Nasser Al Jessmi, Vice President of the UAE Chapter of IPRA-GC
The 2011 International Public Relations Association Gulf Chapter (IPRA-GC) Conference, a two-day gathering of more than 200 regional and international communications professionals and media, opened in Abu Dhabi, yesterday Wednesday, April 13.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works and Chairman of the National Media Council, and hosted by IPRA-GC, the conference theme is “Reputation Management: Emerging Trends, Changing Dynamics.”
Taking place at The Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi, the keynote sessions are being moderated by Tim Sebastian, former BBC journalist and founder of the internationally renowned Doha Debates.
As well as reputation management, topics on the first day of the conference include: next practices in PR, the love-hate relationship between media and the PR industry, and the role of communications in addressing issues relating to family businesses. The second day addresses diverse subjects such as the importance of the Gulf In global public affairs and the power of communications in the digital age.
“The financial crisis and the recent wave of protests that have swept the region have put reputations on the line in the Middle East as never before,” Sebastian said. “This conference represents a signal opportunity for communications professionals to discuss and debate the ways in which governments and businesses can respond to these unprecedented challenges to the status quo.”
Mishal Kanoo, Deputy Chairman of the Kanoo Group, who is participating in the IPRA-GC Conference, said: “Gulf companies are well aware of the power of a good reputation. In fact, through practices such as ‘name lending,’ many businesses used to get by on reputation alone. With some of those reputations now permanently tarnished, businesses need to wake up to the fact that a name alone isn’t enough. A good reputation now depends on proper corporate governance and transparent communications.”
Opening the conference, Faisal Al Zahrani, President of IPRA-GC, said: “As communicators, the issues we discuss here today are of vital importance to our clients, including businesses and governments. Indeed, the role of communication itself has never been more critical. The way we communicate on behalf of our clients will shape their future – and ours.”
“We are extremely pleased to host this conference here in the UAE, which has emerged as a global communications and media hub, and as a centre of excellence for the public relations profession,” said Nasser Al Jessmi, Vice President of the UAE Chapter of IPRA-GC. “The 2011 IPRA-GC Conference represents a unique opportunity for regional public relations consultants, in-house communications professionals, business leaders and the media to better understand each other by engaging in a sustained dialogue about the challenges we face and opportunities we must seize.”
The 2011 IPRA-GC Conference is sponsored by the National Media Council. Saudi Aramco is serving as strategic partner for this event, which is also supported by Abu Dhabi Chamber and Etihad Airways.