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Anti-Cyberbullying Video Contest Winners to Meet Wikipedia Founder

SCS Cyber Civility Story

Technology management students, from left, Aswathi Kunnath (G’12), Rui Manuel (G’11), Minjeong Cho (G’11) and Saurabh Rohatgi (G’11) will have dinner with Wikipedia founder James Wales and CiviliNation founder Andrea Weckerle as a prize for their videos against online harassment.

June 3, 2011 – One graduate student and three Georgetown alumni will meet with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales June 13 as winners of a video contest sponsored by a Georgetown graduate program and CiviliNation.

The winners’ prize is a private dinner with Wales and Andrea Weckerle, founder of CiviliNation, a nonprofit devoted to minimizing bullying, hate speech and other forms of harassment across online platforms.

Wales is a member of the nonprofit’s board of directors. Both will speak on campus about online civility before the private dinner.

Dangerous Bullying

James Wales

James Wales, founder of Wikipedia

The winners – Aswathi Kunnath (G’12), Rui Manuel (G’11), Minjeong Cho (G’11) and Saurabh Rohatgi (G’11) – are all students or alumni of the master’s in professional studies in technology management program run by Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS).

They each recorded a video of themselves talking about cyber civility.

“I wanted to emphasize how bad cyberbullying can be to the victims and how it can even lead to death,” Cho said of her video, in which she explains her views about the topic.

She said that in her native South Korea, many celebrities suffer from severe depression because of malicious online comments and rumors and that several young female celebrities killed themselves several years ago.

Raising Awareness

“I strongly believe that this tragedy should never happen again so I am taking a stand for cyber civility,” Cho said.

Kunnath said being recognized for her video “ means a lot to me.”

“Younger generations are learning to use the Internet much earlier,” she said, “which is why a healthy online environment is important and essential in preventing cyberbullying. I hope my video will raise awareness and inspire others to take a stand and put a stop to these hateful and harmful acts.”

Taking a Stand

The technology management program and CiviliNation asked students in School of Continuing Studies programs to submit 15- to 30-second videos promoting online civility, responsible online engagement and free speech worldwide.

About 50 students ended up submitting videos.

Technology management students and alumni Phuong Nguyen (G‘11), Maura Imparato (G’12) and Kevin McDonald (G‘11) led the project as a gift to the technology management program, which had its first graduating class this past May.

Georgetown Values

“Our program in technology management is new, so it’s good for me to see that our students saw Georgetown’s values and missions within something like technology,” said Beverly Magda, associate dean of the program.

Students in SCS’s master’s programs in public relations and journalism also contributed to the project by promoting the contest and helping participants record their videos.

Digital Discourse

“The Internet gives everyone the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with others around the world,” Weckerle said when asked about the project, “but when people are put in fear or threatened with being the target of abuse, harassment or lies, they are effectively shut down and silenced.”

View the winning videos.

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