IABC to host EMENAComm

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) will be hosting EMENAComm in the Middle East. Set to take place on February 11-12, 2019 in Bahrain, the communications event will provide the region’s communicators with insights and tools needed to help their organisations achieve strategic transformation through communications. The event will also seek to showcase practices and innovations that are changing how corporations, agencies and NGOs are achieving success through communications and feature keynotes by former Apple executives on how communications played a key role in the company’s turnaround.

“The way we communicate has completely changed, and the role of the communicator is transforming as well,” says Alex Malouf, Past Chair, IABC Europe, Middle East and North Africa. “Communicators have a valuable role to play in every organisation, and EMENAComm will help drive this transformation so that the region’s communicators are both empowered to do more and are recognised as change makers by their organisational leadership.”

Hill+Knowlton Strategies wins at MENA Young Lions PR

PRCA MENA has announced Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ team of Mohamad Saber and Peter Hermina as the winners of the MENA Young Lions PR Competition for their ‘Half a Million Dollars’ campaign. The third year of the competition saw over 28 entries from teams of two, all creating effective and creative campaigns as per a brief from Education for Employment. Sponsored by the International Communications Consultancy (ICCO), the team will go on to represent the region at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that will take place from June 17 – 21, 2018.

“It was inspiring to see the amount of passion, creativity and energy being put into the PRCA MENA Young Lions entries,” says Alex Malouf, Corporate Communications and Reputation Manager – Arabian Peninsula, Procter & Gamble, and part of the judging panel for the awards. “The short-listed entries combined sharp insights, innovative strategies and extensive use of measurement. The finalists made our decision very tough at the end of the day and I’m confident that the PRCA MENA Young Lions winners will do the region justice in Cannes.”

Leanne Foy, General Manager, PRCA MENA, adds “I would like to congratulate Mohamed and Peter on their win. We wish the pair the best of luck in Cannes where I am sure they will do the industry and the UAE proud.”

PRCA launches mentoring scheme

Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has collaborated with PRWeek to launch a new mentoring scheme in the UAE and UK. Aiming to inspire the next generation of PR and communication leaders, the Fast Track mentoring scheme will launch with an initial 21 mentors including Yiannis Vafeas, Managing Director at Golin MENA and Alex Malouf, Corporate Communications Manager for the Arabian Peninsula at Procter & Gamble.

“We are very proud to launch the latest stage in the Fast Track mentoring scheme, aimed at inspiring mentees to go even further with their careers,” says Francis Ingham, Director General, PRCA. “Mentoring is a fantastic way of passing on the expertise and knowledge held within the industry to a new generation of hopefuls.”

New advertising industry association launches

New advertising industry association, Advertising Business Group (ABG) has launched to promote ethical and responsible advertising in the Middle East. Established as a self-regulatory body which includes Omnicom Media Group, Google, Choueiri Group and Facebook, ABG will also work with bodies in the region, such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and the International Advertising Association to encourage self-regulation among advertisers, agencies and publishers as well as provide consumers with the ability to challenge false or harmful advertising.

“Ethical advertising builds consumer trust in companies and brands, improving sales and strengthening the market share, while helping maintain a level playing field that is important for fair competition,” says Sanjiv Kakkar, Executive Vice-President, Unilever MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and Chairperson, ABG. “Irresponsible marketing on the other hand damages consumer confidence and provides little or no sustained return on advertising investment. Responsible advertising benefits everyone – consumers, society and advertisers. This belief in responsible advertising and its benefits for consumers and the society has spurred the GCCs advertisers, agencies and media to establish the ABG.”

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.

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.