Choose Your Future Won International Competition with Campaign that Challenges Radicalisation
The U.S. Department of State and Facebook collaborated to organise a competition targeted at universities around the world with the aim to discover new means for decreasing the attractiveness of extremist organisations, particularly by utilising social media.
In the photo are the representatives of the Choose Your Future project, Matti Sahi, Joonas Lyytikäinen, Susanna Lahtinen, Mikael Orpana and Tommi Pirilä at the competition finale. The team will continue its trip around the USA for the following ten days, presenting the project as well as university education in both Turku and Finland at local universities, including UC Berkeley, California.
The Choose Your Future project of the students of Turku School of Economics has won the international Facebook Global Digital Challenge (P2P: Challenging Extremism), which sought campaigns that challenge extremism developed and implemented by students in higher education institutions. The competition was organised by the U.S. Department of State, EdVenture Partners and Facebook. The project started out as a group assignment of 49 students at the Strategic Brand Management course in marketing lead by Joni Salminen and Ulla Hakala.
45 universities from around the world took part in the competition. The competition was divided into two parts. The three best teams were selected into both parts to participate in finals held in Washington at the beginning of February. The team from Turku School of Economics was awarded as the best of the Facebook Global Digital Challenge competition, which sought both the best overall campaign as well as the team best at utilising Facebook.
Model Attracts Interests around the World
Together with Funzi, a startup company from Espoo, the students developed the About Turku mobile application providing asylum seekers with useful information about their new hometown in their own mother tongue. During the project, the students also set up a Facebook community enabling local residents and asylum seekers to discuss and learn about each other's cultures. In addition, Choose Your Future organised different events: a friendship football match between asylum seekers and Finns and collecting clothing for reception centres. Furthermore, the students organised a food event as a part of the international restaurant day in November 2015.
‒ On its own, distribution of information does not solve the challenge of integration, as this also requires a lot of interaction, i.e. encounters of local residents and asylum seekers both online and face to face. In practice, this means things such as telling asylum seekers about our Facebook group and our events calendar and encouraging them to join volunteer and recreational activities by providing information about these topics in our application, says Tommi Pirilä, the leader of the Choose Your Future project.
Both Facebook and the U.S. Department of State have expressed a preliminary interest in providing funding for the project in order to expand the model both in Finland and Europe.
‒ The competition organisers considered each sub-area of the campaign to function well and particularly valued how these had been integrated to support one another. We are looking forward to their proposal on possible continuation of this campaign, Pirilä says.
Photo: Tommi Pirilä