Global Experts to Debate Behaviour, Culture and Education’s Future at Six Central Discussions at IGCF 2019

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Six main panels examine the role of government communication in influencing positive behaviour to overcome developmental challenges



Six key panel discussions addressing human behaviours, culture and education, and people’s role in facing future challenges will be organised at the eighth edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2019), on March 20–21, at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Organised by the International Government Communication Centre (IGCC), the sessions have been tailor-made to examine exhaustively the Forum’s theme ‘Behavioural Change towards Human Development’, chosen this year to highlight the role of government communication in motivating individuals to play a key role in the development process.

Day one discussions

The two-day forum will open on March 20, with a panel titled, ‘Human Behaviour: New Dimension for Change Communication’ featuring Roger Fisk, Head of the political campaign, marketing and media strategist for former US President Barack Obama, Dr Lamya Nawaf Fawwaz, Executive Director of the Brand and Strategic Initiatives at Masdar and Andrew Keen, acclaimed author and keynote speaker on the impact of new technology on 21st century business, education, culture and society.

These speakers will shed light on how a culture of behavioural change can be successfully established as part of the government communication function. Steps for designing behavioural change campaigns and benchmarking their impacts, the role of technology, particularly social networking platforms in these campaigns will be some of the key focus areas of the discussion. Some leading government experiences will be showcased during the session to highlight the role of Sharjah and the UAE in pioneering the adoption of behavioural change.

The second session, ‘Responsible Individuals: A Key Solution for Future Challenges’ will bring together HE Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development, Dr Nabeel Al-Khatib, General Manager of Al Arabiya and Al Hadath TV, Rene Carayol, Global Speaker on Inspirational Leadership and Culture, and Rabee Zureikat, Founder of the Zikra Initiative, one of the most important community initiatives in Jordan.

Panelists will examine the importance of changing people’s perception of their role and impact in facing developmental challenges and showcasing some success stories from the UAE and around the world. It will train spotlight on the need to inculcate the principles of personal and individual responsibility at schools and universities. This will be done through non-promotional platforms, such as cinemas, theatres and intellectual literature, thus creating  public awareness and fostering individual responsibility. The role of government communication in motivating citizens will also be highlighted during the session.

The third and final session on the first day of the forum will address the topic, ‘Challenging the Lack of Capacity in an Era of Change Communication’. Speakers HE Abdulla bin Touq, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet; Dr. Abdullah Al Maghlouth, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media Spokesman and Director General of the Centre for Government Communication; and  Sir Craig Oliver, Director of Politics and Communications to former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, will underline the need to create a culture of communication for human empowerment within government bodies, through training, capacity-building and attracting communication competencies to empower people.

Insights into areas of government communication where the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies can be harnessed to support the human empowerment agenda will be discussed.

The session will also highlight the key skills required for building the capacity of future government communication staff, as well as the major challenges facing government communication in managing successful communication campaigns.

Day two discussions

On March 21, the second day of the forum, discussions will begin with a key topic ‘Education through the Lens of Tomorrow: Changing the Norm”, with participation of Marc Prensky, author, consultant, and innovator in the field of education, and founder of Global Education for Future, an education non-profit.

Other speakers include Graham Brown-Martin, author, expert on education and work and founder of global movement, Learning Without Frontiers, Suzanne Afanah, founder and Managing Partner of ‘Advice,’ media expert and award-winning journalist and Marc Prensky, author, consultant, innovator and founder of Global Education for Future, a not-for-profit organisation.

The session will examine the largely traditional education systems in schools and universities. The need to build generations of students, equipped with future skills needed for the constantly evolving job markets by building partnerships between various stakeholders in the education sector will be highlighted. It will also see the session discussing the importance of media in raising awareness about future jobs and the need to strengthen international cooperation between government communication teams worldwide and to promote  education for  future generations.

The second panel session, titled ‘The “Skills of the Future” Culture: Addressing the Expected Disappearance of Jobs’ will see the participation of Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, CEO, the American University of Sharjah Enterprises (AUSE) and CEO of Sharjah Research; Dr Ali Al Marri, Executive President of the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government; Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology; Dr Adiy Tweissi, Assistant Professor and Director of E-learning Centre at Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Jordan.

The session provides a forward-looking vision on the expected jobs for the future while taking into account the economic and social status quo of each country as well as the role of government communication in disseminating information for these jobs. Panelists will highlight the need to coordinate with the private sector in preparation for the expected structural shifts in the job market. It will also highlight the importance of building partnerships and distribution of roles, in order to address the challenges resulting from the need to generate future jobs.

The role of media to support government campaigns to raise public awareness about these job opportunities will also be debated during the panel.

These key sessions will conclude with a panel on ‘Fostering Positivity and Sustainable Approaches to Happiness - a Road Map’, engaging Dr David Katz, a US clinician, researcher, author, inventor and journalist; Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and Dr Hanan Selim, PharmD, Healthpreneur, CEO and Founder of Healology.

Speakers will share insights and views on the role of government communication in raising community awareness about the importance of happiness and good mental health. They will share their expertise about how necessary steps can be taken in the direction towards fulfilling this developmental priority.

Panelists will address how government communication can contribute to promoting a healthy lifestyle as part of a social culture. In this context, the role of positive media messages and coverage is also critical. The media can be a key partner and supporter of government communication efforts in building a culture of positivity and happiness.


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