IGCF 2017: A Strategic Platform

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah the Sixth Edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) is making inroads in the region as well as world. Most recently, the 6th IGCF once again featured the Green Chair Initiative. It is a special program designed to groom young Emiratis in global best practices in the sphere of government communications. IGCF has been labeled as “STRATEGIC PLATFORM” and its 6th edition would be another grand success and value-addition.

It was organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), the Green Chair Initiative will comprise six pre-selected undergraduate media and communication students from the University of Sharjah, Ajman University, and Higher Colleges of Technology.

The selected undergraduate student will be assigned to one of the six key sessions of IGCF that will take place at the Expo Centre Sharjah on March 22-23, 2017. In line with the theme ‘Societal Participation…Comprehensive Development’, each student will have the chance to represent society through fruitfully contributing to discussions and offering perspectives in an effort to find practical solutions to social problems.

Furthermore, according to Green Chair Initiative, each selected participant will also be allowed to pose one question to speakers on the panel on issues related to the youth. The session’s moderator or speaker will likewise have the chance to ask each student about his/her opinion on the topics under consideration. It would be interactive, meaningful and effective ways of communication.

According to Jawaher Al Naqbi, Manager of the International Government Communication “Since its inception in 2013, the Green Chair Initiative has emerged as a coveted platform for Emirati students specialising in advanced communications, where they can interact directly with global experts from around the world and gain insights from their experiences. It helps them enhance their communication skills and infuses them with the confidence needed to engage with VIPs and renowned speakers, she added.

Moreover, she was of the opinion that “the youth’s participation will also deepen their interest in public issues, especially those related to sustainable development on a local, regional and international level, which is the focus of this year’s forum.”

The Green Chair Initiative has been a regular part of each annual edition of the IGCF since its inception. It derives its name from the colour on the UAE flag that reflects the ethos of growth, prosperity, and progress essential elements in the success of future generations. It also represents the nurturing, growth and blossoming of university students, who will subsequently become leaders of tomorrow, and contribute to the progress of their communities.

For its maximum projection regionally and globally HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, has announced the launch of the International Government Communication Centre (IGCC), ahead of the Sixth Edition of International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2017), being held from March 22-23 in Sharjah with more than 2,500 world leaders, influencers and international experts in attendance.

IGCF is the pioneer platform in the region to discuss the best practices institutionalized in and beyond region in which proposed and established the International Government Communication Centre will be managed by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB) and is being seen as yet another extraordinary initiative by the Sharjah government to support and boost the media environment in the Emirate and the UAE. The IGCC will act and function as a world-class media resource facility as well as a scientific research and knowledge platform offering reference and all possible guidance in the field of government communication locally, regionally and internationally.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said that the Sixth Edition of the IGCF will see the official launch of the new Centre in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and international guests, senior officials and communication specialists from around the world.

To highlight the strategic importance of the International Government Communication Centre the Chairman of Sharjah Media Council stressed that the International Government Communication Centre is based on the vision to build an integrated government communication system involving the IGCF, sophisticated knowledge platforms and specialized programs for training and developing the skills and abilities of those working in government communication, besides forming an international relations network of specialists in the field.

Since the launch of the International Government Communication Forum in 2012, we have been guided by a clear vision and goal to promote the concept and applications of government communication. This is for several reasons, most importantly the increasing importance of government communication, the evolution of modern media and the advancement of communication sciences and technologies, not to mention the lack of interest in this important aspect of the relationship between governments and the public, he added.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said “Based on this vision, the IGCF has drawn the interest of top media and communication experts from across the globe, who have been flocking to the event and managed to create new prospects for developing best government communication practices and applications, in the field that we have pioneered in the region by launching a forum of such proportions and international standing.

Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of Sharjah Department of Government Relations, lauded the International Government Communication Centre as a demonstration of the keenness of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah to support and promote government communication locally, regionally and internationally, and of the continuous efforts made in this regard by Sharjah, being the first to allocate an entire forum for government communication.

Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi pointed to the significant role played by the IGCF over the past years in consolidating the government communication experience and highlighting successful experiences in the field, stressing that the International Government Communication Centre initiative will consolidate the IGCF’s status as one of the world’s most prominent forums in this field.

On his part, Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau, viewed the International Government Communication Centre as a reflection of and tribute to the success of the IGCF, which has been successfully hosted by Sharjah all these years and setting a new benchmark and focusing on this largely unexplored field.

Through the International Government Communication Centre, we will seek to further develop the IGCF and its annual agenda for further qualification of those working in the field of government communication. This will be done in accordance with a new developmental vision that will accommodate various recent changes and present them to workers and researchers in this important area based on Sharjah’s vision in enriching different scientific spheres, he added.

He elaborated the aims and objectives of the International Government Communication Centre aiming to achieve harmony and compatibility with Sharjah’s strategy in supporting modern sciences, research, education and development of government cadres through a strategic priority that entails promoting for the IGCF throughout the year and enhancing Sharjah’s reputation and position in the field of studies and research, as well as developing the Centre itself to form a local, regional and international reference in government communication.

For her part, Jawaher Al Naqbi, Manager of the International Government Communication Forum, expressed her enthusiasm about the establishment of the International Government Communication Centre, which represents a culmination of the great efforts exerted over the past years, and a proof of the substantial support extended by the UAE wise leadership and Government of Sharjah to the various areas of government communication.

She said: “The launch of such a centre for the first time in the region mirrors the success of the Emirate of Sharjah and the IGCF in the development of all aspects of this vital sector. It also heralds the beginning of an important phase in line with a new strategy through which we aspire to achieve as many of our objectives as possible and improve the various areas of government communication and the skills of workers in the field.”

Hessa Al Hammadi, Manager of the Government Communication Department at Sharjah Government Media Bureau, stressed the importance of launching such a sophisticated initiative as the International Government Communication Centre. She described it as a leap forward for the government communication sector, which receives utmost support from the Emirate of Sharjah.

“We as a department of government communication highly appreciate the efforts of the IGCF, and are very pleased with all the attention paid to government communication, which demonstrates the keenness of Sharjah Government to promote this field and support it with initiatives that contribute to its progress and highlight the Emirate’s pioneering experience in this regard at a local and international level,” said Al Hammadi.

The said centre also aspires to form a scientific edifice in the field of government communication through a clear strategy that includes the building of a knowledge and research base for specialists in the field, the documentation of IGCF outputs and the development of pragmatic and applied experiences on issues such as government communication, youth and sustainable development.

As far as government communication practitioners are concerned, the International Government Communication Centre will work to promote their capabilities through the implementation of world-class training programs.

The Centre also looks to build a different kind of relationship with government communication experts and practitioners worldwide, as well as with government spokespersons, academics and researchers at the international level. It also looks to form international partnerships and sign agreements to foster its role. In addition to the IGCF department, the Centre will comprise four departments that will serve its objectives. The research and knowledge department will focus on providing government communication-related content, including research papers, studies, books and publications.

The academic annex department will focus on developing academic programs specialized in the field of government communication. The training department will offer a wide variety of accredited training programs and courses in all areas related to government communication. The international relations department will work to build a network of regional and global relations aimed at the exchange of knowledge and expertise through highlighting the regional and international dimensions of the Centre’s activities and initiatives.

The Sharjah Government Media Bureau, known earlier as the Sharjah Media Centre, is the communication and public relations arm of the Government of Sharjah. Launched in 2012 and hosted by Sharjah Government Media Bureau, the IGCF aims to showcase best global practices in government communication, and enhance the performance of governments through improving their communication with citizens.

The IGCF 2017 will see more than 2,500 world leaders, opinion makers and media and communication experts all under one roof who will brainstorm over how best to implement the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They will debate issues and challenges facing governments around the world and the world community and discuss ways of creating a better world.

Concluding Remarks

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Emirate Sharjah the manufacturing hub of the United Arab Emirates are achieving new heights of knowledge based economy, digitalization, hospitality, diversification of energy resources and productive channels. His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah being a true scholar is taking all possible measures to make Sharjah a hub of human intellect, multiculturalism, regional connectivity and establishment of the International Government Communication Centre is another value-addition which would provide each possible facility for research, information, communication strategies and policies to keep close contact with the governments and people alike.

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