What is possibly the world’s most populated public relations kermesse of the year is planned to be staged in Philadelphia (USA) from October 20 to 23.
Under the theme PR EVOLUTION the Public Relations Society of America, largest national association of our profession in the world, is holding its annual international conference to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
Amongst keynote speakers will be US Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, Actress and humanitarian activist Mia Farrow, political strategist Donna Brazile and meet the press moderator Tim Russert.
More than 100 professional development sessions, 10 pre-conference seminars, 16 industry specific dinners and many other events, all designed to titillate thousands of society members and their guests, will inevitably impede any serious attempt to debate the future of our profession, the major challenges it is facing and, more specifically, the role that associations should be developing in this delicate transition towards a new relevance of the profession, in an increasingly hostile social environment.
I have always been a good friend of Jack O’Dwyer and I have often criticized his harsh and unilateral criticisms of what he decided to call PRS (deliberately deleting the term America).
Specifically I have criticized that he never gave the new leadership of this organization the chance to settle in and instead began bombing it from day one with an incredible series of accusations which, even if they were (and probably are) true, are mostly attributable to leaders of the past and not those running the association today.
In any case, as Jack enumerates all of his gripes in a recent editorial.doc it seems to me relevant that, before being swamped and drowned by Philadelphia’s huge bouquet of special attractions, some thought be given to his arguments.
If I were amongst the leaders of the association, I would propose the beau jest of inviting Jack to the opening session and awarding him with the special honour of the greatest sour grape of the new century, together with the promise that the association’s leadership accepts to sit around the table and work out with patience the controversial issues. Personally I am sure he is right on some and wrong on others.
This beau jest would be a tremendous public relations tool for the association and very much appreciated, I am sure, by all those members which have not yet come under Jack’s journalistic sarcasm, which in any case is the large majority.
I don’t believe Jack could afford to refuse.
Why care so much about Jack?
The most important one, however, is that he is a savvy, old, passionate, intelligent, stubborn, unilateral advocate of public relations, and there are very few left of that stature.