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Open and free to all, the Media and Democracy Summit will take place from May 29-31 at the Queen in Wilmington, Delaware.

Inaugural Media and Democracy Summit

Photo by Evan Krape

Open and free to all, the summit will take place from May 29-31 at the Queen in Wilmington

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Ithaca Initiative at the University of Delaware Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration and the incubator for Media Education and Development (iMEdD) have announced plans to host the inaugural Media and Democracy Summit May 29-31 in Wilmington, Delaware.  

The event, which is open and free to all, will convene a diverse array of journalists, academics and students from across the globe. Its mission is to foster meaningful dialogue around the crucial role of media in democracy while collectively addressing the challenges that citizens encounter within our lives that are shaped by information and technology. 

A selection of confirmed speakers includes CNN senior political analyst and anchor John Avlon; professor, presidential historian and New York Times bestselling author Douglas Brinkley; PBS political commentator and host of “Firing Line” Margaret Hoover; and founder of News Not Noise, Jessica Yellin. 

The SNF Ithaca x iMEdD Media and Democracy Summit will be held at the Queen located at 500 N. Market St, Wilmington, DE 19801. The summit is free to attend. Registration for in-person attendance is available at imedd.org/summit. All sessions will be publicly live-streamed; no registration is required to watch the livestream.

“We live in a mediated world. Democracy is at its best when citizens are informed and engaged, politicians held accountable, and policy is reported on in ways so that people can understand their common challenges plainly,” said Timothy J. Shaffer, Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Chair of Civil Discourse and director of the SNF Ithaca Initiative in the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware. “Media play essential roles in our lives — from entertainment to interpersonal connections, access to essential information. So many challenges we face today, such as political polarization and a fragmented media landscape, means it’s more like multiple mediated public squares rather than some larger sense of collective understanding.”

The summit invites attendees to experience engaging keynote speakers and panelists who will share their expertise and insights, stimulate civil discourse with others, and inspire participants to delve deeper into the issues and challenges facing modern democracies. Sessions will cover media ethics and responsibility, media ownership and pluralism, freedom of the press, technological disruptions, and global perspectives on media and democracy. 

The summit kicks off on May 29 with the SNF Dialogues open discussion “Consumers or Citizens,” exploring the impact of political marketing on democracy. This public speaking event is part of an event series that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) launched recently in the U.S., aiming to encourage inclusive discussions that bridge the gap between passive involvement and active, meaningful participation in civic life.

“In today's complex social landscape, the Media and Democracy Summit serves as a platform for essential conversations between journalists, academics and the public,” said Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou, iMEdD managing director, SNF Dialogues executive director and journalist. “By integrating social science and journalism, we aim to address topics including media ethics and responsibility and technological challenges in the digital era, with the overarching goal of supporting an informed citizenry. Organizations like iMEdD and the SNF Ithaca Initiative are dedicated to empowering citizens and strengthening democratic governance. Through collaborative endeavors, our collective aim is to strive for a more transparent, accountable and inclusive society.”

Open and free to all, the summit is an opportunity to listen, learn and engage with others on issues that affect us all. Additional speakers continue to be added to the agenda, and all sessions will be publicly live-streamed. Check the summit website at imedd.org/summit for the most up-to-date details.

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