RMIT Vietnam has made its presence felt at the recent World Public Relations Forum 2014 in Madrid, Spain, an event that attracted dignitaries including Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Professional Communication Senior Lecturer Mai Anh Doan and Lecturer Jade Bilowol were among almost 800 academics and PR practitioners from 65 countries who converged on the three-day conference – dubbed by organisers as "the world's biggest communication event".
Ms Doan and Ms Bilowol presented a paper titled Multinational Corporations' Role in Developing Vietnam's Public Relations Industry through Corporate Social Responsibility, recommending multinational corporations help further corporate social responsibility in Vietnam and steer the country's emerging PR industry in a socially responsible direction.
This could be achieved, they said, through clear identification of beneficiaries, and more strategic, sophisticated and long-term activities promoted with more engaging communication.
Ms Doan said the crowd's reception to their presentation was positive, with audience members asking many questions about Vietnam's emerging public relations industry and the role of corporate social responsibility.
"Public relations and corporate social responsibility are emerging in Vietnam and it is very important to document what is happening here and contribute to global public relations scholarship to truly make it more international," she said.
The conference focused on four key topics: de-constructing communication, transforming communication, leadership through communication and taking action through communication with conscience.
Ms Bilowol said the conference enabled the opportunity to learn about the latest trends in public relations globally.
"It also highlighted the opportunities and challenges ahead for the profession that we can share with our students to further help them become global in outlook and competence," Ms Bilowol said.
On the final day of the conference, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy spoke to the attendees as well as local media on the value of communication in modern society being so huge that no organisation can afford to overlook it.
"In these times of excess information, it is not always easy to do what Spanish poet Antonio Machado wrote: 'Stop and separate the voices from the echoes'," Prime Minister Rajoy said.
Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría also attended the conference and chaired a session, joining leading academics including Robert Heath and PR practitioners from companies such as Microsoft and Google.
Organised by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management and designed to connect academia to the global public relations industry, the conference was themed Communication with Conscience and held from September 21 to 23, 2014.