Lessons Learned from the Global Alliance Association Leaders Workshop

Last week, I attended the Association Leaders Workshop at the Global Alliance meeting in Milan, Italy. The Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management is a confederation of major public relations and communication management associations and institutions, representing 160,000 practitioners and academics from around the world. Gathered at the two-day workshop were 40 leaders from 25 countries who participated in forums, brainstorming sessions, discussions and presentations held during EXPO2015, a universal exhibition with the theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

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EXPO2015 is a universal six-month exhibition where 140 participating countries showcase the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to the ability to guarantee healthy, safe, and sufficient food for everyone.

At the workshop, I reconnected with and met colleagues close to home and met leaders in associations from every continent except Antarctica. Led by Dr. Anne Gregory from the University of Huddersfield in the U.K., Global Alliance has worked hard to bridge gaps among public relations associations, universities, and research institutions. Dr. Gregor Halff of Singapore Management University was elected chair last week, and will continue to fulfill the Global Alliance mission.

In a partnership with the University of Southern California, Global Alliance is responsible for the Global GAP survey introduced in 2013 that conducted an in-depth study of five pilot countries to study trends, developments, and practices in the public relations profession from around the world. The study serves as an important benchmark as the next study promises to further expand its global reach.

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Day 2 of the Global Alliance Association Leaders Workshop held at the Coke Pavilion at EXPO2015 in Milan, Italy.

Regardless of where we are from or our cultural differences, we are all working toward the same common goal of improving the profession of public relations. At the Global Alliance Association Leaders workshop, we met to discuss a Global Body of Knowledge project, which is in its second phase of collating over 30 existing competency frameworks, to establish knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) and behaviors in consideration of a global “standard,” or set of professional qualifications. Research was a core component of this process following the Research, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation (RPIE) model. The Global Alliance is also working on developing a Code of Ethics to help associations set ethical standards for their members.

After attending the sessions and speaking with the delegates, I realized how significant the public relations profession is on a global scale. While listening to Eveliina Kujansuu of the Finnish Association of Communication Professionals present her organization’s research on ethics, I realized this could easily be applied back home. I was amazed at the depth of similar research and work our colleagues are doing across the globe. One of the delegates from Indonesia, Prita Kemal Gani of the Public Relations Association of Indonesia, even has her own popular weekly radio show.

One important touchpoint happened when I spoke with Anda Hirceaga, an intern at the Global Alliance who speaks seven languages and is a graduate student at the University of Lugano (Università della Svizzera italiana/USI) in Switzerland. She discussed how much of the research that IPR has amassed and conducted has helped her in her professional career, and specifically mentioned the work on crisis of Dr. Tim Coombs at Texas A&M University. Following this meeting, I have thought about what it means to be global, and not simply as only a window dressing.

Overall, I had an amazing experience, and think the work the Global Alliance is doing on behalf of the profession is exceptional. Before I close out, I wanted to share a list of participant organizations to give a sense of the broad scope of the profession on a global scale.

Below is the list:

  • Institute for Public Relations
  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
  • Public Relations Institute for New Zealand
  • Professional Council of Public Relations of Argentina
  • Communication Directors Association, Spain (DIRCOM)
  • Canadian Public Relations Society
  • Brazilian Association of Business Communication (ABERJE)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Relations, UK
  • German Public Relations Association
  • Public Relations Association of Indonesia
  • Universidad de Guerrero, Mexico
  • Public Relations Society of Kenya
  • Public Relations Institute of Australia
  • Croatian Public Relations Association
  • Finnish Association of Communication Professionals
  • Institute of Public Relations, Singapore
  • Norwegian Communication Association
  • Nigerian Institute of Public Relations
  • Italian Federation of Public Relations (FERPI)
  • Portuguese Association of Corporate Communication, Portugal
  • Swiss Public Relations Association
  • University of Southern California
  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University

For more information about the Global Alliance, please visit http://www.globalalliancepr.org/.

Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., is President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @tmccorkindale.

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