Tag Archives: Global Alliance

A new global mandate for the public relations profession

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At the recent World Public Relations Forum in Melbourne, Australia, public relations leaders from 29 countries identified three emerging areas of value for public relations and have issued a new ‘mandate’ for the profession.

The Melbourne Mandate speaks to the role of public relations in defining organizational character, building a culture of listening and engagement, and instilling responsibility in organizations and individuals.

Are you practising to the full scope of the mandate? Can the mandate be used to guide your professional development, enhance your practice, or inform your clients?

To help CPRS Toronto members grapple with these and other professional ideals, we’ll be bringing you the idea guy behind the Melbourne Mandate in the New Year.

Watch this space for details of our February professional development event with Daniel Tisch, APR, FCPRS, Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. You can also read Daniel’s reflections on the release of the mandate.

Is the Melbourne Mandate relevant to your practice? 

Canada participates in first Global Congress for Muslim PR Practitioners

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As chair of the Global Alliance (GA) for Public Relations Dan Tisch, APR, FCPRS (@dantisch) recounts an experience that he describes as a career highlight – “the unique privilege to be one of the few non-Muslims be part of the dialogue and offer perspectives, to listen and learn” at the first Global Congress for Muslim Public Relations Practitioners. (Read more about the GA in a previous post.)

Dan admits the congress was not what he expected, but he’s not really sure what he expected.

A former member of GA board from Malaysia invited Dan to participate in the event held in Kuala Lumpur in December 2011, which was largely attended by moderate Muslims deeply concerned about the gulf that has grown between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.

“The one interesting conclusion that a lot of people seemed to come to was that the Muslim public relations community itself needs to become larger, more robust, more vital, more professionalized,” says Dan. “There are already many outstanding Muslim public relations professionals in the world, but the focus needs to be on young professionals.”

The focus of the congress was not a matter of pointing fingers, but rather pointing the way to solutions.

Themes of unity and diversity in public relations resonated with parallels to unity and diversity in the Muslim world represented by different countries, political regimes and cultures.

In addition to Dan’s involvement from Canada, countries represented included Iran, Sudan, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia among others.

A congress speaker who stood out in Dan’s mind was the former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“He stood out for me in part because he was a person of great status from Malaysia and but he also took the time to participate in the “rebranding of Islam in the world,”” says Dan. “He was really focused on the connections between age old elements of Muslim principles [with an analogy to] public relations. He talked about justice [and] he talked about accountability.”

In terms of justice he touched on ethics, telling the truth and counseling clients to do things for the good and just of society. While in terms of accountability, he discussed reporting with clarity and transparency by engaging stakeholders and governments.

Dan recalls another speaker defining the concept of shura – building of consensus.

“What could be more relevant to public relations? The idea that no decision by an authority has legitimacy unless implicit in it is the consent of those who are governed by it,” says Dan who adds that the idea is weakened without consent.

For Dan’s own presentation, he focused on unity and co-creation.

Dan described unity can be achieved through conquest (one wins, the other disappears) or compromise (coming to an uneasy coexistence).

By building a little more on the idea of unity, he added the idea of co-creation that brings together a diverse set of players to the table with nothing but the motivation to create something new.

“Personally, I have considerable sadness at some of the attitudes that have developed about Islam in the west in the last ten years,” says Dan. “For me it was partially thinking and learning about and wanting to go there to better understand how we in civil society, who aren’t part of government, can help bridge that divide because we can’t leave it to government alone.”

One such initiative that Dan mentioned was the Islamic community center planned to be built two blocks away from the Ground-Zero in Manhattan. While the initiative led by another speaker at the congress – Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative – gained international attention, Dan remembers being outraged at those who were outraged at the plan. For him, it was an opportunity for dialogue and to build a bridge for diversity.

“The larger and more powerful the industry can become in the Muslim world, the greater the odds that the voice of moderate Islam will become the dominant one in the world when we think about that faith,” adds Dan.

When asked what fellow CPRS members can do to build upon the work of the congress, Dan offered, “we need more people who are developing broader expertise and deeper expertise in all dimensions of communications, who are thinking critically of the role of communication in society, educating themselves, reading perspectives of communicators of other parts of the world because it enriches us in what we do. It also makes the foreign less foreign.”

Read more about Dan’s experience at the Global Congress for Muslim Public Relations Practitioners in the Argyle Communications blog

A Canadian voice in a Global Alliance for Public Relations

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A uniquely Canadian PR perspective is what CPRS has offered its membership for over 60 years. As a founding member of the Global Alliance (GA) for Public Relations and Communication Management, CPRS and its members have also had the opportunity to share ideas and best practices with peers around the world since 2000.

CPRS Toronto member Dan Tisch, APR, FCPRS (@dantisch) and president at Argyle Communications is building upon the work of fellow CPRS colleagues, such as Jean Valin, APR, FCPRS who played an integral role in forming the GA, by serving himself as the international organization’s 2011/13 chair.

Dan was first invited to join the Global Alliance board when CPRS solicited interest from APRs in 2008. He began as secretary for a year term, followed by two years as Chair-Elect prior to taking on his current role in July 2011.

The humble beginning of the organization almost a dozen years ago has evolved to an increasingly recognized professional body.

“Over the last few years, we’ve taken the Global Alliance from being largely a virtual organization to a professional organization with a permanent headquarters and a small staff in Lugano, Switzerland,” says Dan.

He adds that the headquarters in Lugano is not coincidental. Switzerland has long been known as a country of international neutrality and Lugano is also home to one of the premier masters programs in corporate communication management (MsCom) at the University of Lugano, with which the GA has a relationship.

“It’s incredibly interesting and a real privilege for me to learn from public relations leaders from so many different countries,” says Dan, who also attributes his involvement to the strong support from the senior team at Argyle Communications who believe in the importance of contributing to the profession on a larger stage.

The Global Alliance represents approximately associations in 70 countries with 25 to 30 involved in Global Alliance projects and committees. There are 12 countries represented on the board’s 13 positions, which includes representation from all continents.

A couple more recent initiatives of the GA include leading the Stockholm Accords that involved consensus from 29 countries on best practices that typify a communicative organization and define roles of communication professionals, and the Barcelona Principles in which the GA was one of many participants that set baselines for measurement in communications.

“In both cases, it was really quite exciting because it represented a collaboration between communication association leaders from many different parts of the world in advancing our profession by giving us more unified ‘documents of record,’” says Dan.

He adds that these documents can help give guidance to our work as PR practitioners. “These documents should not be seen as manifestos; they should be seen as briefs. Briefs to public relations and communications practitioners around the world, that they can look at and consider in making a case for what they do to their audiences, to their employers, to their colleagues and to whomever they need to reach.”

In his 23 years practicing PR, Dan has seen a massive shift in communications power from the organizational level to the audience level. Because of the new tools being introduced daily and the increased reputational risk, this has meant a rise in the value of a listening culture throughout organizations, not just in the corporate communications departments.

“Now thanks to the social web we have an unprecedented ability to listen and to get a snapshot of issues that could affect the organization or opportunities that we could seize more quickly with a lot more robust data,” says Dan.

Still with the ever-evolving environment Dan is optimistic about the increasing credibility of the profession. From an employer perspective he says that, “today’s CEO is more acutely attuned to the value of communication.”

As for the reputation of the PR practitioner, he adds that clients are much more sophisticated about communications today. “We’ve made up some ground in combating the still wide perception that public relations is about spin and distortion,“ says Dan.

And leading the international organization that has a goal to raise professional standards of communications and public relations all over the world, the profession has a chance to gain even more ground.

For more about the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, subscribe to their e-newsletter or RSS feed. You can also join the conversation on LinkedIn