The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) hosted the fourth Leadership Majlis today, the year’s major communications conference in Abu Dhabi. The 2018 edition brought together almost 200 industry professionals from more than 40 organisations, to uncover the industry’s biggest challenges trends and opportunities. Speakers included senior leaders from The National Media Council, PRWeek, Facebook, Mubadala, Etihad Airways, Marriott International, Arthur W. Page Society, The UAE World Energy Congress, CARMA and United Eastern Medical Services.
The morning conference covered the theme ‘Power Forward’, highlighting the power of PR through a mix of presentations, panel discussions and case studies, including; countering fake news in the UAE; CEO activism; PR as the most powerful marketing discipline; PR professionals at the leadership table; and how the brand defines communications.
MEPRA Chair, Ray Eglington said: “The 2018 edition of the MEPRA Leadership Majlis offered an unmatched dialogue from an impressive line up of speakers who inspired critical and insightful discussions. This year saw the most diverse group of attendees, with a wide range of communication leaders from the agency, corporate and government sectors all coming together with a common purpose of sharing knowledge and advancing the communication profession in the Middle East. “
As the platinum headline partner, the National Media Council opened the conference with NMC Director General His Excellency Mansour Al Mansouri, through a Q&A moderated by Founder & CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, Sunil John. The session covered NMC’s mission and role in consolidating the UAE’s status and media presence.
During the session, His Excellency Mansouri said: “We believe in the power of conversations and we’d like to be part of the dialogue with the communications industry in the UAE. PR agencies are the masters of messaging and communicating to the public, they are key contributors to the image of public and government organisations.”
His Excellency also announced the opening of a foreign correspondents club later this year to ensure on-going conversations continue, seven days a week, as part of UAE’s commitment to open communications.
PR Week Editor-in-Chief, Danny Rogers, addressed how public relations can become the most powerful marketing discipline in the future and said: “The advantage of PR and communications over advertising has always been its credibility and ability to communicate complex issues. This is even more vital in the low-trust environment in which we now operate.”
In a presentation on countering fake News in the UAE, Facebook’s Head of Policy MENA & Pakistan, Nashwa Aly said: “There is no silver bullet for countering fake news and it’s not just a problem for social media but also for traditional media and news consumers themselves. At Facebook, we rely on digital systems in addition to human reviewers who have the cultural context to understand what needs to be taken down.”
The first two MEPRA Fellows were also announced during the event. MEPRA Fellowship is the highest grade of membership awarded for outstanding contribution to the public relations profession in the Middle East, through excellence in achievements and adherence to the highest professional standards. The inaugural inductees included:
- Sunil John, Founder & CEO, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
- Sconaid McGeachin , SVP EMEA & CEO Africa, H+K Strategies
The 2018 MEPRA leadership Majlis complete agenda included:
- The National Media Council and its crucial role in the positioning of the UAE: His Excellency Mansour Al Mansouri, Director General, National Media Council interviewed by Sunil John, Founder & CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller.
- The Power of Truth: Countering fake news in the UAE: Nashwa Aly, Head of Public Policy, Facebook.
- The Power of our Industry: How public relations can be the most powerful marketing discipline in the future: Danny Rogers, Editor-in-Chief, PRWeek.
- The Power of CEO Activism: How companies around the world are wrestling with demands to take a position on controversial social issues: Case study presentation by Peter Debreceny, International Vice President for the Arthur W. Page Society and former VP of Corporate Relations at Allstate Insurance Company (US). Panel session to follow joined by Deema Kingsmill-Moore, Communications and Community Engagement Director MEA, Marriott International and Mazen Nahawi , CEO, CARMA. Moderated by Roger Bolton, President of the Arthur W. Page Society.
- A Seat at the Table: The Power of Communication Leaders: Panel session with Amina Taher, VP Corporate Affairs, Etihad Aviation Group, Jorge Camara, Deputy CEO, UAE World Energy Congress, and Farah Al Alami, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, United Eastern Medical Services. Moderated by Fahad Al Qahtani, Chief Executive Officer at The Corporate Office.
- Power of Brands: How the Brand Defines Communications: Case study presentations with Mohammed AlSiddiq, Head of Digital Communications, Mubadala. Panel session to follow, joined by Umayma Abubakar, Head of Internal Corporate Relations, Mubadala and Danny Rogers, Editor-in-Chief, PRWeek. Moderated by Jonty Summers, Managing Director, Hanover ME.
The 2018 MPRA Leadership Majlis was supported by corporate and agency partners including, The National Media Council, Jumeirah Group, Mubadala, Four Communications Group, Etihad Airways, PRWeek, Arthur W. Page Society and SOCIALEYEZ.
To find our more about MEPRA and upcoming events visit www.mepra.org
The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) is the leading industry body for the public relations and communications industry in the Middle East. MEPRA has more than 1,000 members, which include consultancies, corporates with in-house public relations functions, and individual industry professionals. The organisation was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates. MEPRA drives growth and sets standards of excellence in regional public relations. It is the unique voice for the industry and aims to nurture the development of public relations professionals. For more information visit www.mepra.org