Reputation management tops agenda this week as business leaders converge for Abu Dhabi conference on Public Relations
IPRA-GC conference to address unprecedented communications challenges in Gulf

Abu Dhabi, UAE; April 11, 2011:
Reputation management will be in the spotlight this week as top international and local business leaders, media figures and public relations experts gather in Abu Dhabi for a two-day conference on the key trends and issues shaping communications in the Middle East.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works and Chairman of the National Media Council, and hosted by the Gulf Chapter of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA-GC), the conference, Reputation Management: Emerging Trends, Changing Dynamics, will address the challenge of how governments and businesses can best gain the trust of the public in the wake of the global financial crisis and the evolving public affairs scene in the region.

The 2011 IPRA-GC Conference is sponsored by the National Media Council. Saudi Aramco is serving as strategic partner for this event, which is also supported by Abu Dhabi Chamber and Etihad Airways.

Taking place at The Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi, from April 13-14, 2011, the keynote sessions will be moderated by Tim Sebastian, former BBC journalist and founder of the internationally renowned Doha Debates.

Among the speakers from the world of business, media and public relations are: Mishal Kanoo, Deputy Chairman of the Kanoo Group; Richard Linning, the IPRA Global President; Khaled Almaeena, Editor-in-Chief, Arab News; Abdullah Al Majdouie, President, Al Majdouie Group of Companies; and Abdulla Al Zamil, Chairman, Zamil Industrial Investment and Zamil Group Holding Company.

Faisal Al Zahrani, President of IPRA-GC, said: “From banking to telecoms to the property sector, many companies and governments in the Gulf were jolted from their comfort zones during the financial crisis and the Arab spring, and realized that communication with their stakeholders was critical to the health of their reputation and indeed their relevance. We want to ensure that governments and companies in the region understand how important their reputations are, and how they need to work harder to protect their brands and their image.”

Sunil John, Vice President of IPRA-GC and CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, said: “The timing of the conference is very apt and will play a key role in setting the agenda for the PR industry in the Gulf. We need to ask ourselves: Do we have the talent, the skills and the resources to create public opinion not just locally, but on a global scale that truly represents the growing importance of the Gulf region?”

As well as reputation management, topics on the first day of the conference include: next practices in PR, the love-hate relationship between media and the PR industry, and the role of communications in addressing issues relating to family businesses. The second day addresses diverse subjects such as the importance of the Gulf In global public affairs and the power of communications in the digital age.