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Read the headlines on any given day, and it’s easy to assume that people are driven by conflict and greed. But are we getting the whole—or even the true—story? Michael Nagler, a noted peace scholar and award-winning author, will discuss this question and other media issues before the United Nations on September 9, 2015.
Nagler will be one of several speakers at the High-Level Forum of the General Assembly on The Culture of Peace, a daylong event at the UN’s headquarters in New York.
“A media system that peddles violence as necessary, inevitable and entertaining provides us with an erroneous image of who we are as human beings,” Nagler said. “We all have an innate capacity for peace. Media that ignore this and sensationalize violence have created a culture that is quite simply killing us.”
One major issue, Nagler added, is that violence is hugely profitable for media corporations. If we want to create lasting peace, he said, we must create a media system that serves public interests rather than the interests of shareholders. Nagler’s talk will address the failures of mainstream media as well as highlight viable solutions such as alternative media, media literacy and nonviolence. He will also make several suggestions for the world body itself to implement.
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, will speak during the Forum’s opening session. Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, will be the Forum’s keynote speaker.
Nagler will be speaking in the afternoon session, on the second panel, from 4:30–5:30 p.m. The panel discussion will be chaired and moderated by Ambassador Marjon V. Kamara, Liberia’s permanent representative at the UN. The other speakers slated for the second panel are:
- Ambassador Abdul Momen, Bangladesh’s permanent representative at the UN
Cristina Gallach, the under-secretary-general for the UN’s office of communication and public information
- Jun Hong Lu, president and director of 20R Australia Oriental Radio
The High-level Forum of the General Assembly on The Culture of Peace will be webcast and available for the public at http://webtv.un.org. See a full listing of scheduled sessions and panelists on the UN Culture of Peace Programme 2015 (PDF).
Michael Nagler is the founder and president of Metta Center for Nonviolence, a nonprofit that provides a wide range of nonviolence programs and materials for activists, educators, journalists and practical idealists. He is also the author of the books Nonviolent Handbook: A Guide to Practical Action and The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World, which won the American Book Award in 2002.