About Words Matter!

The Words Matter! conference will bring together global leaders, researchers, community advocates and youth representatives to discuss and explore ways to combat hate speech, hate crimes, and the exploitation of youth. The conference will include a full day program featuring 20 international speakers from various countries and cultures.

Words Matter! will take place in Oslo, Norway, at the Oslo Congress Centre, on 30th April 2024.

Why Words Matter!

Hate speech is a growing problem worldwide. Whether online or offline, it threatens democracy and human rights. It leads to dangerous divisions in society, affects the lives of the people being targeted, and can generate extremism, radicalization and violence. Young people are most vulnerable to this form of intolerance. 

Atrocity crimes originate from words as drivers of narratives of prejudice, racism and exclusion. These crimes can generate experiences of social isolation, stigma, discrimination and rejection. And they particularly harm young people: they damage their physical and mental well-being and can lead to extremism, radicalization and violence. It is our collective responsibility to address hate speech today to prevent violence tomorrow.  

There is no universal definition of what hate speech is. We need to consider a range of national and local circumstances when discussing it. However, the risk is that by using subjective and inconsistent interpretations, we can weaken collective efforts towards a shared intervention protocol. The development of new governance tools around a standard definition calls for strategic collaboration between countries, media regulatory authorities and citizenship – particularly when tackling online hate speech. 

This conference acknowledges such complexities. It seeks to improve awareness and knowledge of hate speech and its consequences for young people and to increase the knowledge of ways to prevent and combat hate speech, hate crime and hate violence.  

The objectives of the conference:

1

To enable informative, skills-building conversations by world leaders and other experts on the topic of hate speech, hate crime and exploitation of youth.

2

To facilitate international, multicultural, and diverse exchange and learning.

3

To collect a diverse range of perspectives and experiences that can inform development of new governance tools.

“We urge you as the leader of your organisation to join us in this important battle against the escalation of hate speech and for an inclusive society.”

Finn Jarle Rode, Executive Chairman of The Oslo Center

Hosted by The Oslo Center

We will welcome leaders from politics, diplomacy, research, education, religious, humanitarian and democracy assistance organisations to discuss, strategize and develop advocacy tools on the topic of hate speech and radicalisation of youth. 

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