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The best of times and the worst of times

December 4, 2013

 

Anne Gregory, Global Alliance Chair

Being part of a global community of public relations and communication management professionals brings with it enormous privileges and sadness too.

 

For the first time we have been approached by colleagues in a country in South East Asia to help them set up a professional association from scratch. Immediately, two of our existing member associations nearby have volunteered to mentor them and will guide them through the many complex arrangements this will involve. They will need to think through a number of large issues such as governance arrangements, setting up membership categories and attracting members, developing a range of services and all with a small, volunteer staff. 

 

This is a very exciting development for the Global Alliance and it is gratifying to see that as the Alliance itself broadens its range of offerings for smaller and emerging associations (one of my personal objectives for my time as Chair), we detect a real appetite for the professionalisation of our industry in parts of the world that are 

rapidly growing. The globalised, modern world demands public relations activity and the opportunity to help establish a new association founded on ethical principles and using the best practice that other associations are so willing to share is indeed an enormous privilege.

 

On the other hand, we have observed with horror the effects of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Of course we have reached out to the local association who have been very generous in acknowledging our offers of help and are glad of the support of colleagues around the world. However, as a global body we know it has been individual professionals and organisations that have responded effectively and with compassion and that the role of associations like the Global Alliance is always going to be limited. One of GAs objectives is to be an advocate for the whole profession and I believe that we as a global community should demonstrate how communication professionals play an essential and often unrecognised role in such awful situations. So, if you are aware of exceptional work done by public relations professionals, either as individuals or for their organisations in connection with this disaster, I would like to hear of them. Public relations can be a powerful force for good in society and it is in dreadful situations such as these that we should acknowledge the contribution and courage of our fellow professionals.