The last two days was a flurry of activity with heaps happening in Dubai as always to the point that I had to take annual leave to fit things in. But most important was the PR World Congress where Lord Tim Bell, Chairman of Chime Communications (Bell Pottinger) spoke to more than 450 delegates in his keynote address ahead of a panel discussion on ‘Public Relations in an Age of Dialogue: Challenges & Opportunities.
We enjoyed his key messages like “Practice good PR, no matter how difficult the circumstances, and you will be OK. After his keynote address, Lord Bell joined a high-profile panel discussion featuring Dr. Herbert Heitmann, Executive Vice President, External Communications, Royal Dutch Shell; Daniel Tisch, Chair, Global Alliance for Public Relations & Communication Management; Khalid Al Maeena, Editor-at-Large, Arab News; and Prema Sagar, Founder President, Public Relations Consultants Association of India.
A familiar face to me was Malaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the opposition People’s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim. He was a key role player in my University in Malaysia (IIU) and my fondest memories included going to his house every Ramadan with International students for ‘buka puasa’ or ‘iftar’ (breaking fast). He is just as eloquent, friendly and a people’s person as I remember him. I wish I wasn’t such a rebel when I was in University but I’m glad I attended all his talks for the very reason that I did my second degree in Islamic Science after completing my PR Bachelors instead of doing my MA in Literary Studies first because he felt that the top students should be given the opportunity to get this qualification so they get the best of both worlds.
Naturally all the sessions at PRWC were insightful. And I had a great time at the workshop on Wednesday – it was worth every penny I paid for it. All I can say is its great that the organisers worked so hard to bring the world congress to our doorstep so we get an opportunity to get exposed to the leaders in the PR industry.
The congress was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with the National Media Council of the UAE, the Public Relations World Congress is organised by the International Public Relations Association – Gulf Chapter (IPRA-GC). And key sponsors of the Congress were Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industry Corporation (SABIC), which have signed up as headline Strategic Partners.
Emirates was the Official Airline of the Congress, while CNN and Al Arabiya TV are the International Broadcast Partners. Dubai Media City was the Industry Partner of the Congress, Bates PanGulf was the Design & Advertising Partner; ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, the Marketing & PR Partner and Media Watch is the Media Intelligence Partner. We have these guys to thank these guys to making this happen for the regional PR industry.