ASDA'A public relations consultancy launches first annual regional communications forum
Dubai March 28, 2004: ASDA'A, the Middle East’s premier public relations consultancy, is launching the first annual Speak Up! regional communications forum on March 29 with the theme of Talking to the World: The Middle East Communications Challenge. The event, which takes place at Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai, will unite leaders from the government sector, the media, the business community and the communications industry and will provide a platform for a regular annual event.

Commenting on the event, ASDA'A Managing Director, Sunil John said: “A well articulated collective message from the Middle East is long overdue. Over the past few years and in the aftermath of 9/11, there has been a lack of effective communication from the Arab world creating a perceptible division between the region and the rest of the world. We hope that this forum can identify issues to address and help the Arab world to better articulate its true potential.”

Panelists include David Brain, President and CEO for Europe, Edelman PR Worldwide; Kate Dourian, Editor - Middle East, Platts; Anthony Harris, former UK Ambassador to the UAE and Director, Links Companies and Obaid Al Tayer, President, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Joseph Ghossoub, CEO, the Holding Group (THG).

“The region is often seen to question the value of open expression and approach communication reactively rather than proactively. We hope that this event will help ensure a louder and clearer collective Arab voice,” said David Brain of Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR firm. “The Arab world needs to understand the thinking process in the west and the systems used in other regions to effectively project its views and concerns.”

John noted that the region still faces enormous communication challenges and that this directly affects its potential for economic growth. “Everything from foreign direct investment to capitalizing on new development opportunities depends on the region projecting itself positively. The onus here is not just on the media or the communications industry – it is on all of society including both governments and the private sector. Communication is critical to the future of the Middle East."