The International Government Communication Centre (IGCC) is the first specialised facility in the field of government communication, both in the Arab region and worldwide. It is a qualitative and strategic initiative, besides being a scientific, intellectual, knowledge-based, and specialised research establishment
IGCF is one of the key initiatives by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau. It was first launched in 2012, and since then it has been organised annually. IGCF is the first-of-its-kind platform in the region that brings together global government communication experts to explore best practices in the field.
The Sharjah Government Communication Award is an unparalleled initiative that was launched in September 2012 Under the patronage of His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
The close relationship and direct link between reputation and money, and the role of communication and public relations in the management of reputation and drawing direct investments has been widely established. Recent studies have reiterated that countries that have succeeded in raising the level of their reputation by just five degrees on the international reputation index can enjoy additional tourist incomes annually as long as their reputation is maintained. A good reputation worldwide works to attract people to invest, visit and stay in the country, buy national products, study, work, and enjoy the services.
Social media has imposed itself strongly on the social landscape in a variety of ways - it has transcended ‘being social’ and emerged as an influential tool for shaping public opinion, reputation and image. In recent years, it has almost become a mirror for the society – and produced a group of bloggers that shape public opinion and, more often than not, create it. Governments have realised the importance of such media and communication tools in the hands of the public and the significant impact that social media effects on their impressions and reactions.
The ubiquitous and all-pervasive nature of social media today has forced many governments around the world to rethink their communication strategies to step-up the transparency of their messaging. Social media is spearheading a new era of accountability, although very few political leaders are willing to concede the enormity of the change and accept the urgent need to modify the core principles of political and corporate governance.
Most governments around the world aim at developing clear visions and specific targets for at least the next two decades. These goals serve as the compass that guides the agendas in the public and private sectors. Such goals also shape the systems and procedures to which all citizens commit in their daily transactions as compliance to these services simply facilitates a smooth, hassle-free life. In the long-term, as the goals become more entrenched into visions, they also shape the destinies of future generations.
The private sector has always needed to communicate effectively with its audience in order to remain sustainable and stay ahead given the competition in the market. Such a need resulted in the private sector devising methods and means to listen to the audience, develop messages and deliver them in innovative ways to achieve desired goals. While the private sector worked on improving the methods of communication with its audience and strengthening these to optimise efficiency, the public sector in general and governments in particular relied on unilateral messaging, targeting audiences without heedin1g to public opinion or citizen feedback.
The discussions of the second day of the forum will conclude with a significant question for the audience on the relationship between the public and the government in terms of communication and interaction. The session aims to conceptualise practical proposals on best methods of communication between the two parties.
The success of government communication depends to a large extent on the ability of the public to achieve effective dialogue and ensure cohesiveness between the ministries of state and the smaller departments that face the challenge of sending clear and real-time messages to the public. This inter-dependence empowers the beneficiaries of government communication services – whether they are individuals or institutions, and allows for a deeper understanding of the government's role by its employees. This, in turn, could ensure more effective communication messages in the long-term and translate into better government performance.