The World Public Relations Forum, the prestigious international bi-annual public relations and communications event, has kicked off today on Sunday, 21 September, with the academic session inaugurated by Anne Gregory, president of the Global Alliance for Communication and Public Relations Management, Samuel Martín-Barbero, spokesperson for the Board of Dircom, and Karen Sanders, president of the Association of Political Communication and director of the Forum’s academic session.
Today’s session has focused on contributions from the academic and university world. Professors and researchers from the field of communications from across the globe have discussed the different environments and facets involved in “Communication with conscience” at nine workshops/roundtables concentrating on specific themes in order to identify and analyze the challenges communication faces in the 21st century.
The plenary session on “What can professionals and students learn from one another?”, presided over by Ricardo Gómez Díez, associate professor at San Pablo CEU, and with the participation of Juan Carlos Molleda, professor and chair at the Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida, showed that communication with conscience is not only the theme of the World Forum but also the inspiration behind the work practitioners should undertake to benefit stakeholders in all companies and organizations. In the view of these experts, “research can only be validated externally through support from organizations in the industry. Nowadays an alliance with the profession is more critical than ever.”
Gregor Halff, president elect of the Global Alliance, led the plenary session, “Communication with conscience”, with emeritus professors Ray Hiebert, from the University of Maryland, and Robert Heath, from the University of Houston, as speakers. This session raised the idea of leadership as a concept that requires “engagement” from the whole organization and “the right to exercise your own conscience” was defended. Freedom of individual conscience, of expression and of faith.”
The closing session focused on “Corporate social conscience in public relations” and was led by Judy VanSlyke Turk (Global Alliance), at which Sandra Duhé from Southern Methodist University put forward the idea that “acting with conscience is doing things purposefully.”
The WPRF 2014 is being organized by the Association of Communication Directors (Dircom), together with the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management, and will discuss in Madrid the major trends and challenges the corporate communications industry faces worldwide.
Tomorrow’s panels will debate key themes such as “Corporate social conscience in public relations”, “Conscience and self-perception: responsible communication and conversations” and “Restoring confidence in organizations: leadership, confidence, conversation, articulation, connectivity, significance and reputation.”
The afternoon sessions will deal with themes such as “Developing conversations in a globalised world” or “The role of public relations in society”.