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Campbell to speak at Public Diplomacy Forum

Initiative aims to support government organisations in optimising communication strategies

Gulf News

Dubai: Alastair Campbell, former Downing Street press secretary and director of communication and strategy for Tony Blair, former UK prime minister, will be a speaker at the Public Diplomacy and Government Communication Forum (PDGCF) that will be held on March 12 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The Government of Dubai Media Office announced the agenda for the forum on Sunday.

PDGCF is a new initiative that aims to support government organisations in optimising their communication strategies through a discussion of global best practices and success stories from around the world.

Cambell will discuss how governments can be prepared to manage communications during major crises, drawing from the communication failures and successes of crises such as 9/11.

In a plenary session titled Communicating the Leadership’s Vision: The UAE Experience, Lt Gen Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, will speak on the UAE’s experience in effectively communicating the leadership’s vision and strategy to various audiences.

In another plenary session titled Public Diplomacy and International Affairs, Abdul Latif Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, for the Arab states of the Gulf will share his perspectives on how strategic public diplomacy and communication can support governments in navigating today’s political and economic realities.

The session will also feature addresses by Josh Earnest, the former White House press secretary and Mona Al Merri, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office.

Meanwhile, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Tom Fletcher, former UK Ambassador to Lebanon and Adviser at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, will examine how advances in digital technology are changing the way foreign policy and diplomatic issues are being dealt with.

“The topics that the forum will address have been carefully chosen to ensure the event will discuss the most pressing strategic issues that we encounter today in the practice of public diplomacy and government communication. The sessions seek to capture the latest advances and thinking in the evolving fields of public diplomacy and communication to deliver real-world examples and practical insights on how governments can enhance their strategies in these vital areas,” Al Merri said.

Two main sessions will also be devoted to crisis communication, one by Campbell, and the other by Paulo Portas, former deputy prime minister of Portugal.

Portas will look at how governments can use communication to defuse uncertainty in the aftermath of a financial crisis, drawing from the lessons learned from recent financial crises.

In a session focused on international trade, Sultan Bin Sulayem , Chairman of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation will talk about how international relationships based on mutual trust and respect have been instrumental to the growth of the UAE’s trading sector.

Among other speakers at the forum will be Dr Howard Clark, President of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy; Bernardino Leon, global counter-terrorism expert; Aaron Sherinian, Chief Communication and Marketing Officer of the UN Foundation, and Saeed Al Eter, Director-General of the Public Diplomacy Office.

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