Sharjah: Sharjah Media Centre (SMC), the media arm of Sharjah Government and organiser of the annual International Government Communication Forum, has announced that a total of five eminent Emirati, Arab and international public figures in the fields of media, politics, administration, law and youth development will headline important sessions as guests of honour at the fifth edition of the forum (IGCF 2016).

The guests of honour at the upcoming edition will include Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of National Media Council; Amal (Alamuddin) Clooney, lawyer, human rights activist and author; Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Shamma Suhail Al Mazroui, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs; and Christopher Gardner, American entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author and philanthropist.

In his keynote address at the opening session, Al Jaber will share the National Media Council’s perspectives on government communication and offer an overview of the enabling platform provided by the council to step up communication and interaction among government institutions to ensure they convey central and coherent messages from the UAE to the world. He will also highlight the importance of centralised messaging in building the UAE’s image across local, regional and international arenas.

In her speech, Al Mazroui will focus on the importance of communicating with youth and the vital need to engage them in the decision-making process through listening to their opinions and suggestions on topics that impact society.

Robinson will offer the forum insights on social justice and its relationship to human rights in her keynote address at the opening session on day two. She will also share her vision inspired by her wide international expertise about the critical and supportive role the government can play in highlighting humanitarian issues, especially with regard to health and education. In addition, she will discuss the importance of respecting human rights and the need to empower people across the world to help them effectively meet and overcome daily life challenges.

Drawing on her expertise as an international advocate and human rights activist, Clooney will underline how respect for international law can contribute to improving the image of nations globally. She will highlight the role played by international organisations, such as the United Nations, in encouraging governments and countries to follow international procedures and protocols towards enhancing their global reputation.

For his part, Gardner will share with the audience his personal journey of struggle and success, and reiterate that young people, through perseverance, effective communication and clarity of thought, can achieve the success they desire.

The first of its kind in the Arab region, the International Government Communication Forum is an important global event that convenes decision-makers, experts and stakeholders in government communication from around the world. It is a transparent platform for raising important issues and discussing communication-specific trends in order to develop recommendations and resolutions that can help governments and people involved in the field of government communication to enhance their performance and scope of work. The forum seeks to achieve greater convergence in the relationship between governments and the public to ensure sustainable development.