Summer School on Misinformation, Disinformation and Hate Speech, 3-7 July 2023, Hybrid Format: Rome (Italy) and online - Deadline for application: 20 June 2023
In recent decades, rapid technological advancements have drastically altered how individuals connect, communicate, and access information. News and knowledge may now travel across the globe in a matter of seconds. While these digital and communicational innovations have sprung several new opportunities to organize, educate, and enlighten the international community, still these significant changes have also had unfavourable effects that we are only now beginning to address, such as the significantly increased rate at which false information, misleading information, and even hate speech propagate.
The international community as a whole is now faced with difficult geopolitical problems raised by disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech. People's vulnerability and risk exposure may be exacerbated by misinformation and disinformation. Likewise, hate speech puts the safety and dignity of individuals and groups at risk, either directly or indirectly. As an example, online hate speech that incites violence against a minority can cause psychological and social harm through intimidation, slander, and harassment.
The UN General Assembly has expressed concern over the proliferation of these phenomena and has welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General to promote international cooperation in countering disinformation through his report: Countering disinformation for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Moreover, in July 2021, the same UN entity highlighted global concerns over “the exponential spread and proliferation of hate speech” around the world and adopted a resolution on “promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in countering hate speech”, proclaiming 18 June as the International Day for Countering Hate Speech. These new issues are altering how societies deal with democracy as well as how and when violence manifests itself.
With these considerations in mind, UNICRI and the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI) are launching the first edition of the Summer School on Misinformation, Disinformation and Hate Speech, which will be delivered from 3 to 7 July 2023.
The course is intended for university and post-graduate students, Ph.D. candidates, media and other professionals, including United Nations (UN) personnel, as well as anyone interested in gaining an understanding of disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech, how they manifest themselves and what tools are available to combat them.
Special focus will be given to various dimensions of hate speech and fake news, including the contemporary challenges linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and the role of social media in war and political propaganda campaigns. The existing international legal and policy frameworks will be examined with a view to improve participants’ ability to address the issue in a comprehensive way and promote their role as advocates for an effective change in public policies, strategies, and practices. More specifically, the curriculum of the course may focus on:
- The difference between disinformation and misinformation & the different types of disinformation and misinformation.
- The difference between hate speech and freedom of expression.
- An overview of the international legal framework and human rights standards used to counter hate speech and disinformation.
- The role of fake news in fuelling hate speech and the link between fake-news, misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech.
- Hate speech and misinformation in pandemics: anti-scientific propaganda during the Covid-19 crisis.
- The role of social media hate and disinformation in war and political propaganda campaigns.
- The role of AI in disinformation.
- Tools to monitor and respond to misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech – including the role of media.
- Proposing a counternarrative to hate speech – Debunking as a method of uncovering hate speech, disinformation, misinformation, and fake news.
The Summer School offers professional, legal, social, scientific, and academic perspectives through live webinars, group discussions, dynamic case studies, individual readings, and practical exercises. The faculty is composed of expert scholars and academics from leading universities, representatives of the United Nations system, international human rights bodies, and the civil society.
Whether attending the course in person at the SIOI’s beautiful premises in the centre of Rome (Italy), or through a dedicated online platform, participants will have the opportunity to interact with international recognized experts and peers from all over the world, to exchange view and opinions and build lasting professional relationships. This experience fosters intercultural dialogue and promotes a deeper understanding of some of the world’s most complex and debated issues.
1. Relevant information
3-7 July 2023
Rome (Italy), SIOI Premises
20 June 2023 (rolling basis)
Confirmation of acceptance:
Within 1 week following receipt of the application
Within 1 week following confirmation of acceptance
2. Entry requirements
The course is intended for university and post-graduate students, Ph.D. candidates, media and other professionals, including United Nations (UN) personnel, as well as anyone interested in gaining an understanding of disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech; how they manifest themselves and what tools are available to combat them.
Candidates must meet the following minimum requirements:
- hold a three-year university degree issued by an internationally recognized university.
- have a very good working knowledge of English.
Applications from students who expect to graduate at the end of the 2023/24 academic year are welcomed.
3. Course methodology
The Summer School adopts a hybrid model of learning, which allows participants to attend lectures either in person or virtually through their own device, so as to adjust to individual needs and accommodate social distancing requirements.
Classes will be delivered live at SIOI premises for those participants on-site and will be streamed for those connected remotely. Special attention will be devoted to ensuring synchronous and seamless interaction with and amongst instructors and participants, both online and in class.
Classes are held at SIOI Premises in Rome (Italy), from Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 4:30pm CEST.
COVID 19-related special notice: UNICRI and SIOI will take all necessary measures, as mandated by the Italian or local government as well as the SIOI administration, to ensure safety of participants, faculty, and staff during the delivery of classes. This may necessitate appropriate measures to ensure safe social distancing, including the possibility of splitting students into two classrooms and the use of technology. Unless otherwise mandated by the authorities noted above, the Summer School will be delivered as planned.
Quarantine requirements: Foreign applicants are invited to check the entry conditions into the Italian territory applicable to their individual situation and to carefully consider quarantine requirements when planning for their participation to the Summer School, through the website and questionnaire made available by the Italian Government at https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it/index_en.html
Absences due to insufficient planning will not be considered justified and will not entitle to the award of the certificate, to refunds or reductions of the tuition fee.
Classes will be streamed via a dedicated online platform. Participants need a computer (recommended) or a mobile device with audio and video capabilities, a headset with microphone to connect to the audio through the computer or mobile device, as well as a reliable internet connection. We recommend accessing audio through the computer. No special software is required. Upon acceptance to the course, participants will be provided with the information to access the platform. Classes will be held from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm CEST from Monday to Friday. Kindly note that recordings of classes will be available upon request. Online participants are expected to adjust their schedules to fully participate in the classes irrespective of the time zones they are in.
4. How to apply
- Application deadline: please complete and send the application form - and a scanned copy of your valid passport - to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 20 June 2023 (selection is carried out on a rolling basis).
- Confirmation of acceptance: the results of the selection process will be communicated via e-mail within 1 week following receipt of the application.
- Payment deadline: full payment has to be finalized within 1 week following confirmation of acceptance (i.e. candidates should provide UNICRI and SIOI with proof of payment via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com).
Download the Application form:
Applicants requiring a VISA (IMPORTANT)
Those applicants requiring a VISA are suggested to submit an early application (preferably by 30 April 2023) and to notify the Summer School’s Administrative Office of this circumstance. The VISA shall be issued by the competent Italian Diplomatic Authorities in the countries of nationality or residence of participants. Please consider that issuance of a VISA by Italian Embassies and Consulates takes approximately 30 days. Neither UNICRI nor SIOI can be held accountable in case of VISA refusal.
5. Registration Fees
In-person modality: 800 Euro.
Online modality: 600 Euro.
Registration fees includes:
- Course material
- Lectures’ recordings (upon request)
6. Cancellation and refunds
In the event of a participant cancellation for any reason, including VISA denial, registration fees will not be refunded.
7. Certificate of participation
Upon attendance of all live webinars and completion of the course activities and assignments, participants will receive a United Nations and SIOI certificate of participation.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – email@example.com (please indicate “Disinformation and Hate Speech” in the subject of the email)
UNICRI: +39 011 6537157 or +39 011 6537111
SIOI: +39 06 6920781