Our young person for the month is Jean Linis-Dinco from Philippines. Jean is a Filipino human rights activist, academic, and data scientist. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at UNSW Canberra, focusing on the computational analysis of government propaganda and online disinformation in the context of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar using a revised version of Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model.
Read her amazing story below and be inspired!
Jean Linis-Dinco is extremely passionate about digital human rights particularly the impact of disinformation on political violence. Jean’s work in the field of technology and human rights was acknowledged in 2022 when she was awarded by the Women in AI Ethics™ (WAIE) as one of the top 100 Women in Artificial Intelligence Ethics globally. Her past research has looked into HIV/AIDS related reports in the Philippines and the impact of securitisation on marginalised communities in Indonesia. John has written articles for the Shape-Sea in Thailand, I-Fair in Germany and the global campus of Human Rights in Italy. Jean has worked as a public information consultant for the United Nations office of the high commissioner for human rights.
On How She Began
Jean has been interested in the intersection of human rights and machine learning for as far back as she can remember. The use of machine learning tools to simulate and analyse social phenomena best fits her academic and career aspirations and she has always been interested in what is happening around the globe and in finding ways to settle international conflicts through machine learning-based peace building. As a woman in STEM, Jean knows that it is her calling to spark awareness and raise these kinds of issues that are often invisible in my field.
Being born and raised in the Philippines, Jean has seen how disinformation can ruin the foundation of a country’s democracy—as evidenced in the recent 2022 Philippine presidential elections. The revival of the authoritarian Marcos regime not only threatens the fundamental freedoms of Filipino, but it also promotes the idea globally the authoritarianism can win again. Jean believes that the greatest challenge of her generation is to win back their democracy.
On Her Successes
Her work at ILGA Asia is focused on the intersection of Machine Learning ethics and peace and human rights and she has actually been invited to speak at the upcoming RightsCon 2022 about the mitigation of algorithmic biases in the Global South.
In 2022, Jean was awarded a European Commission Ambassadorship to represent the Philippines in One Young World Summit in Manchester, UK to raise awareness of her work in propaganda studies. In the same year, she became a Salzburg Media fellow and also won the Oxford-United Nations Youth Challenge Award for her project on gamifying human rights education in the Philippines.
In 2014, Jean directed Rainbow X—a film about the rising gender-based hate crimes in the Philippines. The short film, which won the highest award from the International Association of Business Communicator in 2014, described how gender-based violence happens everywhere from the streets to the sheets. From discussing gender rights in her hometown to being interviewed on an international cable television news show, doors have genuinely opened to give Jean the opportunity to unbolt the minds of her fellow countrymen about the rising cases of gender-related hate crimes.
In 2018, she was selected as a Global Innovator for the Human Rights Campaign Global Innovative Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C. where she spoke about the role of film in raising awareness of human rights violations.
In 2015, her poster won at Inclusive Growth Poster Contest sponsored by Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development. My poster was displayed during the Ministerial Council Meeting in Helsinki Finland and in 2017, her artwork was featured together with other 44 billboard-sized posters in Florida USA. The Exhibit was on display through from December to 15 March 2017 and you can view it here
On Her Challenges
As a young human rights activist, Jean has found that ageism and sexism were the greatest obstacles she faced. Several times, my ideas were disregarded because she lacked years of expertise to support them. And this is dreadful, as you typically discover that the folks in the room are not even the brightest. However, she continued to pursue her goals. Regardless of whether there is a seat for her at the table, Jean is determined to bring her own chair.
Her Words of Advice For The Youth
Keep up the incredible work you’ve done thus far, but don’t neglect your own needs in the process. Every day, everyone of us is waging our own personal wars and fighting our own personal battles. Therefore, ensure that you take care of yourself, take a break, and pause to reflect. Though it may be easier said than done, remember that no work is worth jeopardising your emotional and physical well-being.
The Plight of Filipina Domestic Workers in Times of COVID-19, a paper on The Impact of Securitisation On Marginalised Groups in The Asia Pacific, and a chapter in the book, Southeast Asian Human Rights and Peace Outlook 2018
Who will be the next Young Person of the Month?
You can be the next Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month! All you have to do is get a friend to recommend your work or fill out the nomination form here. We want to use the platform to recognize and celebrate the efforts of amazing young people around the world. Oh! And you must be an active Opportunity Desk member, either as a fan, reader, or subscriber! Share!