CIPR and MEPRA launch new training programme

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has partnered with the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) to launch new training programme, MEPRA Academy. MEPRA Academy aims to provide professional development opportunities across the region and will see CIPR provide exclusive access to MEPRA members on its continuing professional development (CPD) online portal. The new academy’s courses will be led by international experts and CIPR certified senior communications professionals across the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.

“We know through our research that continued learning and internationally recognised professional accreditation is critically important to the regional public relations practitioner,” says Ray Ellington, Chairman, MEPRA. “We have developed the new MEPRA Academy and our partnership with CIPR to answer this need helping individuals develop their careers and our industry to raise its standards.”

MEPRA 2017 now open for entries

The 2017 Middle East PR Association (MEPRA) Awards are now open for submissions. The award will bring together small agencies, in-house teams and global players in the Middle East PR business, with an aim to recognise and serve as a benchmark for the most inspiring and creative communications work in the industry. This year’s awards will have 20 campaign categories and will see the launch of two new categories, ‘Crisis Communications’ and ‘Best use of Influencers’ to celebrate the best campaigns from across the region. Entries for the awards will be open until October 12 with the candidates shortlisted to be announced on November 5 and the winners to be revealed at the 2017 MEPRA Awards Gala set to take place on December 6 at the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel, Dubai.

“The MEPRA Awards is the moment each year when our industry stops to recognise its best,” says Ray Eglington, Chairman, MEPRA. “At the MEPRA Awards we celebrate what we have achieved and inspire each other to do even better. I look forward to seeing the groundbreaking entries this year.”

MEPRA announces 2016 award winners

Winners of the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Awards 2016 were announced last night at the eighth annual awards event held at the JW Marriott Marquis. The ceremony recognised the most outstanding communicators for their best practices, which includes strategic approach, creative tactics and evaluation excellence. With over 240 entries, 17 notable winners were announced including Weber Shandwick MENA, winning Agency of the Year Award, Impact Porter Novelli, for the integrated Campaign of the Year and Atlantis the Palm, sweeping up the award for In-house Team of the Year. Other winners also emerging in multiple categories include Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Cicero & Bernay PR and Four Communications.

“We are thoroughly impressed by the superb level of creativity and innovation demonstrated in the entries that we have received for this year’s awards,” says said Brian Lott, Chairman, MEPRA and Executive Director of Communications, Mubadala. “It is with immense pleasure that we honour the crème de la crème of the regional communications industry tonight. We are confident that this can only raise the bar for everyone in the business as

Nominees announced for MEPRA Awards

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Awards 2016 shortlist has been announced. The awards have been divided into 17 categories – including Best Integrated Campaign, Best Use of Social Media and newly added category for in-house professionals, Outstanding Young Communicator – each award is designed to recognise exceptional returns on investments, creativity and strategic impact by agencies, corporates, teams and individuals. Shortlisted companies include: Four Communications, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Edelman, Mubadala, Seven Media and Weber Shandwick MENA. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony on November 23, 2016 at the JW Marriott Marquis, decided by a panel of renowned industry judges.

“Judging this year was even more challenging than ever,” says Jamal Al Mawed, Head of Corporate Communications, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “The industry has advanced in terms of its use of data analytics to measure the performance of campaigns. This means we had greater access to real figures than ever before making the judging process more about the cold hard results, than about the creativity of the idea. We are delighted at the progress made and we see a very strong future for the communications industry across the region.”

twofour54 and MEPRA sign memorandum of understanding

twofour54 and the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) have signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of increasing collaboration in order to support the growing PR industry in the UAE. Maryam Al Mheiri, Acting CEO, twofour54 and Brian Lott, Chairman, MEPRA, signed the agreement which will see twofour54 assist MEPRA’s industry-building activities such as networking and professional development opportunities for members, through twofour54’s network of over 100 PR and marketing services companies.

“Supporting the communication and PR sector is a vital link in the media industry value chain for its significant impact on a regional and global level,” says Maryam. “twofour54 is home to a number of leading international communication companies who work closely across the media sector. By showing our support we aim to assist MEPRA and its members to contribute to Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s reputation internationally.”

Brian adds “twofour54 is widely recognised as the leading hub for the sector in Abu Dhabi and is one of the industry’s key strategic partners. It is home to a number of PR agencies and a centre for creative content development. It’s the perfect place to host events such as MEPRA Connect, at the cross-section of creativity, professionalism and public relations.”

MEPRA Academy

Team TMN chat with Alex Malouf, Vice-Chair, MEPRA, to find out more about MEPRA’s newly launched academy, and the courses currently on offer…

Tell us a bit about the MEPRA Academy?
The MEPRA Academy is an initiative to bridge the skills gap in the Middle East region for the public relations and communications industries. We often had people working in the industry, or others who were looking to become communicators, approach us and ask what options there were for short courses that would help them to better understand certain areas of the industry, such as social media. To fill this gap, we decided to partner with several training providers and established trainers, both in the region and back in the United Kingdom, to establish the MEPRA Academy and offer a range of one-day courses that would meet the needs of professionals in our industry or those who want to know more about certain areas of our work.

Where did the concept originate?
We wanted to create an educational resource that would support our industry in this region and help PR and communications professionals, or those learning about our profession, to gain more theory and practice about skills that will allow them to either carry out their job or give them the ability to grow into new, up-and-coming communications roles such as public affairs and internal communications.

What kind of courses does the MEPRA Academy offer?
We offer one-day courses in public relations and communications essentials such as media relations, planning, measurement and evaluation, internal communications and employee engagement and social media. We also offer a two-day course in executive communications leadership for communications professionals who lead their own departments or are in a management role. The courses are delivered by trainers from the PR Academy who have worked with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and who have delivered training to Middle Eastern audiences beforehand.

Why did you decide that now was the right time to open the academy?
MEPRA has run training programmes beforehand, but we wanted to create a structured approach to training for our members and non-members in the region. One issue that the communications industry has long contended with is how to support the development of professionals in the region. There are few options out there in terms of training, especially considering how fast our profession is evolving. The courses offered through the Academy will continue to evolve, and our aim is to provide a platform where our members can support their own development and progress in their career.

Who is the Academy aimed at?
The Academy is aimed at anyone and everyone working in, or looking to enter, the public relations and communications industry across the Middle East region.

What kind of changes are you hoping to instigate?
We want communicators and public relations professionals to engage in continuous learning, we want to be able to support them in this process, and we want to be able to deliver an education to our members and non-members alike that we can guarantee in terms of quality. We also want to support the notion that communications should have a seat at the board, and in order to do that we need to ensure that we are working towards best practices in this region. We are running other educational and certain initiatives in the region, and we’re also look at rolling out other development programmes for our members in 2016 to support lifelong learning.

Why should established PR professionals register for the MEPRA Academy?
Our industry is always changing. As an example, who could have foreseen the disruption that digital or social media would have brought to what we do?

There’s so much happening that we cannot stop still, no matter how many years of experience one may have. Having said that, we do have a two-day workshop designed for those with several years of management experience. The two-day executive communications leadership course supports professionals with tools to better engage their senior management and build a more effective communications structure for their organisation…

What courses are upcoming?
We have a range of one-day courses being offered, focusing on several key areas. We’re continually asking our members for feedback on what courses they’d like to see, and where they’d like these courses to be held. The MEPRA Academy will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the PR industry in the region.

How do people secure a place on a MEPRA Academy course?
All they need to do is to go to, and choose which course they’d like to attend.

MEPRA AWARDS 2015 – Winners Announced

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) held its annual gala dinner last night in celebration of the most exciting communicators of 2015. Highlights of the evening included Memac Ogilvy Public Relations – Dubai, sweeping the floor of the Consumer Goods category for their work on “Innovation that Excites”, “Labels are for cans, Not People” and “#AmexExplorer: The Card That Takes You Places”.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies took gold in the Consumer Services category for their work on Flash Entertainment’s “YASALAM”, while in Healthcare & Services Memac Ogilvy Public Relations – Lebanon, impressed judges with its “Breast Cancer Awareness” campaign. House of Comms was awarded gold for its work on “JIM Will Fix It Nepal Relief” which fell under the Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental PR category, and APCO Worldwide was recognised for its work for Noor Bank in the Financial PR sector.

The Dave Robinson Award for Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year (agency-side) went to Four Communications’ Mohanned Lafi with Ooredoo Kuwait’s Yasser Mohammad picking up the same for Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year (in-house). The Chairman’s Award was presented to Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Sconaid McGeachin and Four Communications Group scooped Agency of the Year.

Middle East PR Awards 2015 shortlist announced

Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) announces shortlist for the 2015 Middle East PR Awards set to take place in three weeks on December 14, 2015 at the JW Marriott Marquis. The MEPRA Awards Program is judged by peers and acknowledges the best in class in PR throughout the Middle East and is set to break records with the largest event year to date.

Entries for the awards are welcomed from businesses and individuals operating in the public relations sector across the Middle East. This year, fourteen categories are available which include; ‘Consumer Goods’, ‘Consumer Services’, ‘Healthcare & Services’, ‘Corporate Reputation & Image’, ‘Government Communications’, ‘Business to Business’, ‘Financial PR’, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental PR’, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental PR’, ‘Best Integrated campaign’, ‘Best Use of Social Media/Digital PR’, ‘Best use of Media Relations – consumer or trade’, ‘Best Employee Engagement’, ‘Best Live Event/Stunt’, ‘Agency of the Year’ and the ‘Dave Robinson Award – Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year’.

For more information and to register, visit


CIPR and MEPRA to partner

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), a professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK, and the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA), have signed an agreement that will see Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status as well as an expanded, accredited training regimen, available to MEPRA members.

Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status is a senior professional status awarded to senior public relations professionals who can demonstrate an outstanding level of professional practice and knowledge, along with a commitment to continuous learning.

“I am delighted that through this new strategic partnership with MEPRA, public relations professionals in the Middle East will have access to the highest level of professional accreditation available,” says Sarah Pinch, President, CIPR. “I look forward to further collaboration with MEPRA, and other international partners, to work together to achieve CIPR’s stated mission of professionalising public relations, on a global scale.”

Alex Malouf, Vice-Chair, MEPRA, adds “The Chartered Institute of Public Relations has been a pioneering organisation in terms of training and development, and we support their promotion of the Chartered Practitioner status, a standard that underlines the abilities and experiences of a professional in the Public Relations industry.”

New board members announced for MEPRA

The Middle East PR Association (MEPRA) has appointed its new board and leaders following the Annual General Meeting at Middlesex University, Knowledge Village, Dubai.

Brian Lott, Executive Director of Communications at Mubadala, is the organisation’s new Chair. Brian was previously Vice Chair under Nicola Gregson, who held the position since January 2014. Alex Malouf, who is Corporate Communications Manager in the Arabian Peninsula for Procter & Gamble, will become the organisation’s new Vice Chair. Board Secretary Thomas Ashby, from the strategic consulting agency Consulum, and Treasurer Mazen Nahawi, President of News Group International, will remain in their current roles.

“It’s never been a more exciting time to be a member of the Public Relations industry,” says Brian. “Communications is moving at the most rapid pace in recent memory. That is energising agencies, corporations, governments and public relations practitioners to be at the top of their game as the industry goes through massive change. MEPRA’s members are working hard to navigate this change, by hearing from outside experts as well as learning from each other.”

The new Board is structured around a number of initiatives for 2015, meant to advance the public relations agenda of its members.