On the 4th of November this post opened a fruitful dialogue between professionals from two European countries (Italy and Romania) and sparked an interesting debate with the participation of visitors and commentators from many other countries ranging from New Zealand, Austria, Canada, the Uk, the USA, Portugal, Latin America and South Africa.
The issue raised by that post was the possibility of proving the effectiveness of the very recent public diplomacy school of thought called sociological globalism -please read this by applying some of its principles to the recent issue of rising tensions between the people of Romania and Italy.
Now, only a couple of weeks later, together with my just-as-concerned and admirable Romanian colleagues Dimutru Bortun and Liviu Muresan, we are happy to report that the project has made progress and -should everything continue to move forward at the same pace- in the next ten days the public relations professional associations of the two countries will be able to announce the start up of a detailed three month joint program of activities -which will also incorporate a predefined mechanism to measure success- thus getting ready to prove the public benefit of public relations (also for the London June 2008 world public relations festival!).
By the way, it is worth noting that the two associations decided to describe themselves to their interlocutors as concerned non governmental organizations -!….funny.. we are so embedded in our market culture that we normally refrain-from and are even embarassed-in using such description which, to the contrary, so well fits our professional associations…
By invitation of our Romanian colleagues, and accompanied by another Italian colleague Claudia Gambarotta , I visited Bucharest last Wednesday and, in successive meetings, met with top ranking officials of the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, of the Premiers’ Office, plus a quick lunch with a relevant and enthusiastic representative of the Italian business community in Romania.
This visit followed up on:
°conversations with relevant representatives of both the Italian government and of the European Commission;
°correspondence with our regional (Cerp) and global (Global Alliance) professional organizations;
°a completed and active recruitment, through the Ferpi Association website (www.ferpi.it), of 12 proactive professional volunteers willing to work together on the effort.
From each of these conversations and contacts we received attention, curiosity and encouragement, together with the feeling that -if we play our cards correctly-we will be able raise sufficient private and public resources in the form of a matching fund scheme:
°so much we collect from a second economic coalition of Italian companies operating in Romania and Romanian companies operating in Italy.
°so much we collect by the institutional/government coalition…
The whole aim of the project is to create a third coalition together with the leaders of the Romanian communities in Italy (1 million people) and the leaders of the Italian communities in Romania (50.000 people) and, with their support and active contribution, prepare carefully thought-out, highly diversified contents to be strongly advocated and widely distributed throughout all the members of those communities.
This in the presumption that -if the content quality is high and for that reason usable- the latter may wish to channel those contents through their ongoingand constant communication with their friends, peers and families back home (by mobile, land lines, chat, email, snailmail and all other forms of social and ora-media) to respectively con-vince both communities that they have much to suffer if they do not actively get involved in changing the more vulnerable and misconceived perceptions of their respective public opinions.
The specific issues addressed by the program will be carefully selected (and connected to specific indicators of effectiveness) by an attentive analysis of existing sources as well as the outcomes of a battery of research efforts to be immediately conducted (and then repeated at end of program):
°romanian public opinion (representative sample)
°italian public opinion (representative sample)
°opinions of Romanians in Italy (through community channels)
°opinions of Italians in Romania (through community channels).
The project is socially explained by the fear that xenophobic and ethnic tensions could well increase and also expand throughout other European countries by effect of the accelerating world economic crisis, which will inevitably reduce individual incomes and work perspectives, and theoretically explained by the growing awareness that migrant community communication with public opinion back home is possibly the most powerful and certainly the least studied force of influence, and goes direct and immediate, rather than being interpreted and intermediated by institutions and media who have their own agenda to advocate.
Will keep you posted….