Sharjah opens International Government Communication Forum
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Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Executive Council, inaugurated the 11th edition of the “International Government Communication Forum (IGCF)” on Wednesday morning, at the Expo Centre Sharjah.

Leading the other dignitaries at the two-day summit, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah, was Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council who delivered the keynote speech.

Organised by the International Government Communication Centre, a Sharjah Government Media Bureau initiative, the theme of this year’s IGCF is “Challenges and Solutions.”

Through over seven sessions, 10 inspirational talks, six pre-forum events, six workshops, 13 interactive platforms, and 40 other activities, answers to all socio-economic-political-environmental problems that have permeated the world, are meant to be discussed and analysed; hopefully, for eventual review, adoption and implementation by concerned authorities, not only in the region but around the world.

Keynoting the forum attended by over 160 senior public officials, thought leaders and communication experts from around the world, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi highlighted how Sharjah has endeavoured to capitalise on the intrinsic role of the family as the basic unit of the society wherein values spring forth, and, with the leadership keen on combining communication responsibility at its highest levels, overcome the negative or misleading consequences of a technologically-driven, globalised world.  

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed said: “Today, Sharjah is a UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)-recognised child-friendly city and offers equal opportunities to the youth and persons with disabilities. We are also the first Arab city to have special care provisions for senior citizens and other vulnerable population segments. It is the first city in the Arab World to implement a four-day work week mandate to promote family cohesion, which we know fortifies us against these challenges.”

“We want to deliver the message that communication itself is the bold line that separates stability from turmoil, clarity from confusion, and guides us from where we are now to what we aspire to be,” he added, citing the critical role of proper government communication.

On issues and concerns that are part of life, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed pointed out the positive-ness of mankind that has never bowed down: “Challenges have never stopped humanity and each era faces its own set. Our planet has been challenged by devastating earthquakes and deadly pandemics. Wars have claimed souls, our struggles over water have increased and we fight until consumed by hunger. Countries have collapsed and governments have fallen. Yet the world did not accept defeat and humanity did not lose hope.”

He pressed on: “Some thought that the (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic will eliminate humanity, the Russia-Ukraine War will divide the world into two, or that (World War III) is imminent, and that the refugee crisis has no solution.”

“Many believed that the disruption of wheat supplies would lead to new famine, and that gas supplies would be cut off from an entire continent, but none of this happened. Humanity is facing another challenge which is climate change. After enjoying a phase of permanent Spring, countries are seeing their rivers dry up and their green surfaces turn yellow, while floods are killing people in other countries, annihilating villages and causing suffering for millions,” Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed also said.

He stressed: “Once again, these challenges did not lead to the extermination of mankind.”

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed ended his speech by expressing his gratefulness to everyone who has contributed to encouraging and enabling everyone to stand ferociously together amidst natural and man-made trials, by way of responsible communication, one of which is through narratives and drawing lessons from the past: “Some governments have the ability to foresee some disasters, anticipate the future and prepared to reduce their challenging impact.” 



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