“Let’s talk society! How strategic communication shapes value and innovation in society” was the main theme of this year’s annual communication congress, EUPRERA 2016, Groningen. The congress was organised by the Geert Hofstede Consortium in collaboration with the School of Communication, Media & IT of the Hanze UAS. It took place on the 29th and 30th of September and 1st of October in Groningen, at Hanze UAS and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
EUPRERA stands for European Public Relations Education and Research Association. It is a body of academic institutions, researchers and senior professionals in the field of strategic communication with 500 members from 40 countries, aiming to advance academic research and knowledge in strategic communication. In 2016, the annual congress was held in Groningen under the main theme “Let’s talk society! How strategic communication shapes value and innovation in society”. Nearly 200 communication professionals and master students from all around the world visited Groningen for 2 days. The programme included paper-, panel- and open space sessions, workshops, networking lunches and a gala dinner at the historical venue – the Der Aa-kerk. Well-established keynote speakers such as Prof. Dr. Ir. Jan Rotmans (Professor of Transition Management at Erasmus University), Anton Buijs (Communications and PA Manager at GasTerra) and Marjolijn Meynen (former Head of Communications & Marketing at the Rijksmuseum) gave presentations. Drs. Loes Damhof, who was the recipient of the Dutch national award for the Lecturer of the Year 2016, hosted the event. The EUPRERA 2016 event characterised itself as a mix of local Groningen/Dutch culture in synergy with international atmosphere. Moreover, on the last day of the congress, the participants visited Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum, where they had the chance to see Dutch art masterpieces.
For the first time in the organisation of the congress, Master students were invited to participate in such an event. Our own master students from the Master’s programme in International Communication (MIC) were among those who participated. Lavania Arunaselam, shares “EUPRERA is a great place for students, who are about to enter the professional working field, to network and get insights on communication in different fields”. Cecilie Larsen adds that “it is important to include the young minds of communication in the dialogue because it stimulates new ideas and perspectives. It was also inspiring and encouraging to see that one of the MIC alumna has won the best thesis award, which shows that young minds can make contributions to the professional and academic field”.
Indeed, yearly at every congress, EUPRERA awards the best written academic papers, in which one of them is the EUPRERA Master Thesis Award for Excellence. For the third time, one of our MIC alumna has won this prestigious award. Alena Lakova’s thesis was chosen out of theses from over 40 countries and was recognised by well-established professors as outstanding and innovative within the communication field.
The evaluation of the congress scored 4 out 5 points, which is a great compliment for the organisers. This proves that EUPRERA 2016 Annual Congress, Hanze UAS and Groningen together on one stage, is a success!