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 three-day Congress is organised by the International Public Relations Association – Gulf Chapter (IPRA-GC) and will present the newest insights and trends in communications.
In a survey conducted by PRWeek, the industry’s foremost periodical, Burson was described as “the century’s most influential PR figure.” This recognition is a culmination of more than six decades serving as counsellor of corporate CEOs, government leaders and heads of public sector institutions. The Founding Chairman of Burson-Marsteller, Burson is a singular figure in the world of Public Relations, having won numerous industry honours, supporting an array of organisations and charities, and serving as a mentor to countless communications professionals.
Building on the core theme of the Congress, ‘From the Arab Street to Wall Street, Communications in the Age of Dialogue,’ Burson will deliver his keynote address on ‘Public Relations in Perspective’ at a special session, ‘An Hour with a Living Legend’ on March 14, 2012, from 4 pm. The speech will be followed by a Q&A session with the Congress delegates.
According to Burson, Public Relations is inherent in every human transaction including “the smile on our face, the tone of our voice and the letter we write, how quickly we respond to telephone calls, the typefaces and colours in an advertisement, the body language of the politician seeking our vote.”
He is the architect of the modern definition of Public Relations: “An applied social science that influences behaviour and policy, and when communicated effectively, motivates an individual or group to a specific course of action by creating, changing or reinforcing opinions and attitudes.”
Burson has served as US Presidential appointee to the Fine Arts Commission, Washington; Chairman of the National Council on Economic Education; trustee of The Economics Club of New York; Chairman of the USIA Public Relations Advisory Committee; and board member of the World Wildlife Fund (Geneva).
Faisal Al Zahrani, the President of IPRA-GC, said: “It is an honour to host Harold Burson, a true pioneer in the field of Public Relations, at the Congress. By sharing with the delegates his vast experience in providing consultancy to governments and businesses over 65 years, Burson will introduce unmatched insights on the industry to the Middle East region.”
Other speakers at the Congress include Malaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the opposition People’s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim; British public relations guru and Chairman of Chime Communications Lord Bell; former head of Al Jazeera and co-founder of the Sharq Forum, Wadah Khanfar; General Manager of Al Arabiya TV, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed and Roger Fisk, who played a key ‘behind the scenes role’ in the election of US President Barack Obama; and many others.
Over 500 PR professionals are expected to attend the PRWC, where they will have the opportunity to participate in Master Classes and Training Workshops, creating a compelling platform for information sharing and knowledge transfer.
A biennial event, the last Public Relations World Congress was held in 2010 in Lima, Peru, and attended by industry representatives from 39 countries, while the 2008 Public Relations World Congress was held in Beijing, China. In both instances, the event brought significant media and industry attention to the host country, with the world’s foremost communications professionals and media experts attending the sessions. The first Congress was held in Brussels, Belgium, in 1955.
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