Message from our President on the occasion of Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2022

Dear colleagues and friends,

In view of the upcoming Global Media and Information Literacy Week, from 24 to 31 October 2022, initiated by UNESCO in 2012, we invite you to highlight the importance of media and information literacy (MIL), a key to participation in the digital age, a building block for strengthening democracy and digital citizenship. We, as European Seniors’ Union (ESU) invite you to celebrate the progress our societies have made in digital literacy and to underline the need to continue promoting initiatives that ensure digital equality for all. 

The 21st century is characterised by rapidly increasing digitalisation. However, not everyone benefits equally from this. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted unequal access to digital technologies among and within population groups and the digital age gap was increasing. It was clear that media literacy is not just a part of formal education processes in schools, but that everyone must be empowered to participate in the digital age. As the ESU, we shed light on the opportunities and challenges of digital communication, we called on governments and stakeholders to take the necessary measures to engage everyone, including seniors, in an inclusive way in the digital age. 

In line with previous initiatives of the Council of Europe to promote and implement a human rights approach in all age-related policymaking, the Department of Media and Information commissioned em. prof. dr. An Hermans to prepare a report addressing age-related challenges in digitalisation and exploring answers to pressing concerns. This work resulted in a report titled: “The digital era? Also my era! – Media and information literacy: a key to ensure seniors’ rights to participate in the digital era”. It is available in several languages, which can be found on the Council of Europe’s website.

As senior citizens’ associations, we can act as a strong voice for the needs and aspirations of seniors. We hope the report will inspire seniors’ associations and all stakeholders in the field of MIL to take initiatives to ensure the protection of the human rights of seniors in the digital age, by ensuring dignity, autonomy, privacy and free and informed consent for the use of digital technology. In this sense, MIL is not just a useful skill, an ability that can be used by anyone. It is -coupled with freedom of expression- a building block for democracy.

I wish you a fruitful Media and Information Literacy week 2022.

An Hermans 

ESU President


Events in 2022

The Council of Europe: guardian of human rights


On 18 November 2022, a delegation of the European Seniors’ Union undertook a study visit to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Strasbourg: historic city and one of the centres of European policy-making


Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region, has an iconic story for anyone involved in European politics; sometimes in the background but sometimes very close

International conference to commemorate the 40th anniversary of AFAMMER

Ciudad Real - Madrid - Spain

ESU President An Hermans and Secretary-General Guido Dumon participated in the commemoration of 40 years of AFAMMER

Letter of ESU President An Hermans on the United Nations International Day of Older Persons


On the 1 October 2022 we celebrate worldwide the United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP).

“Senior citizens in contemporary Europe, issues and challenges”


From 23 until 25 september we co-organized the International European Educational and Scientific Conference on health care, social care, and new technologies fo

The European house must be built in solidarity


On 14th of September the ESU participated in an event organized at the occasion of the Czech Presidency of the EU Council.

Summer Academy 2022: “Generations master the future of a changing Europe together”

Politische Akademie, 1120 Vienna

After three years, nearly 60 people from all over Europe met at the Politische Akademie in Vienna for the ESU Summer Academy.

The digital Era? Also my era! Media and Information Literacy: a key to ensure seniors’ rights to participate in the digital era


An Hermans was invited by the Council of Europe to compile an informative brochure on the subject of digital literacy within the senior generation.

‘What does the Green Deal mean for our way of life?’ - ESU & CDA Side Event


This side-event concerning ‘What does the Green Deal mean for our way of life?’ during EPP Congress in Rotterdam

EPP Congress Rotterdam: 31 May - 1 June


ESU intervention at the Congress and Election of Manfred Weber as EPP President and EPP leadership

ESU Northern and Baltic Countries Regional Conference: Life with Covid-19


ESU Northern and Baltic Countries Regional Conference took place from 19-21 May; the central theme was: 'Life with Covid-19; new tasks & challenges for seniors.

Solidarity with Ukraine


In early April, Volodymyr Dzobak contacted ESU President An Hermans. The interest grew to get to know Mr. Dzobak and his organization better.

29 April: European Day of Solidarity between generations


ESU takes part every year in this awareness-raising campaign in order to draw attention to the concept of intergenerational solidarity and cooperation.

17.03.2022 ESU Video meeting on “War, tensions and threats at European borders"


On 17 March we had our video conference on ‘War, tensions and threats at the European borders - How can the EU react? / What can citizens expect?”