Sixth Edition of International Government Communication Forum to Focus on Societal Participation in Comprehensive Development

Sharjah Media Centre announces details of International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) be held from March 22 to 23, 2017

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah media Centre

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre (SMC), announced that the Sixth Edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2017) will focus on forging partnerships between governments and society towards supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Addressing a press conference at Sharjah’s Al Majaz Amphitheatre to announce the details of this year’s Forum, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said the event will run from March 22 to 23 at Expo Centre Sharjah under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.  

Headlined ‘Societal Participation…Comprehensive Development’, the annual forum will see the participation of around 2,500 leading local and international government officials, media experts, thought leaders, and government communication professionals.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said: “Since the launch of the IGCF, its agenda and goals have always revolved around development in line with the UAE’s strategic direction and under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi. The Forum will leverage best practices in raising public awareness about sustainable development, and explore means that government communication departments can use to support the efforts of their countries in addressing key challenges.”

He added: “The Sixth Edition of IGCF will pay particular attention to enhancing the spirit of community partnership and instilling a sense of responsibility in the present and future generations towards their countries and humanity at large. In addition, it will highlight successful approaches that government communication practitioners adopt to drive public opinion towards a proactive response to current global issues and to make people an integral part of the solutions. We emphasise the importance of partnerships between governments and all segments of society in overcoming development challenges. Such partnerships form an integral part of people’s social responsibility towards the advancement of their countries.”

In closing, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said: “For the first time in the history of the Forum, its sessions and events will involve all members of the public – including children, the youth, and persons with disabilities – in the search for solutions to issues facing sustainable development. They will also engage media personalities and government communication professionals in enhancing awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and explore best international practices that have had a positive influence on public opinion.”

Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, introduced the agenda of this year’s Forum. Ahead of the official inauguration of the event, the first session will discuss ‘Communication for Development (C4D) and Community Partnership’. Highlighting the purposes and goals of C4D programmes and ways of implementing them, the session will also touch upon the topic of forming a true community partnership through raising awareness about its importance and objectives.

The session will host HE Najla bint Mohammad Al Awar, UAE Minister of Community Development, Kailash Satyarthi, acclaimed children’s rights activist and joint recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, and Najla Al Midfa, General Manager of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa).

Entitled ‘The Public and Private Sectors: Real Partnership towards Sustainable Development’, the second session will put the role of government communication in creating a culture of community partnership under the spotlight. It will explore ways of instilling a sense of responsibility towards global issues that have a local impact across social segments. The session will also highlight the important role of government partnerships with the private sector in addressing global humanitarian and environmental issues, and their impact on international peace and stability.

Speakers will include HE Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr Jeffrey Sachs, renowned development economist and former Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises.

The third session, titled ‘Environment and Climate Change in Media Policies’, will discuss mechanisms of building a common ground for media organisations to enhance their collaboration with the public and private sectors. It will highlight the importance of raising public environmental awareness and the urgent need to integrate the topic into school curricula. In addition, it will examine ways of reinforcing the role of the media in lobbying for governments to adopt laws and regulations to protect the environment.

The session will witness the participation of HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister for Climate Change and Environment, HE Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister of Finland, Khaled Issa Al Huraimel, CEO of Bee’ah, and Safa’ Al Jayoussi, Founder and Executive Director of IndyACT in Jordan and Head of Climate and Energy Campaign in Arab World.

Day one of the Forum will also feature a panel discussion titled ‘Climate Change…Are There Real Solutions?’, moderated by HE Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations in Sharjah. The panel will host Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and Founder and Chairman of The Climate Reality Project.

The debate will focus on climate change and ways of reinforcing the commitment of governments, industries, official and civil organisations, and communities at large to sustainable development and related legislation. It will also highlight sanctions to be imposed on companies and countries that violate environmental protection laws.

For the first time ever, the sixth edition of IGCF features a workshop for persons with disabilities that will witness the participation of Her Excellency Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Director General of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, as a guest of honour.

Organised in collaboration with Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, the workshop aligns with the Forum’s theme of using communication to solve development issues and reinforces the keenness of the IGCF this year to engage all social segments in the search for innovative solutions to current global challenges. Its inclusion cements Sharjah’s reputation as an Emirate that cares for its people and humanity in general.

The first day of the Forum will also feature a youth circle under the theme ‘The Role of Government Communication in Motivating Youth to Participate in the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals’.

The event will host HE Shamma bint Sohail Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs, HE Najla bint Mohammad Al Awar, UAE Minister of Community Development.

Organised in partnership with the UAE Ministry of State for Youth Affairs and Emirates Youth Council, the youth circle targets people between 15 and 30 years of age with diverse academic backgrounds and interests. The session will examine the effectiveness of government communication campaigns in their impact on the youth and the influence of the choice of tone – whether humorous or serious – in getting the message across.

Day Two


The second day of IGCF will kick off with a session entitled ‘Role of Social Media Platforms – From Participation to Real Partnership’ that examines the influence of social media in shaping public opinion on important international issues across social segments.

The session will further explore how governments use social media platforms to encourage individuals and groups to change behaviours and become part of the development process. It will also address the importance of shifting interest and perspective from individual issues to collective/community issues. In addition, the session will review case studies demonstrating how to manage government social media campaigns to prevent apathy towards public issues among the wider audience.

Speakers will include HE Saeed Saleh Al Remeithi, Member of the UAE Federal National Council-Abu Dhabi, Nicholas Christakis, Director of the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, Ashraf Zeitoon, Head of Policy – Middle East at Facebook, and Ediola Pashollari, Secretary General of the World Assembly of Youth (WAY) and Director of the World Youth Institute (WYI).

Under the theme ‘Government Communication and Development Goals in the Arab World’, the second session will examine sustainable development in the region. It will place special emphasis on challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, environmental pollution and the destruction of nature as a result of wars and conflicts. Furthermore, it will highlight the role of government communication in reinforcing the importance of community partnership in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The session will review youth and community initiatives which have succeeded in changing the status quo by evoking positive sentiments in their audience. In addition, it will explore means of coordination between the media, government and non-government organisations in shaping positive public opinion and motivating society to proactively contribute to key development decisions.

Participants will include Abdul Latif Youssef Al-Hamad, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Mishal Kanoo, Chairman of The Kanoo Group, and Dr Adah Almutairi, Professor and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Nanomedicine and Engineering at University of California, San Diego.

Day two will also host a third session titled ‘Impact of Conflicts and Refugees on Arab Development’ that will examine all aspects of the refugee issue with a special focus on women and children refugees. The session will host representatives from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and a number of specialists in refugees issues from different international organisations.

The first part of the session will cover the effect of current conflicts on children’s education, the role of women in supporting development, and solutions for rehabilitating women and limiting the adverse impact of the refugee status on children. The second part will discuss the means that civil organisations - considered a tool for social development - can use to mitigate the negative consequences of the refugee crisis on the Middle East region. The third part will address extremist thinking and the threat it poses to the role of women as major contributors to the economy and society, as well as the role Arab women can play in fighting extremism.

The second day will also include a special workshop of the Sharjah Children Shura Council, organised in cooperation with Sharjah Children Centres. The workshop aims to enhance engagement with the next generation, motivating them to contribute to the country’s prosperity through making simple changes to their daily habits. It also seeks to educate children about helping the less fortunate overcome diverse challenges, and apply their ideas and creativity in addressing development issues.

Mohammed bin Dakheen Al-Matroushi, Director of Media and Communications Department at the Securities and Commodities Authority, will moderate the workshop.

IGCF will hold three additional specialised workshops. HE Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister of Finland and Member of Parliament, will present the first workshop for members of the Sharjah Executive Council. Organised by the United Nations Foundation under the theme ‘International Best Practices in Communicating Sustainable Development Goals’, the remaining two workshops will target media professionals and communication teams at government entities.

Under the theme ‘The Need for Press Clubs’, Sharjah Press Club will hold a special session for journalists to highlight the importance of having press clubs. The Club will also organise a two-day workshop on ‘journalistic writing’. Day two will also feature the announcement of the recommendations of the sixth edition of the Forum, and a ceremony honouring winners of the Sharjah Government Communication Award 2017.  

Participants of this year’s Forum will include leaders of regional and international organisations, representatives of civil society organisations and research institutions, media heavyweights, and media and communication students from universities across the GCC region.

Since its inception in 2012, the International Government Communication Forum has emerged as a leading global event that attracts top decision makers, experts and stakeholders in government communication from across the world. It provides a transparent platform for examining current issues and formulating recommendations to help governments enhance the way they communicate to the utmost satisfaction of their audiences. The Forum seeks to achieve greater convergence in the relationship between governments and the public to ensure sustainable development.



Source: Sharjah Media Centre


Categories: Foreign Government, Government

Tags: Development, Forum, Sharjah

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