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Melbourne Mandate endorsed at the recent World Public Relations Forum in Melbourne, Australia

The 7th World Public Relations Forum, the biannual assembly of public relations, communication professionals and academics from around the world, was held in cooperation with the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) between 18 and 20 November at the Melbourne Convention Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Convened by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management (GA), an all-time record number of 800 forum delegates from 29 countries attended the forum and participated in shaping and endorsing the “Melbourne Mandate for Global Communication” a call to action for new avenues of value for public relations and communication management.

A consensus-based statement around three cornerstones of communication was drafted and endorsed by delegates to the 2012 World Public Relations Forum namely: defining and maintaining an organisation’s character and values; building a culture of listening and engagement; and instilling responsible behaviours among individuals and organisations. The “Melbourne Mandate for Global Communication" is now available for viewing on PRISA’s website.

Building on the Stockholm Accords from the 6th World Public Relations Forum, where the authentic value of public relations and communication professionals in today’s society was affirmed, the Melbourne Mandate highlighted the new challenges and opportunities organisations and global society faced in light of the unprecedented public access to communication and information.

According to the GA, this new challenge presents a new mandate for public relations and communication management: a set of roles that are essential and interconnected; an organisation that understands its character and responsibility to have meaningful engagement with stakeholders; as well as key principles that can be used to advocate, demonstrate and enhance the value of public relations and communication to organisation and global society which, together, form an essential contribution to organisational strategy and to society.

Keystone plenary presentations were delivered by prominent advocates and public relations and communication management industry leaders, and focused on ‘Communication without borders” which, according to GA chairman Dan Tisch “reflects the global nature of the World Public Relations Forum and communication today. Communication is transforming global society and the Forum is an opportunity to break down barriers, enhance intercultural understanding and consider how to enhance our profession’s contributions to our organizations – and to our world”. Keynote speakers included Wadah Khanfar, president of Sharq Forum and former Director General, Al-Jazeera Network; Professor Mark Pearson of Bond University; and a live video presentation from Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman.

Individual concurrent sessions were delivered by a number of public relations industry figureheads including Daniel Tisch from Argyle Communications; Paul Druckman, CEO of International Integrated Reporting Council; Paul Holmes, Editor of The Holmes Report; Professor Anne Gregory from Leeds Metropolitan University; and, proudly representing South Africa, Senior Professor Ronél Rensburg of the University of Pretoria.

Topics ranged from strategic to digital and included stakeholder-centred communications in global organisations, marketing and branding, integrated reporting, sustainability and building a brand around company values as well as communicating and connecting in digital and social spaces, standardising professional communication, managing change during economic turmoil and even career planning and retaining talent.

The 8th World Public Relations Forum will be held in Madrid, Spain in September 2014 in cooperation with the hosts, Dircom, the Spanish association of communication directors, and will be convened once again by GA.

Click here to view the Melbourne Mandate


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