From the Chair: Public relations and the public interest
I find myself in New York during a fateful week: the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that made the term ‘9/11' part of the global lexicon. This indomitable city remembers a grim moment whose legacy defined a decade and divided the world. 9/11 was more than a moment of geopolitical significance; it also heralded some fundamental changes in global communication.
To name just a few: the rise of citizen journalism; the decline in the credibility of traditional sources of authority; the realignment of mass media power structures; the new urgency of crisis preparedness; and, most seriously, the disturbing, widespread perception of a world divided between Western, Islamic, Hindu and East Asian civilizations. 9/11 made cross-cultural communication more challenging - and yet more critical than ever before.
This changed environment brings new relevance and urgency to the roles of public relations and communication management professionals - and to the Global Alliance - as we work to break down barriers through listening, understanding, transparency, tolerance and trust.
Recent months have been busy as our new board pursues its mission. Here are a few highlights:
We are deep into planning for the World Public Relations Forum in Melbourne in November 2012, in partnership with the Public Relations Institute of Australia. Our programming will focus on the challenges and opportunities of communication across traditional borders and boundaries.
In addition to giving delegates an exceptional experience, the GA aims for Melbourne to leave an "advocacy legacy" for the profession -- similar to Stockholm Accords that emerged from the last WPRF in 2010. With this in mind, we will survey GA member associations and interested professionals on their advocacy priorities in the weeks and months ahead.
The GA continues to grow! We are excited to welcome new members from South America, Europe and Africa.
Our new board has launched new committees focused on research and education, communication and member services, and fundraising and finance.
The GA's research and education committee is building exciting partnerships with leading academics and researchers around the world, and we aim to attract a healthy number of academic leaders to Melbourne next year.
We are planning new initiatives in our association management and development program - with the aim of helping both emerging and established PR industry associations share best practices and learn from one another.
In recent months, I have had the privilege of participating - either live or via videoconference -- at GA member events in Australia, Portugal, Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. I'm looking forward to events in Europe this fall, and to speaking at the First Global Congress for Muslim Public Relations Practitioners in Malaysia this December. We are also planning a major Global Alliance event in Brazil in the spring of 2012, and also hope to engage with professionals in Africa.
In these times of economic and social uncertainty, the role of communication and communicators is critical. That's why the growing interdependence and interconnection of our profession should give us reason for optimism.
Daniel Tisch, APR, Fellow CPRS
Chair, Global Alliance for PR and Communication Management