08/02/2014 08:36 AST

Regional and international figures like Mikhail Gorbachev, James Wolfensohn and Felipe Calderon will attend the inaugural International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2014) from Feb. 22-24 at the Expo Centre Sharjah.

Theme "Different roles…mutual interest," the forum is bringing together more than 25 regional and international professionals from the government, private and media sectors.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday at Al Qasba Theatre in Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al-Qassimi, chairman of Sharjah Media Centre (SMC), shared the comprehensive agenda of the program. The media briefing was hosted by Turki Al-Dakhil, a TV personality and journalist.

Announcing the agenda, Al-Qassimi stated that SMC’s role in inviting international government communication experts to share their experiences and case studies at the forum complements Sharjah’s efforts in supporting regional governments to develop effective methods of communication between governments and different stakeholders.

"All governments around the world, without exception, face varied challenges in communicating with the public. The reasons are largely attributed to the change in communication methods and the emergence of new, diverse and fast-growing mediums to express and share ideas. This natural evolution of communication techniques makes it imperative for governments to explore and understand new methods,” he added.

Day one will feature two parallel training workshops for members of the media and government communication professionals. Donald Steel, specialist in reputation and crisis management, will conduct the workshop titled "Social Media in a Changing World." The second workshop on the changing role of government communications will be conducted by Zahera Harb, senior lecturer in international journalism at the Journalism Department, City University London.

The second day of the forum will commence with the official opening ceremony in the presence of Sahrjah Ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last ruling president of the Soviet Union and guest of honor for IGCF 2014.

Second day’s first session, titled "Role of government communications and reputation management in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI)," will bring together leading lights such as Felipe Calderon, former president of Mexico, James Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank Group, and Anwar Mohammed Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs and minister of state for federal national council affairs. Tim Sebastian, former presenter of BBC’s popular HARDtalk, will moderate the session.

The second session elaborating on the relationship between government communication and social media activists will be headlined by Jon Duschinsky, founder and CEO, The Conversation Farm; Sulaiman Al-Hattlan, founder and CEO of Hattlan Media; and Fadi Salem, director of the governance and innovation program, Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government. ZeinaYazigi, TV host at Sky News Arabia, will moderate the session.

An interactive presentation by NikGowing, renowned television personality and senior news anchor at BBC World News, showcasing "Acute vulnerabilities of power, politics and systems in the new public information space" will wrap up the second day’s event.

The final day of the event will commence with a keynote speech by Kathleen Carroll, executive editor and senior vice president, Associated Press (AP). This will be followed by a session titled "How are government visions developed?"

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