The 12th Iran International Public Relations Conference


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Iranian Public Relations News Network(shara) TEHRAN, Dec. 27 (SHARA) – Iran held the 12th international conference on public relations on December 27, 205 at the conference hall of Tehran's Olympic Hotel. Over 600 PR representatives from Iranian and foreign state and private companies, universities and institutions showed up at the event.


PR Offices Ignorant of Futuristic Agendas

In his opening address, Head of the Iranian Association of Public Relations Specialists (IAPRS) Mehdi Bagherian underlined the lack of a future-oriented agenda in public relations of Iranian institutions.


"We believe that futurology springs from the same root where public relations have been formed and PR specialists can carry out future-oriented activities by training, research, planning and integration of plans," said Bagherian.


He said future-oriented studies and perspectives are specially considered in Islam and the history of Iran abounds with examples of successful futuristic planning.

"Forecasting, guessing and wishing a better future has been widely the case in mythological and religious literature in Iran," he added, giving examples from writers like Abunasr Farabi.

The IAPRS chief said scholars like Ibn Khaldoun have also offered profound insights about futurology. Ibn Khaldoun was a prominent historian, anthropologist and politician in his time.

Bagherian also said many of Shia Imams have underlined the significance of considering the future while making decisions at the present.


"The one who welcomes the future is the one with the greatest insight," Bagherian said quoting Imam Ali, the first Shia imam, peace be upon him. "The person who turns his back to the future is doomed to remain baffled for the rest of his life."


He said a growing number of leading organizations and companies have detailed strategies for the future and even in some factories, committees have been formed to conduct future-oriented studies and predictions about the future and expert groups have been put together to pursue futuristic agendas.


 The senior public relations scholar further added that forecasting is one of the chief tools adopted by PR specialists because it can help them engage in interactions with future issues by giving them constructive ideas into how to deal with yet-to-come situations.


Bagherian summed up his statements by saying that PR specialists must set their plans and strategies based on what can bring about a more positive future for them and their stakeholders and customers, and the human community, in the future.


"The future is as vital for a dynamic organization as it is a threat for a disorganized company," he said.


He also said that the book of the conference, consisting of the top articles submitted to the event, would be published a short while after the event and 100 of its participants would receive certificates for their contributions.


Message of Dr. Amybel Sánchez de Walther, IPRA President 2015, for the 12th international PR conference in Iran 27 December 2015
  As President of the International Public Relations Association, I offer my congratulations to Iran and the holding of the 12th international PR Conference with its interesting theme of Public Relations and Futurology.
 Public relations plays a key role in all aspects of personal, interpersonal, social and organizational relationships. Today PR is a respected and valued profession.
 We will all have been affected by a series of tragic events in different countries this year. And we ask ourselves: what is our response? The answer must be to return to what we do best: communication and the communication of the truth. Good communication, crafted in a way that generates reliable feedback, is the way to bring light to the darkness of misinformation. In the face of violent events communicators must be tolerant, responsible and, above all, honest. Truth not only sets us free but also restores hope and builds trust.
 A truthful PR is the basis of social responsibility that builds the reputation and credibility of an organization. Public Relations is essential for a society based on dialogue and tolerance.
 IPRA is proud once again to be associated with the international PR Conference in Iran. I would like to extend my best wishes to Mehdi Bagherian, President of AIPRS and this conference’s Secretary General as well as to every one attending this important event.
Vice-President: Confidence-Building Duty of PRs

In his address at the conference, Hujatoleslam Mohammad Ali Shahidi Mahallati, vice-president and head of the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans' Affairs, said PRs must have a firm grasp of the latest developments in their society and act as a linking piece that connects different parts of the society to each other; they must also be able to relate the establishment's ideals and intentions to the general public.


Shahidi also underlined the arrival of the week of Unity and congratulated the Prophet's birthday anniversary to all Muslims of the world.


"PR specialists can be successful in their duties only when they can ensure peace and serenity in the society by presenting truthful data to the receivers of their messages, i.e. the people," he said. "PRs must be primarily concerned with building confidence based on Islamic ethics."


The current society is saturated with different media outlets which disseminate a bulk of deceptive information and efforts must be made to propagate honesty and confidence in the society and PRs must develop as much as people begin to regard them as their trustees, he added.


Modern PR: Cyber, Live, Online

Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati sent a message to the conference in which he said: Today, public relations are cyber, live and online.

The message follows:


"Communications is the first and foremost element needed by humans and is the basis for formation of human communities. Communications is deemed as one of the foundational disciplines and a vital factor that leads to promotion and development of human societies. This is enough for understanding the significance and necessity of formation of Public Relations in the complex circles of groups, societies, nations and countries. Overlooking public relations is tantamount to losing a major segment of relations with the exterior world.


Nearly half a century has passed since the first PR office was created in Iran, but still, PR is facing various challenges to instill its identity and status. Despite the efforts exerted by PR experts, patrons and custodians who have promoted the PR science to its current status in our country, there still is lacking a firm and substantial movement in this field.


PRs shoulder the burdens of every foundation and organization in which they operate, therefore, they are not created for mere promotional and formal intentions. I believe a fourth task must be added to the three globally recognized duties of PRs which are acting in companies as a justifying, analyzing and preparing bodies, and that role would be acting as the future-looking arm of organizations and institutions.


Today's PR is a cyber, live and online one as their audience are constantly on and aware. Therefore, in order to establish or bolster the culture of development, indigenize the patterns of development, discover and introduce the society's potentialities, recreate the culture, and preserve the feeling of belonging to the society.


PRs must redefine the realm of their activities and responsibilities in the cyber world and promote their vision from being limited to the present to one that is future-oriented; otherwise the will lack the required efficiency and effectiveness that is required of them.


The era of PR offices limited and confined to a room with the job of justifying the organization's activities is over. Today, more precise and calculated steps must be taken in the glass rooms with an eye on borders beyond the organizations.


Convergence, collaborative thinking and synergy in line with social responsibilities and commitments are the chief duties of today's PRs. Today, we have no option but to think globally and act nationally and therefore, we have to exploit all communication and information potentialities in our own favor. Today the society is growing dependent on communication technologies and information networks for receiving training, communicating with others and getting data or for economic reasons. Public relations, as a job, must be deemed as the social responsibility of every organization. The more PRs act as forerunners in carrying out their social responsibilities, the more organizations will be successful in this regard.


PRs must be allowed to employ all the capacities of the organizations to turn potentialities into capabilities with the aim of general promotion.


This is why social responsibility of PRs against their stakeholders and customers in today's cyberspace is more crucial and sensitive. To be more precise, the social responsibility of PRs is stepping in the path to reaching high goals, honoring human values and being accountable for the rights of the stakeholders and customers. "


Sustainable PR Needs Revision of SR Quality

Member of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace said the future of public relations is hinged upon revisions to the quality of social responsibility (SR) of PRs and expansion of public relations technologies and the Internet.


Addressing the conference, Saeid Reza Ameli said the future of PR is dependent on the past, the present time and moving forward while relying on the factors involved in PR activities.

He said such factors are firstly linked to changes in the quality of social responsibility of PRs and secondly to public communication technologies.


The Tehran University professor further said social responsibility takes shape after companies, industries and commercial trade become sustainable.


He  argued that sustainability  is a multi-dimensional concept which concerns optimization of activities and boosting value-added of companies, and on the other hand, is focused on all the company/organization's stakeholders and customers and is primarily aimed at health of people, the environment and sustainability of resources, services, activities and the quality of life for future generations.


He further said that sustainability is a product of integrity, creativity and comprehensiveness aimed at winning satisfaction of all stakeholders and customers.


He introduced a number of social responsibility codes that companies/organizations need to refer to PRs for carrying out their social responsibilities with the aim of obtaining sustainable development and growth.


Ameli added that institutionalization of these SR codes in the information flow, can establish a smart link between public relations technologies and SR.

He also underlined the emergence of the internet of everything, and said all objects are being linked to the internet which makes PR activities more sensitive and encompassing.



PR Intertwined with SR

 The latest definitions of PR have taken distance from viewing it as a mere defender and speaker of organizations/companies and have started viewing it as being more inclined towards performing social responsibility roles, said an Imam Sadiq University lecturer during the conference.


Ahmad Pakatchi said: Based on the latest definitions, three critical factors are considered for understanding PR: the organization, the public and the profitability of the organization.

He said the latest definitions highlight the role of PR as being accountable for SR instead of just seeking the company's interests.


He drew a semiotic analysis of PRs in companies and compared it with that is the norm in current PR activities and what should be the case instead.

Also in the conference, a member of the board of directors of Malaysia's Public Relations Institution delivered an address during which he said public relations, as a job, is challenged by numerous social problems.


Tank Ku Adrian Esmaeil said modern PR emerged by the war of advertisement during the World War I and was born in the media era.

"In the information era, PRs are posed to more challenges and because of that organizations lose control of their dialogue with their customers," Adrian said.


He said online resources are exceedingly growing and form people's impressions about different aspects of life, leading to vanishing of many brands and emergence of new ones in the world.

"This will put more pressure on PR specialists to gain positive outcome from their measures," he added.

He said social interactions can have positive and negative outcomes for organizations and people's dependence on social networks can be a challenge for impacting their perceptions.


Final Communique

 Participants of the 12th Iran International Public Relations Conference call on Iranian officials to bolster the status of PRs in state organizations more than before and spare no efforts in this regard and avoid demoting it because under the current circumstances, such relegation will not be suitable for originations.


Holding the 12th PR conference at such a level which is a result of the cooperation of PR experts, scholars, managers, specialists, supporters and participants, is an indication of the capability, resistance, insight, wisdom and commitment of every single one of the members of the grand PR family who remain committed to practical materialization of Islamic-Iranian ethics, responsibility and honest services to the people.


A profound understanding of social responsibility in PR is accompanied by insightful accountability for promotion of communication ethics, honesty in building images, caring for people, transparency in informing, and offering honest services to the general public which are the duties of every member of the great PR family.


Observation of professional ethical standards in expansion and promotion of communications based on belief, honesty and equality is stressed in all managerial and operational levels of organizations across the country.


Properly employing social networks to create a wholesome communication atmosphere, useful content, and effective, ethical and culture-building relations, is a social necessity as well as a future-oriented strategy.