Message from the IPRA President: PR in Azerbaijan February 2018


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Midway this month, IPRA endorsed a full-day conference in Baku, Azerbaijan. Billed as the First International Forum on PR Creativity, the conference brought together over 500 participants from the region who came to hear presenters from more than 10 countries worldwide. The topics broke down roughly in two parts: the practice of PR and the practice of education. In-between came some less often debated themes, such as the application of AI and robotics in the communication profession. For an emerging communication market like Azerbaijan, a conference like this is an important step in fostering a dialogue within its political and economic society about the developing role of public relations. IPRA is glad to support such developments and as its President, I took the opportunity to emphasize in my opening remarks for the conference the principles of freedom of information and ethical behaviour which form the raison d’être of our association. The conference in Baku was organised by PRoloq, an education development center, which undertook this early step in anchoring the education of communication more securely in the country.

Furthering friendships

In the margins of the conference I was pleased to also have the opportunity to meet with the budding Azerbaijan PR Association (APRA). Established fairly recently, this national PR body now has over 200 members and is committed to bring professionalism and future direction to its market. In discussing the challenges APRA faces, I was struck by some of the similarities apart from obvious and more striking differences. The efforts in markets by professional organisations to achieve a recognised level of representation of practitioners are very much the same everywhere. IPRA will continue a conversation with the Azerbaijan PR Association with a view towards establishing a cooperation agreement which will bring mutual benefits.

MasterClass in Moscow

Having briefly mentioned education above, let me return to it for a moment. At the moment of writing, I am offering a MasterClass at RANEPA, the Presidential Academy in Moscow, also in my capacity as President of IPRA. This and previous encounters with students during MasterClasses show time and again the overwhelming interest in professional communications among students. This is quite a hopeful sign as is the interest within universities to engage professionals with practical experience to teach their students. I particularly enjoy these encounters for the opportunity they offer to speak about the principles I also mentioned above: quality, ethics and freedom of information.

It will be quite a thing, if one or two of the students we meet this way, will some years from now belong to the then active members of IPRA.

Bart de Vries

President 2016 – 2018

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