By Tariq Saeed Allay, Director General, Sharjah Government Media Bureau
Ten years ago, the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) was born in Sharjah out of our intent to strengthen the bond between government institutions and the people; and with an ambition to enrich government communications in the region through an advanced scientific and cumulative approach.
During our 10-year journey of hosting the forum, we have crossed several key milestones and achieved strategic goals. These accomplishments are evident in the wide outreach of our messages that convey the importance of effective and scientific government communications, reflected by the growing number of local, regional and global entities who are striving for excellence in the field by being part of the annual Sharjah Government Communication Award.
To leverage our past accomplishments as a springboard into the next phase of developing government communications, we would like to share an evaluation of our journey thus far, highlighting our strengths and identifying existing gaps to overcome them.
From the outset, we set a strategic goal to support the development of a comprehensive government communication ecosystem that brings together public and private institutions within an integrated cultural framework in order to unify the national vision on issues of public interest, be it cultural, economic, developmental, societal, or any other.
This strategic goal was established by us to support the formulation of unified public messaging at local, regional and global levels. Additionally, the communication ecosystem would need to be inclusive and harmonious, and built to benefit from conscious investments in the influential elements of heritage, social and human values, culture and art, all of which requires active public involvement in the communication process.
Empowering government offices, decision makers and media with the tools to develop an inclusive and participatory government communication ecosystem was our strategic goal from the get go. Through this, we wanted to ultimately support the Emirati community’s strategic goals. A robust government communication ecosystem enhances the nation’s international image, which our leadership has painstakingly built for over 70 years, putting the UAE on the global map as a preferred destination to live, work and invest in.
On the global front, IGCF seeks to highlight the power of an effective and inclusive government communication ecosystem in successfully dealing with critical issues of development and sustainability, challenges facing the community and enhancing the quality of life. We have also turned the spotlight on the need to continually build and update communication tools to achieve these goals with our partners.
So, what have we achieved in ten years? Did we succeed in turning Sharjah into a global platform to discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities in the fast-changing world of government communications? Were we able to guide our participants from across the globe on ways they can strengthen their partnership with the people? Have we been able to establish the development of government communications and its continuous enrichment via government communication science as a key priority for both public and private entities? Most importantly, did we succeed in delivering our message to the people?
We certainly have the answers to the above questions and we have tangible results. However, the more we learn, the more we realise that we need to further expand our knowledge base. With each milestone crossed, we know we will soon arrive at the next stop on our journey to understanding the science of human relationships.
Our work is meaningful only if people tell us that what we have done over the past ten years has positively impacted their lives by making their interactions with their government more engaging and meaningful. Citizens and residents must evaluate our 10-year contributions, and based on their feedback we will design new programmes and initiatives which will all be geared towards meeting their needs and fulfilling their expectations.