Message from the IPRA President: Moments of pride July 2023
2 months, 4 weeks ago
Hello, dear PR enthusiasts from all over the world. In my previous messages I have asked you to think about yourself, who you are and what your purpose is as a communicator. These are questions that concern your being and your self-esteem. I am convinced that for a good communicator in the corporate world and in private life, it is important to know oneself and what one stands for.
There are a lot of self-help books out there that, often amateurishly, give you tips on how to improve those things that you are not happy with such as your leadership skills, your ability to empathise, or your state of fitness. But why should we make someone else responsible for our existence? Why do we so rarely empower ourselves? We know ourselves best because we are the authors of the story of our selves.
Pride in many forms
In my June message, I said how proud I am to be President of IPRA. One reason is because IPRA was instrumental 30 years ago in establishing the third of May as World Press Freedom Day. In many countries, June is Pride month, celebrated by the LGBTQAI+ community with parades and events. Pride dates back to the late 1960s when homosexuals were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. There was a pivotal moment when the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York, was raided by police on 28 June 1969. The raid sparked a movement. As Pride developed so did its symbol. In 1978, the American artist Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag, with its spectrum from red to violet inspired by the effect of sunlight on raindrops. Initially symbolising aspects of life, the colours came to reflect both the diversity and the unity of the gay community.
Little I am me
I remember a children’s book by the Austrian writer Mira Lobe, born in 1913 in Görlitz, Silesia, who, as a Jew, wasn’t allowed to pursue her dream of becoming a writer and was forced to emigrate to Palestine in 1936. She returned to Vienna in 1950 and wrote many children’s books. One in particular is close to my heart: Das kleine Ich bin ich (The little I-am-Me), which won the Austrian Children’s and Youth Book Prize in 1972. The story is about a colourful something in search of its identity. Could it be, I wonder, that Mira Lobe felt the urge to let children know that the way they are is unique and perfectly alright? If you have children or grandchildren, look out for this book. Mira Lobe’s website with some translations of the book is here. It plants a seed that grounds people – something we desperately need in these crazy times. We require more people who are who they are and do not fulfil the expectations of others.
Now let me ask you: what are you proud of?
In a few days the IPRA judges will gather in London, UK, for the final judging of the Golden World Awards for Excellence in PR. There are 205 finalists. If you are one of them, congratulations to you and your team. And if you are to be a GWA winner – even more congratulations. I look forward to seeing all winners and their friends at the GWA Gala in Barcelona, Spain on 20 October. It will be another moment of pride.
Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua PhD
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