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Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos offers a press conference at Narino presidential palace in Bogota. Image Credit: AFP

Sharjah: Nobel Laureate Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia and recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, will lead a group of 64 global thinkers and experts from 16 countries who will speak at the 9th International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) happening on March 4–5 at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Santos, recognised as one of the most influential leaders in the world and featured in 2017 by the World Economic Forum as Statesman of the Year, will deliver a speech on the topic ‘Reputation Management: Actions Speak Louder than Words’.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, chairman of Sharjah Media Council discusses IGCF Angel Tesorero

Other distinguished global figures at the IGCF include Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada; Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder and chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global; and Dr. Michio Kaku, bestselling author and theoretical physicist and futurist, who will talk about ‘Communication: A Tool to Free the Mind’s Powers’

Other notable speakers include Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, president and patron of the Arab Thought Forum; Dr. Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State, Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Chairman of the National Media Council, UAE; Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Enas Abdel Dayem, Egyptian Minister of Culture; Irina Bokova, President of the Academy for Cultural Diplomacy, Director-General of UNESCO, Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and Fahim Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, Sharjah.

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Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council Image Credit: Supplied

The two-day global forum will be attended by participants from 16 countries, including the Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine, Bulgaria, USA, Canada, UK, Colombia and India.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council (SMC), said: “While our focus in the previous editions had been on Sharjah, our goals are now global and more expansive, and aligned with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to transform the Emirate as a role model of government communication.”

“This is reflected in the forum’s agenda which serve as a roadmap for communication professionals to advance their skills and is a carefully-designed to build on the previous editions’ experiences and accomplishments,” he added.

Al Qasimi underlined: “The rapidly changing global communications landscape reinforces the need to create an enabling environment to develop and maintain effective government communication as it influences the reputation of governments and organisations in the international arena.”

Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), said the forum is based on four pillars of effective communication: Embedding a culture of engagement in government; Technology as a community enabler; Communication through culture; and Wholistic wellbeing.

A youth forum will also be held in cooperation with the Arab Youth Centre to highlight the role of government communication in nurturing and supporting young generations.

Moreover, ahead of the two-day forum, on March 3, IGCF will host a ‘Communications Chat’ session, which will be centred around strategies for developing effective government communication at Sheraton Sharjah. Participating in this session will be Major General Saif Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Dr Khalid Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City; and HE Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Director General of Sharjah Women’s Sports.

9th International Government Communication Forum

  • When: March 4–5
  • Where: Expo Centre Sharjah
  • Free and open to the public
  • 64 global thinkers and experts from 16 countries
  • 57 diverse activities and sessions