The Salzburg Academy Story - 2014

This summer from 20 July to 9 August, 70 students and 20 facutly 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 are from Lebanon, England, Pakistan, India, Kenya, the USA, Ireland, the Philippines, Israel, Colombia, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, France, Canada, Spain, Argentina, Italy, Nigeria, Switzerland, Mexico and Slovakia. Providing voices and viewpoints from five continents, participants will engage in projects, lectures and activities to better understand their roles as global citizens in the 2014 Student Nationalitiesdigital age. Students will live and work at the historic Schloss Leopoldskron, a short walk from Salzburg, Austria, at the edge of the Alps. 

Now in its eighth summer, 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 and 50 professors and faculty members have thus far participated in the program.

In addition, the session 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, Washington Post investigative reporter Dana Priest, and BP/Goldman Sachs chairman Peter Sutherland.

This summer Academy participants will work with members from the United Nations Development Program’s Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group on the issues of the environment, poverty reduction and human rights.  Students will work in cross-border teams to brainstorm and develop media-oriented solutions to the challenges posed by these three sets of issues.   Students will help UNDP define the problems faced, and they will work with UNDP to articulate the challenges via infographics, video, audio and written narratives.  

Students will also propose ways that the UNDP can address these issues, focusing especially on roles that media, and media literacy education can play.  At the conclusion of the three week Academy the student teams will present their work to the UNDP members, who will in term forward the students' ideas to their regional offices where the challenges are currently being addressed. This applied work will give students a chance to see their work in the context of real-world problem solving.

A second Academy project this summer will bring selected students together in a multimedia production team to work with noted filmmakers Sanjeev Chatterjee and Rhys Daunic.  The two

Academy World

filmmakers, who will be in residence at the Schloss, will work with the student production team to create two short videos:  one on how media can be a actor for global change, and the other on how students can work to improve media. 

Other projects this summer will include:

  • A research project investigating stereotypes and diversity in global digital culture, led by faculty and graduate students.
  • Photography projects investigating how images can visualize global concepts.  All students will take part in a weekly photo concept that will ask them to "think out of the box" to photographically capture the meaning of a word.  The top images will receive prizes. 

As part of their three-week program, students will also take field trips, including a Friday excursion to the Gosau valley in Upper Austria and to Mauthausen 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 free for students, and many students stay onsite at Schloss Leopoldskron and in Salzburg.  The city is host to a world famous classical musical festival in July and August, and while tickets to the opera, theater and orchestral performances are expensive, there are also free open air performances on large screens in the Cathedral square in Salzburg.  For those who are athletic, there is great biking and swimming in the immediate area — and many students take the plunge in the glacial-fed canal just outside the Schloss grounds. Other students travel on their own throughout the region.  In the past students have taken trains to visit nearby cities such as Munich and Vienna. 

Overall, the 2014 Academy promises to be a powerful three-week long session. Students will learn about global affairs from their peers as well as faculty and in so doing they will make friends from around the world, forming once in a lifetime connections. Friends in Salzburg