Message from the IPRA President: Retrospection and Transition December 2016


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Looking back over the past 11 months, the event which most immediately springs to mind is IPRA’s 2016 Golden World Awards for Excellence Gala in Doha, Qatar. This was special for several reasons. Firstly, it was the first time the Gala has taken place in the Gulf region. It offered the many PR practitioners in this region the opportunity to meet and mingle with professional colleagues from elsewhere in the world. The large presence of IPRA members and communication professionals from elsewhere in the world was the second aspect which made this year’s Gala remarkable. The awarding of the Grand Prix to Philips Breathless Choir - in support of the company’s medical solutions for patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - was a highlight of the Gala evening. Many of you meanwhile may have seen the outdoor and billboard publicity for this campaign. Those of you who haven’t seen the video showcasing the choir should do so on IPRA’s website here. It is truly great.

 

From Russia to Iran

Coming on the heels of IPRA’s Gala were two IPRA endorsed events in two vastly different countries: Russia and Iran. Under the auspice of IPRA’s new Board member Elena Fadeeva, IPRA participated in the Leadership Dialogue Forum which took place in Russia Today’s studio complex in Moscow. This one day event was part of the annual Eventiada Awards in which both communication students and professionals compete in separate categories. It served to manifest once again that awards, no matter how plentiful in any profession, can often be an excellent thermometer to gauge the state-of-the-art of the practice. For the Eventiada Awards, participants have to present before a panel of judges and there is almost no other better way to hone one’s capabilities.

 

Iran boasts no less than two national PR institutes, each of which organises an annual conference with endorsement from IPRA. While the first took place in November, the Kargozar Public Relations Institute is holding its 13th International PR Conference on 8 January 2017, in Tehran. The theme is: ‘Knowledge-based Pubic relations and Content Management’. Registration is still open here. From personal experience, I can testify to the solid theoretical focus in Iranian public relations, as witnessed during its PR conferences.

 

And on to West Africa

Reaching a little further back this year, I recall the annual African Public Relations Association’s conference taking place in Calabar, Nigeria last May. Much of the discussion in between the presentations focussed on the contentious image of Africa and of African countries in the world and how to change the prevailing narrative. The Calabar conference was also the occasion at which Yomi Badejo Okusanya took over the presidency of APRA and I am particularly pleased to say that he has also become a Board member of IPRA as of 2017.

 

IPRA’s Board 2017

Among the new blood, Elena Fadeeva and Yomi Badejo Okusanya are joined as new Board members in 2017 by Enric Ordeix who is a lecturer at Barcelona’s Blanquerna University as well as an Emerson lecturer. Enric has been helpful in promoting IPRA’s re-emergence in contributing to academic learning.

 

This autumn IPRA held elections for its Board among our dues paying IPRA members. I invite you to take a look at the full 2017 IPRA Board on our website www.ipra.org

 

And looking to the future

This year has also seen some changes in the way IPRA is involved in PR events, summits and conferences. We are now more often working together with national and regional conference organizers and have introduced a comprehensive set of involvement levels. This ranges from a simple endorsement and offer of a presentation from the IPRA President or Board member to more detailed support in promotion and marketing of the event via IPRA’s global database on thousands of PR practitioners.

 

For the coming year, we aim to intensify our connection to members on LinkedIn and expand our footprint through partnerships with national and international associations in the communications field.

 

Unusually, the Board has granted me a two year term as IPRA President, so I look forward very much to another year of supporting and speaking about IPRA. On behalf of all members of the IPRA Board and the IPRA Directors I wish you wonderful holidays and a fruitful and healthy New Year.

 

Bart de Vries

President 2016 - 2017

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