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Priyanka Chopra Image Credit: AFP

Sharjah: Mysteries of the human mind and robots taking over communications are among the discussion topics under the high-profile International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) in Sharjah, scheduled from Wednesday to Thursday.

His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, will witness the opening ceremony on Wednesday.

In a statement on Tuesday, Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qasimi, Chairman, Sharjah Media Council (SMC), said: “Every edition of the IGCF is a step forward in building an advanced government communication system that supports the aspirations of our peoples, strengthens their relationship with government organisations, and is attuned to the needs and demands of the Arab culture. By maximising efforts to make the forum a successful event every year, Sharjah has strengthened its role in launching and facilitating key development initiatives to achieve progress and prosperity and has cemented its position as a regional leader in government communication.”

Leading thinkers and government officials from around the world will present keynotes and partake in panel discussions to highlight the communication challenges and opportunities in an age of technological disruption and globalisation.

IGCF, to be held at Expo Centre, will also host 20 interactive platforms and workshops.

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Visitors at last year's International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) at Sharjah Expo Centre in Sharjah Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan, Gulf News

Speaking from experience

On Tuesday, a day before the forum, there will be session titled ‘Communications Chat’ at Al Majaz Amphitheatre, with the participation of Major General Saif Al Zari Shamsi, Commander in Chief of Sharjah Police, where speakers will present their experiences in government communications.

On its opening day, IGCF will see futurist Dr Michio Kaku deliver an interactive speech on ‘Communication: A Tool to Free the Powers of the Mind’.

Other leading personalities who will kick off the forum’s proceedings include Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, President of Arab Thought Forum, through a recorded video; and Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia (2010-2018) and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

These introductory addresses will be followed by a ‘Fireside Chat’ featuring internationally acclaimed actor-producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who will speak on the influence of visual media on international public opinion, moderated by Raya Abirached.

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Dr Michio Kaku Image Credit: Supplied

National reputation

Irina Bokova, President of Academy for Cultural Diplomacy and Director-General of UNESCO (2009-2017); and Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, UAE, will steer conversations on cultural communication as an engine driving prosperity and strengthening reputation of nations.

On the second day, proceedings will begin with a keynote by the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, social activist, Governor General of Canada from 2005–10, and Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie from 2014–18.

Transformative power

Also, renowned entrepreneur and author Moataz Mashal will deliver a motivational speech revealing strategies for individual transformation.

Charles Duhigg, a Pulitzer-prize winning American reporter and non-fiction author, will share his ideas on ‘The Power of Changing Habits’, which he says is one of the best-kept secrets of well-being.

Rise of the machines

Gemmaine Walsh, Director of Communications Group at the Department for Education, UK, will highlight the British experience in adopting advanced technologies in the field of communication and in preparing for the age of machine learning in the session titled, ‘New Technologies Strengthening Communication: Is There Room for Humans?’

Environmental threats

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE, and Dr Rashid Alleem, Chairman, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, will lead an interactive panel discussion on ‘The Equation of Survival’ to address climate change.

Organised by International Government Communication Centre, a subsidiary of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau, the two-day forum will be held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.