Fourth MEPRA Leadership Majlis kicks-off

ABU DHABI, 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 Mansour Al Mansouri, through a Q&A moderated by Founder and 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, Al 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.”

He 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, adding that “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 and 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 and CEO, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, and Sconaid McGeachin, SVP EMEA and CEO Africa, H+K Strategies.

Source: Emirates News Agency