Communicaton sciences at Sophia

Three theses, three ways to inform oneself and inform

di Cristina Montoya

The laurel crown, the toast, the final grade of a degree show a scenario full of potential. However, they do not always manifest what preceded that moment, the deep meaning of the paths that led to that result where the studied disciplines meet existential questions along with the uniqueness and talents of each student.

Adelard Kananira from Burundi, Teresa Gornall from Australia and Melissa Mejia from Colombia are three graduates of this session at the Sophia University Institute. They have studied communication and decided to enrich their background with a master’s degree in economic and political studies. They have shared an academic career full of vitality and challenges, important questions about the conception and the role of communication in understanding today’s world, its political and governance processes and all the processes that favour or impede integration and the encounter between people.

Adelard Kananira comes from a country with a history marked by deep ethnic divisions. He delved into the role of political communication in creating one’s identity. In his thesis “Political communication in enhancing East African collective identity: promotion of Swahili in Burundi and Uganda as a case study” he analyses the East African community and studies the way it can become an identity reference point for the members of the countries that belong to it. As he stated «the idea of writing this thesis came to my mind after attending the intercultural communication course during the first year of the master at Sophia. The concept of identity has always been very strict as far as I was concerned. To me, it meant something close to me, a family, a nation and a culture. Meeting students from other cultural backgrounds enabled me to explore the role that regional integration can play for citizens».

Teresa Gornall left from Australia to get to Sophia. There, she obtained a Baccalaureate in media and sociology and was politically active. She took part in the seminar “Humanity 4.0, towards the communities of the future” organized with NetOne dealing with major issues concerning the digital world surrounding us and the growing ethical and political challenges it poses to individuals and countries. Thanks to such seminar, she decided to explore “how” we interact with each other online studying how and with whom we interact online. Her research resulted in a study “The disembodied self: finding recognition in a digital world and the danger of the non-Encounter” where she examined in depth the tendency of individuals to limit their online activities to interactions with people that think like them. She also delved into the ability of social media platforms to favour conformism and absorb human and social prejudices and distribute them on a large scale.

Medellín is an increasingly innovative city of Colombia. This is where Melissa Mejia comes from. At Sophia, Melissa attended the Economics and Management programme. As a company communication enthusiast, she wrote a thesis with the title: “Sostenibilidad comunicativa y empresa”. In her study, she explores the challenge of combining communication and sustainability in the business environment. As she stated: «we need to find the right way to be really sustainable. We need a communication sustainability where every relationship, role and process is backed by the right flows of information and focused on how each person contributes with its work». According to this idea, communication is not only a process generating diffusive contents, but also the core of the creation of relationships, therefore, the core of all human organizations, including companies.

The intrinsic potential of an academic programme like the one provided by Sophia is the interdisciplinarity given by the encounter between cultures. This broadens one’s horizons and ensures a special ability to see the relationships supporting and giving life to different entities.