Stock Sharjah skyline residential
The Sharjah skyline. The emirate will host the tenth International Government Communication Forum, organised by Sharjah Government Media Bureau on September 26-27 at Expo Centre Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Sharjah: Promoting a more effective use of communication as an instrument of policymaking and open government will be the highlight of the tenth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), organised by Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), on September 26-27 at Expo Centre Sharjah.

There will be two interactive sessions — one discussing the importance of public involvement in decision-making through government communication channels and the other on the effectiveness of storytelling translating government discourses to communities.

Getting the community involved

Hessa Buhumaid

Hessa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development, will lead an interactive session on the second day of the forum, titled ‘How Does the Community Get Involved in Decision-making?’ The session will not only analyse methodologies and models for public-government communication and their impact, but also highlight how the tonality of government responses can be used in fostering trust between officials and the community.

The session will also reveal statistics on citizens’ participation in policy-making, government decision-making and development of public services. The session will be moderated by Mohammed Al Kaabi, Emirati writer and media professional.

Storytelling for effective communication

According to American psychologist Jerome Bruner, messages delivered to humans in the form of stories are 22 times more memorable than messages delivered in the form of facts. Moderated by Lebanese television presenter Malek Maktabi, a session titled ‘Nature of Storytelling and Function in Discourse’, will review examples of successful storytelling and guide the audience on how to use the technique to develop ideas and strategies.

The discussion will feature Rashed Al Falahi, the UAE’s first chief storytelling officer appointed by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), who has been leveraging his storytelling to translate FANR’s vision into easily understood messages via different methods, social media platforms, videos and events.

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Al Falahi will be joined by Al Saad Al Menhali, editor-in-chief at National Geographic, Nayla Al Khaja, Emirati writer, director, and producer, and Will Storr, author and photographer. They will discuss the role of storytelling in government communication, shed light on ways government departments can improve their storytelling abilities and highlight new and emerging channels and platforms that can capture the attention and interest of the public.