Stock Sharjah skyline
The Sharjah skyline. The tenth edition of the International Government Communication Forum on September 26-27 at Expo Centre Sharjah will host two vital brainstorming sessions. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Sharjah: The tenth edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) on September 26-27 at Expo Centre Sharjah will host two vital brainstorming sessions to catalyse conversations around the lessons learnt from crucial government communication strategies over the years and determine the expertise required to cope with future demand.

The two-day global summit will be held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

In the presence of leading global thinkers, top government officials and communication experts from the Arab region and the world, the discussions will highlight the vital questions that experts seek answers to for developing a blueprint for an effective communication model.

A panel discussion on September 26 titled ‘The efficacy of communication messages — A cross-disciplinary collaboration involving behavioural science and data analytics’ will look closely at the changes resulting from digital transformation and the challenges and opportunities it has since thrown up. The session will also address how to integrate new sciences into communication departments and develop a general framework for the needs of current and future government communication professionals to achieve an effective level of public communication by involving experts from a variety of fields.

The distinguished panel includes Saeed Mohammad AlEter, Head of the UAE Government Media Office, and Director-General of the Executive Office in Dubai, who developed the Federal Government’s general communication strategy and championed the development of strategic government communication guidelines within the UAE Government, Dr Abdullah bin Ahmed Al-Maghlouth, Acting Minister of Media and Director General of the Centre for Government Communication in Saudi Arabia, and David Halpern, Chief Executive of Behavioural Insights Team, a United Kingdom-based global consulting firm.

The panel discussion on September 27, titled ‘The future relevance of government communication tools: An assessment’ will be part of the main programming agenda at IGCF 2021, which will be hosted by Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications. Sakher Marwan Dudin, Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of Estonia (2006-2016), and Sir Craig Oliver, veteran British editor, producer and media executive, who served as Director of Politics and Communication for former British Prime Minister David Cameron, will be among the participants. Pulse 95 presenter Sally Mousa will moderate the session.

Al Olama, the Managing Director of the World Government Summit, who spearheads UAE’s efforts to grow into a global leader in the digital economy, will lead an expert assessment of the commonly-used tools and platforms and highlight opportunities and challenges in government communication.

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The question that government communication teams face globally is whether they have the right structure in place for a modern communications function and whether they have the latest tools and guidance to effectively evaluate the situation.

Over the years, though the communications profession has changed dramatically, this question remains valid and is one that all government communicators should regularly ask themselves. As a function and profession, government communication practises must constantly evolve, anticipate and keep pace with technological changes, be audience-focused and demonstrate its effectiveness. These discussions will provide a blueprint for shaping such an effective and future-ready government communications strategy.