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Kofi Annan to speak at Sharjah GCF
By Imran Mojib January 29, 2013
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SHARJAH: Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and former Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Mousa will lead the team of celebrity speakers to the second Sharjah Government Communication Forum (GCF), which will be held from Feb.24-25 in Sharjah.

Among other luminaries to attend the two-day international meet are UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Jordan’s former prime minister Samir Rifai, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, Campaign Manager of Barack Obama’s re-election campaign Jim Messina and Martin Luther King III — human rights advocate, community activist and political leader.

Organised by Sharjah Media Centre for the second consecutive year, the event will highlight the necessity to demonstrate flexibility of civil movement witnessed across the globe in general and the Arab world in particular.

Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said that enhancing government communication is not only a local or Arab matter, but is pertinent to all governments around the world — even if the factors influencing them are different.

“Civil movement, whether political, economic, social, or humanitarian, is witnessed across the world. Such protests have placed pressure on governments to think of creative ways of communication with people and on how to respond positively to their demands, questions, concerns, and possible fears.

“There is a clear need to extend more support to governments that are committed to stimulating and developing relations with their people. The philosophy is clearly endorsed by Sharjah,” he added.

Osama Samra, director of Sharjah Media Centre, said that the government communication practices face a number of challenges in the Arab region, including a lack of dedicated communication departments in some government agencies, and the integration of public relations with government communication. He pointed out that the government communication is a subject on the global agenda, as political, economic and social events take place all over the world.

The forum will feature ten sessions including four panel discussions, two case studies and two special discussion sessions along with two influential speakers.

The first day’s sessions will revolve around the topic “Have the rules of government communication changed?”, and discuss the founding structure of successful communication units across the world, where government communication is centred around observing, listening, engaging, communicating and connecting.

The two workshops on the first day will discuss the rules of communication in addition to introducing the key elements that must be incorporated into government communication structures. Those workshops aim to equip participants with practical, transferable skills that can be applied to achieve the desired results and support the overall vision of their organisations.

During the second day’s sessions, GCF will highlight the best practices in government communication across the world.  Sessions will discuss practical elements that contribute to building successful government communication units.

GCF 2013 is expected to witness the participation of more than 1,000 leading senior executives, political and media figures, prominent communication experts and government communication professionals from government departments to media students.

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