This Is Why People Enjoyed the 11th Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change




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Aug 24, 2017
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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This Is Why People Enjoyed the 11th Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change

Students from 11th Salzburg Academy look back on their first experience at Schloss Leopoldskron Students attending the 11th Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change reviewed their experience at Schloss Leopoldskron

Participants who attended the 11th Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change have revealed what the experience meant to them as part of a reflection exercise.

The Academy came to a successful conclusion last month after 83 students worked together to develop a DIY playbook to build a better world:

This year's session - Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism - included students from Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Egypt, Finland, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Palestine, Singapore, Slovakia, Syria, the UK, the United States, and Venezuela.

The three-week program led to students creating a series of interactive exercises to educate others about global populism and extremism.

Before the Academy ended, Salzburg Global asked 20 students, each representing a different school from around the world, to summarize their time at Schloss Leopoldskron in a few sentences. You can read their answers below.

JD Alexander

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in advertising with a minor in business at the University of Texas at Austin

“Having the opportunity to share such a diverse space and hear stories of people from around the world has been so valuable to me. We’ve laughed, cried, and poured our hearts out for the past three weeks and have matured so much in how we see ourselves creating global change.”

Laila Al-Kloub

Student pursuing a master’s degree in journalism and new media at the Jordan Media Institute

“I will never forget how I thought it was impossible, but then it became a reality. This experience charged my hope, dreams, and power. It has given me confidence, and strength. From now on, if I fall, I will remember how I made it to Salzburg Global Seminar and how 83 students with different perspectives worked towards a target and achieved it. I have faith in myself and my power to change, I believe WE can change the world.”

Sarah Al-Nemr

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the Lebanese American University in television and film with a minor in advertising and public relations

“I’ve been waiting for this experience for over a year, and I’m so glad that it finally happened. This was the first time I’ve been so academically involved and invested, and I’ve learned so much about myself and the world. It was a very eye opening experience, and I’m endlessly grateful that I got to take part in it.”

Lauren Bailey

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications at Nevada State College

“My favorite thing from the Academy, aside from meeting the other students and the good food, was definitely the faculty. I can't even fathom all of the work these people with jobs, families, and other hobbies, put into the Academy to make sure there is a future they can believe in. But above all I think the greatest art was the process of us coming together from strangers to acquaintances, to friends, and now family. I’m excited to see where we all go from here and from the bottom of my heart I will be cheering on my Salzburg Global family.”

Connor Bean

Student pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication and media at Bournemouth University

“Seeing how people from different parts of the world can come together and allow their perceptions to collide rather than clash has been the highlight of my time at the Salzburg Academy. The motivation and drive in certain people inspired me to make a change in my community and allowed me to have a whole new view on the world.”

Artina Dawkins

Ph.D. student in leadership studies at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

“Participating in the 11th Salzburg Academy has been one of the highlights of 2017! Nestled in the heart of the quaint little town of Salzburg, Austria, the Academy has opened up a new world about how different forms of media (broadcast news, podcasts, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.,) have the power to change our perspectives, provoke our empathy or anger, and convince us that false information is in fact true – often without our knowledge. During these past weeks, I have been challenged to think more critically about the different types of media, to be careful that the information I transmit is not ‘fake news’, to reach across national and international lines to work collaboratively toward a common goal, and was reminded to seize the opportunities that are right in front of me!”

Michael Furnari

Student pursuing a master’s degree in peace and conflict studies at UMass Lowell

“As a student from UMass Lowell I didn't know exactly what to expect when I came here. But now that my time is up here I can say that I learned so much more than I would have had I stayed in the United States. Not just academically but professionally I feel as though I've grown in the short time that I’ve been here.”

Rachel Hanebutt

Graduate student at Emerson College pursuing a master's degree in civic media: art and practice

“Making connections on multiple continents, I left the Salzburg Academy feeling re-energized and ready to use my media and communication skills to make positive change in not only my community, but in the world. Before Salzburg, I didn’t realize how truly powerful media can be in shaping societies and changing perspectives; whether it is populism or climate change, I now know that I want to be a part in creating more just and equitable political systems, through media. More than anything, this Academy allowed me the time and space to focus in on what is truly important to me, which inadvertently helped me to more deeply understand I want to accomplish in the short term, as well as in my long term goals.”

Sofie Hoertler

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in media management at the University of St. Pölten

“Before coming here, I received a booklet with the participants’ pictures and bios. And as I read through it, I fell in the dehumanization trap and saw them as faces on paper. After living, eating and working with them for three weeks, I realized that I shouldn’t have dehumanized them. They’re not faces on paper, but rather real people with real life stories, and actually some of the brightest human beings I’ve ever met. I’m glad that there are selfless people who care about the world and that I got to meet some of them. Their positive energy is infectious, and I’m so excited to be taking it back home.”

Jacqueline Hyman

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism at the University of Maryland – College Park

“The Salzburg Academy has been extremely life changing. I can’t believe I lived in such a beautiful place, studying important topics, and meeting such a diverse group of people. I’ve learned so much about the world just from these people and I know I’ve made some long-lasting friendships. The Academy is different than I expected; it’s not just a typical classroom experience with the same topics every day. It’s more than that; interactive, innovative, and inspirational. I’ll truly never forget these three weeks.”

Lauren Kett

Graduate candidate pursuing a master's degree at the University of Miami in interactive media and specializing in user experience design

“My favorite part of this program was being around people who care. We came together from over 20 countries and shared a true cultural exchange of ideas and perspectives. This led to friendships. From here we have infinite opportunities for meaningful collaboration for change.”

Dani Mateos

Student who recently completed a bachelor’s degree in communications at Universidad Iberoamericana

“This has been the best academic experience thus far, and the cherry on top of my last year of college. This experience helped me realize who I want to be in the future – a change-maker – and my future starts today. At the Academy, I found a new meaning for identity and inspiration. I want the world to change, and I want to change with it.”

Eric Moy

Ph.D. student in mass communication at the University of Iowa

“Problem solving seems easy, but is actually more complicated thank you think as it has many layers. Working with students from different cultural understandings towards solving a major problem like extremism or populism helped me learn how to manage dynamics between people who are different from me. It also taught me not to assume things, but rather ask questions and aim for creating human dialogue.”

Kamila Navrátilová

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising at the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius

“The Media Academy was a life changing experience. I met a lot of amazing people and I had a chance to work with them on something meaningful. I realized how much we share in common even though we come from different parts of the world. These three weeks were eye-opening. I started to believe that we can truly face the many challenges that come our way. Also, I am now inspired to travel more often to learn new languages and get to know different cultures.”

Ryan O’Connell

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point

“The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to work with other students and faculty from around the world. It was so rewarding to work closely with students from places like Hong Kong, Beirut, and Mexico City. I learned so much about group work, other cultures, and myself that I'll take back with me to West Point.”

Tom Olang'

Postgraduate student pursuing a master’s degree in communications at Daystar University

"After experiencing the program, I can confess that I made the best choice in my academic life. I have been able to network with faculty and students from diverse cultures; made friends and useful contacts and learnt a lot in the process. I am now really media literate! My cultural fluency has also soared considerably.”

Agustina Parise

Student pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism and communication at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

“Being part of the Salzburg Academy was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Not only do you learn from the lectures, but you also learn from your fellow students about the countries they live in. It opens your mind.”

Bingjun Shi

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in financial journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University

“This experience pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I’m so grateful for it. I met amazing people from different cultures and became more receptive to diverse opinions and perspectives. I also learned how important it is to speak my mind and turn my dreams of changing the world into action. Maybe if I speak up, I could inspire others to do the same back home. Silence isn’t the solution. Our voices can move mountains!”

Jack Lipei Tang

Student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

“One of the most valuable lessons I learned here at the Salzburg Media Academy with so many amazing people is that social contact with individuals is the only way we can resist vague, manipulating and stagnant macro-narratives full of hatred, misunderstanding and prejudice.”

Therese Woozley

Graduate teaching assistant pursuing a master's degree in communication with an emphasis in media studies at Boise State University

“I came to Salzburg with the purpose of learning new information and sharing the newfound knowledge upon my return. However, sharing content is ultimately short sighted... the wide range of faculty expertise, diversity of students, and palace atmosphere has created an overall experience which is impossible to put into words. I hold a humbling sense of gratitude for the Academy; it has forever changed my world view and my life will never be the same.”

Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running multi-year program, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here: