stories that are rigorous and credible [and] can influence change and how that change can lead to political reform, civic reform, cultural reform and social reform."
Najib Sharifi attended Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change: Civic Voices - Justice, Rights and Social Change which runs July 20 to August 9. For more information and updates from the session, please see the program page: and on Twitter with the hashtag #SAC2014
Jennifer Colville: “Innovative development calls for a collision of ideas”
Jennifer Colville: “Innovative development calls for a collision of ideas”
Louise Hallman 
As 2015 draws ever closer, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is supporting partner countries in moving beyond the 15-year old “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs) and towards a post-2015 development agenda, as embodied in the still-to-be-agreed-upon “sustainable development goals” (SDGs) – and they’re looking to Millennials to help. At this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, the 71 students from 23 countries across five continents are helping the UN agency address real-life challenges in advancing the MDG and SDG agenda. Led by Jennifer Colville, policy advisor in the UNDP’s Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group (KICG), the students will be examining and making proposals on how media can be used to address the challenges around youth unemployment and livelihoods, climate change, human rights, and corruption. KICG is UNDP’s in-house resource for “innovation for development” policy advice and technical support to partner countries around the world. Colville leads the Group’s effort to explore “next generation” capacities needed to manage the complex, dynamic, and unpredictable nature of development today, with a specific focus on innovative approaches to collaboration, participation, and inclusion. In her role, Colville also manages UNDP’s newly launched Innovation Facility, a $10 million fund to support innovation for development around the world.  In a full-day program in the first week of the three-week Academy, Colville set the stage for the students’ efforts over the coming weeks by giving an overview of the development landscape, citing facts and figures and underscoring the importance of multi-dimensional responses – at the societal, organization and individual levels. To bring development challenges to life, UNDP colleagues from around the globe presented via video Skype a number of innovative programs already in place; from “Micro Narratives”, collecting and sharing stories to address intolerance in Georgia, and “Pistaljka”, a whistleblowing website launched in Serbia to uncover corruption, to “The Road to Zero Youth Unemployment”, a game being designed to build empathy and ultimately tackle the high rate of unemployment among highly-educated youth in Bhutan.  The Bhutanese example is an area in which UNDP’s KICG is developing a growing interest: the emerging field of “gamification” – the use of games to raise awareness and engage citizens on a pressing development issue, build empathy among those who might have differing opinions, and ultimately change people’s behavior with regard to the issue. “UNDP is trying to be more innovative. One of the things we’re looking at is gamification. We’re also looking a whole host of other things like behavioral science, foresighting, social innovation camps, labs, hubs, challenges… A key piece of the innovation agenda is the communications aspect of it. We’re trying to “work out loud” or communicate more frequently throughout the entire process of development for a variety of reasons: so that more actors are aware of and become involved in the process, so that feedback can heard as early on in the process as possible, and so that information and knowledge are shared more broadly across projects. Better communications can help us design and deliver more effective projects with our partners,” explained Colville. As part of their innovative approach, the UNDP hosts regular research and development events, and it was through such an event that Colville and the UNDP became involved in the Salzburg Academy thanks to the Emerson Engagement Lab, led by Salzburg Academy faculty member Eric Gordon at Emerson College, Boston, USA.  “Last year our regional [R&D] event in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (ECIS) was on behavioral science and gamification, and Eric with the Emerson Engagement Lab was invited to that. Then we had him come and speak to colleagues in New York and he started to work with a number of our country offices as well. And he said ‘We’ve got this [Academy] going – it would be great for you to come and give the development perspective!’,” Colville explained. The 2014 Academy’s group work builds on Gordon’s Ithiel de Sola Pool lecture on the Impact of Communications Technology on Society and Politics at the 2013 Academy. In his lecture, Gordon laid out how by playing learning games, such as 1990s school hit, Oregon Trail, and direct impact games like Darfur is Dying (where one must keep their refugee camp functioning in the face of possible attacks by Janjaweed militias), opportunities for learning and empathy can be realized in a much more accessible manner than simply reading books or listening to lectures. It is this sort of innovative thinking that Colville is hoping to harness from this year’s cohort of Salzburg Academy students.  “There is a tendency to go towards the new kinds of media but one of the groups I was speaking to basically felt that even that was old hat. ‘An app is so 2013!’” laughed Colville. “And so that’s great because they want to push [innovation] even further, and that’s what we at UNDP hope to get from our interaction with young people. As we develop programs for young people, it’s really important for us to work with them to push boundaries. “I think what it would be great to have from them is that out-of-the-box thinking. There is the new and the ‘out there’ thinking that I’m looking for – the different perspective they bring is invaluable,” she added. The 2014 Academy students also took part in the UN’s “MY World” survey, providing the UN insight into what the students consider to be the most important issues for them. Colville and her colleagues might be turning to Millennials to help find solutions to the world’s development challenges, but that’s not to say that they are no longer listening to the older generation. “The demographic shift is calling for a response and an engagement with youth – we cannot ignore it and we don’t want to ignore it. But we’re not only engaging the youth; it’s part of a broader effort that the UNDP is trying to undertake with our international partners to reach out to a variety of voices that we haven’t traditionally heard from. It is about hearing all these different voices – that’s where this collision of ideas happens and where the great ideas can emerge,” said Colville.  Whilst Colville’s busy schedule unfortunately meant that she could not stay in Salzburg for the full three-week program, she remains keen to hear what the students propose in their final presentations next week. As the students delve into their projects, many are interacting with UNDP Country Offices around the world, including UNDP Iraq on a citizen journalism project; UNDP Armenia and Serbia on a corruption in education initiative; and UNDP Mexico on a water access project. At at dinner with the students ahead of her departure last week, Colville told the international cohort of students: “I can’t wait to dial in on August 7!” 
Sanjeev Chatterjee: "I'm a media maker who is interested in using media for positive change"
Sanjeev Chatterjee: "I'm a media maker who is interested in using media for positive change"
Tanya Yilmaz 
Award-winning filmmaker Sanjeev Chatterjee has spoken to Salzburg Global Seminar on how his documentary work has been guided by an early notion of wanting to be a media maker for positive change.

In our latest podcast, Sanjeev Chatterjee talked about his participation in this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change and how he hopes the students situate their values in the context of being a global citizen.

Chatterjee founded in 2012 which aims to offer the next generation of media change-makers an engine for innovation and reinvention in the media using the power of visual storytelling. His previous award-winning work includes a motion picture about potable water entitled One Water which won two awards at the Broadcast Education Association in 2004 as well as being the recipient of the Best Environmental Feature award from the Artivist Film Festival, 2008, Best Documentary Cinambiente 2008, Turin, Italy and Best Documentary at the Foyle Film Festival 2008, Derry, Ireland. Chatterjee also won the Best of Festival, King Award at the Broadcast Education Association’s Media Arts Festival in 2006 with his television pilot, Through Her Eyes – a series of mini-documentaries about female photojournalists. A sequel was released in 2011 and in the film, Beyond Assignment, Sanjeev was Executive Producer.

He is currently Professor at the School of Communications in the departments of Cinema and Interactive Media and Journalism at the University of Miami. He is also a faculty member at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change where this year he presented a screening of his upcoming Hidden Cities documentary to show participants how their actions should be empathic, connected and curious in relation to how the media can help build a better world.

Videos of Sanjeev's work


One Water Trailer



Beyond Assignment Trailer

Students From Around the World Travel to Salzburg for Eighth Media Academy
Students From Around the World Travel to Salzburg for Eighth Media Academy
Julia Loewenthal 
This summer from July 20 to August 9, over 70 students and 20 faculty and scholars from around the world will join together in Austria to participate in the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change
This summer’s students come from Argentina, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Egypt, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK, and the USA. Providing voices and viewpoints from five continents, participants will engage in projects, lectures, and activities to better understand their role as a global citizen in the digital age. All the while, students will be living in the beautiful Schloss Leopoldskron, and experiencing the history of a beautiful building, city, and country. Now in its eighth session, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change has spent the better part of a decade bringing students together to work on innovative case studies to impact media dialogue and global change. Roughly 400 students have participated thus far, in addition to over 50 professors and faculty members. In addition, each year features noteworthy guest speakers and teachers, including the playwright Tom Stoppard, associate justice of the US Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy, author Richard Ford, and Washington Post reporter Dana Priest. 
Academy participants will focus on four major programs and activities. First, the Academy is excited to welcome staff from the United Nations Development Program’s Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group, who will be staging real world challenges they are working on around the world. The three main areas of focus are: poverty reduction, human rights, and the environment. Students will work in teams to develop media-oriented solutions to the challenges posed, and will present their prototypes at the conclusion of the three-week Academy period. This will involve written components, including defining the problem and relating it to Media Literacy, as well as visual components, including creating an infographic in addition to video and audio to amplify the issue. The UNDP will consider the top prototyped solutions in regional offices where the challenges are currently being addressed. This applied work gives students a chance to see their work in the context of real-world problem solving. The second 2014 Academy project involves working in a multimedia production team. Noted filmmakers Sanjeev Chatterjee (Media for Change and University of Miami) and Rhys Daunic (The Media Spot) will serve as filmmakers-in-residence this summer, creating two short films with the help of eight competitively selected students. One video will focus on what media can change, and the other looks at how we can change media. 
Finally, students will engage in a weekly photo contest. Each week the students will be given a word, and will be tasked with capturing its meaning in a photograph. A winner is selected at the end of the week, in addition to second place, third place, and runners up. Prizes are given at the end of the summer to the first place winners. 

Accepted graduate students will be required to take on a research project as well, exploring media literacy, stereotypes and diversity in global digital culture. Students will work in teams, and these projects will tie in both with the other work being done at the Academy as well as the students’ area of study.
The three-week experience will of course include more than just work. Each Friday, students will be taken on a trip – the first week to the beautiful Gossau national park, and the second week to a concentration camp memorial. These trips provide meaningful experiences for students to explore areas outside of Salzburg, as well as to get to know each other outside of the Schloss grounds. Weekends are spent either traveling to other cities such as Munich, Vienna, and Venice, or exploring all that Salzburg has to offer. The city is host to the annual classical musical festival which takes place at the same time as the Academy, and students will be treated to private show in the Great Hall of the Schloss as part of their three-week stay.  Students will also have opportunity to hike in the surrounding mountains and partake in the unofficial tradition of braving the cold waters of the Almkanal to cool off in the Salzburg summer heat.
Overall, it is going to be a powerful three weeks. Students will learn a lot about the state of the world and their role in it, in addition to making friends from around the world and making once in a lifetime connections.
Salzburg Global 2014 Program now available online
Salzburg Global 2014 Program now available online
Oscar Tollast 
Salzburg Global’s 2014 Program will feature over 25 distinctive sessions and workshops inspired by three interdependent values: Imagination, Sustainability and Justice. The three values underpin Salzburg Global’s new program ‘clusters’ and aim to form the foundations for global citizenship. Under these ‘clusters’, a number of topics will be discussed. For example, participants will be asked how societies can renew their education, how to improve life chances for present and future generations, or examine how societies can reframe responsibilities. The 2014 Program brings together distinctive multi-year projects and partnerships with the common goal of promoting vision, courage and leadership to tackle the most complex challenges of a globalized society. The Salzburg Academies – covering Global Citizenship, Media and Global Change, and the Future of International Law – will continue to prepare outstanding young people with the skills to drive change. Salzburg Global Seminar remains determined in breaking down barriers separating people and ideas. It spans the world’s regions and challenges countries at all stage of development and institutions across all sectors to rethink their relationship and identify shared interests and goals. The program is available for download as PDF. 2014 Program Brochure
Media Literacy: What Could be more Empowering?
Media Literacy: What Could be more Empowering?
Maya al Majzoub 
This summer saw the seventh annual Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change held at Schloss Leopoldskron, Austria, the home of Salzburg Global Seminar. It also saw the launch of the first ever Media and Digital Literacy Academy of Beirut hosted by long-term Salzburg Academy partner, the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Here, AUB media studies Master's student Maya al Majzoub reflects on her experience of both programs and how they have "empowered" her.
Living in a traumatized region of the world, the toughest feeling to cope with is the loss of hope. When you start waking up everyday fearing it could be your last is when you existentially start to fade. You lose your energy, surrender your dreams, and believe that no change is coming. Although I’m generally a positive person, but living in a sectarian fragmented Arab context, always threatened by war and clashes, has taken its toll on me. Every now and then, I felt frustrated and powerless. I needed some sort of motivation, some sort of reminder that I still have a role to play to help change things in my beloved Lebanon, even on the smallest scale, and to be honest, this was the real essence behind why I wanted to get involved in both “The Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change” and the “Media and Digital Literacy Academy of Beirut” (MDLAB). Things happened fast! In six consecutive weeks, I participated in both academies. For my first three weeks in the Salzburg Academy, it wasn’t just about the academics. In Salzburg, it was also about going back to nature after being detached for so long, going back to hear the “sound of music” everywhere. Our souls definitely needed that sanctuary, as we’ve been a region traumatized with tragedy for so long that we lost touch with nature and beauty. But professionally, in one word, both academy experiences were “empowering”. Seriously, what could be more empowering than learning to become a producer in the marginalized side of the world? To be guided how to use media’s constructive potential to advocate human rights and aid the Arab world’s transition to democracy? In that, I found my muse. By meeting multinational highly-qualified professors and students with an inspiring entrepreneurial drive, I learned to see things differently; this huge digital space we have at hand, just a click away, is no longer to be taken for granted, but to be used to tell our stories to the whole world, to resist propaganda, and to be a voice for the voiceless. The world has to know the truth about what’s happening in the Arab world, and we have to expose the suffering. Realizing that each one of us actually has this power to influence the way things are by just learning to tactfully use media was truly reviving. This is precisely why I directly volunteered to assist on the newly-launched MDLAB; to learn more how media literacy can be applied within an Arab context, especially since the Academy aimed to encourage Arab media scholars and students to introduce media literacy into their universities’ curricula. MDLAB was co-chaired by Dr. Jad Melki and Dr. May Farah, who were both on the Salzburg Academy’s faculty. During the last week of the Academy, right before the participants’ final presentations, I organized a presentation panel where, together with some of the Lebanese participants in the Salzburg Academy (Farah Shehadeh, Tasnim Chaaban, and Shadi Hamdar), we shared our Salzburg experience, covering both the academic aspect of it, such as our exploratory case studies and film productions, and the social aspect, such as the global interaction we shared and the blog we created. Interestingly, the MDLAB participants then directly felt inspired to start their own blog. To me, what was particularly remarkable was the ability of some MDLAB participants, especially those from Syria, to try and maintain their academic focus despite having their families left in the Syrian war zone. If anything, this proves how determined a large portion of Arabs are to arm themselves with all sorts of peaceful and constructive tools of change—media literacy being a highly significant one of them. As for now, I’m mainly concerned with how to use my own media platform, that is, my job as a reporter on one of the Lebanese social talk-shows, to critically highlight and treat significant social issues, through applying media literacy concepts. In the end, it all boils down to this: From time to time, we all need to be reminded that we do have the power to change things, and media literacy can do that quite practically!
Are we becoming disconnected by our love of devices?
Are we becoming disconnected by our love of devices?
Salzburg Global Seminar Staff 
Has our need to be constantly connected to the World Wide Web actually left us disconnected from our own immediate reality? Can we overcome this apparent obsession with texting and get back to talking?  The USA’s CBS News asked these questions in a report on Sunday, September 30, and gained help in its answers from research carried out by partners of the Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change.  The Media Academy’s ‘Unplugged’ project, conducted in conjunction with Academy partner International Center for Media and the Public Agenda, University of Maryland, part of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, found that many young people are worryingly addicted to their telecommunications devices.  Conducted with the assistance of a dozen university partners of the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change, the study asked 1000 students in 10 developed and developing countries on five continents to give up all media for 24 hours.  After their daylong abstinence, the students recorded their experiences. The results surprised  “It ended up being the most horrible experience many of them had ever in their life, according to what they self-reported to us. The psychological impact was significant,” lead researcher, Sergey Golitsynskiy told CBS reporter Susan Spencer.  Of the 1000 students who responded, 70 percent of them quit the experiment, saying they simply couldn't do give up their phones, laptops and TVs for the full day.  “They felt a tremendous amount of boredom. They were bored without it,” said Golitsynskly. “They felt emotionally detached from the rest of the world.”  The World Unplugged study concluded that most college students, whether in developed or developing countries, are strikingly similar in how they use media.  Student after student spoke about their generation's utter dependency on media - especially the mobile phone. And they also explained how they think about news.  “We are used to having information about everything on the planet and this information we have to have in an unbelievable time.  Our generation doesn’t need certified and acknowledged information. More important is quantity, not quality of news,” said on Slovakian student study participant.  As Spencer explains in her report, “One American student reported: ‘I was itching, like a crackhead...’ Someone in the UK said: ‘Media is my drug ... I am an addict.’ A student from China wrote: ‘I was almost freaking out.’ And a person from Argentina reported: ‘Sometimes I felt dead.’” Spencer also interviewed MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle, author of the book ‘Alone Together’, looking at society’s excessive use of mobile phones and the loss of the art of conversation.  Her antidote to this apparent media ‘addiction’?  “Talk to your child. Talk to your partner. Talk to yourself!” Turkle told Spencer.  “…It’s not about saying, ‘Don't use your phone.’ It’s not about throwing away your phone. It’s about, ‘How do we reclaim conversation?’”
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