Archive for the ‘International PR’ Category

Public Relations in Fight Against HIV/Aids

December 1, 2009

Throughout the decade, I have come across many non-profit organizations, advertisements, marketing strategies, and campaigns helping to raise money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The best marketing strategy that stands out is when GAP went “red” by selling shirts throughout their stores to raise money for HIV/AIDS.
At the time, I didn’t realize how many people are living with AIDS, have died, and how common this epidemic has become on a global perspective. In the U.S. more than 1 million people are HIV positive. In South Africa, over 250,000 people have died from AIDS and 5.2 million people are living with AIDs in 2008 according to According to the New York Times article “South Africa to Expand to Combat Aids, South Africa has more people infected with AIDS in contrast to any other country. 35,000 babies died last year and 330,000 people died from lack of treatment under Mr.Mbeki’s governement according to Harvard researchers. As a result, Pres. Zuma will be treating pregnant women and babies who are HIV positive. As a result, more people with AIDS will be living fuller lives.
On an international public relations standpoint, a public relations practitioner has to understand cultural differences, political and economic forces along with societal forces that influences the South African culture. The primary language is English along with 11 other official languages. A practitioner’s job is to work as external or internal public relations officers. An external agent would be consultants or advisors to a company where as in internal public relations officer performs multiple functions such as organizing, media relations, and production of media messages. In relation to the HIV/AIDS issue in South Africa, it is important for one to understand the background history and how a country operates as a whole. Public Relations has had a major impact in the country’s operations, especially with HIV/AIDS. For example, due to the many struggles of political and social conflict in South Africa, public relations has been a communication tool to help build trust among the various cultures within the region. According to Skinner and Von Essen (1991) “public relations has emerged in South Africa today as a sophisticated, multi faceted discipline able to help forge effective two-way communication between an organization and its various publics.”

H1N1: A Media or Social Responsibility?

December 1, 2009

Beginning in April 2009, Swine Flu became a prevalent current event worldwide. Two months later, the Swine Flu, better known as H1N1 became a pandemic issued by the WHO. Since the summer, the H1N1 has become a global concern. The media plays a role in how serious this issue is. H1N1 is a headline on any news channel, newspaper, or online. Due to the media reporting various news angles on Swine flu, people started panicking around the world asking questions such as How do I avoid getting Swine Flu?, what are the symptoms?, and how is the government going to resolve the epidemic? Thus, the media is clearly “telling people” what to think about on a daily basis (Swine Flu) which defines the agenda setting theory. Swine Flu/ H1N1 is an example of an issue related to communication agenda setting theory in many ways. Agenda Setting Theory is defined as the media telling people what to think about. The Swine Flu/H1N1 has dominated the news on a global level since the summer. As a result, whatever headline is on the morning/evening news, or online, people are influenced on how to think about the issue as well. The main issue of the Swine Flu/H1N1 is the shortage of H1N1 vaccinations. Who receives the vaccinations first? children? Hospital employees and patients? People will begin to shape their opinions based on what the media says, which is a primary example of the Agenda Setting Theory. We are all influenced by the media one way or another on a daily basis. Furthermore, who’s responsiblity is it to explain or tell us what to think about, especially when our health is at stake? Well, according to the agenda setting theory, the media tells us what to think about.

Tres Vidas: How Do You Express Yourself in Public Relations?

November 3, 2009

The multicultural event “Tres Vidas” is a music theatre piece based on true stories about three different women expressing themselves through art and literature starring Desiree Rodriguez. Desiree has been in four plays, received a BFA in acting from Montclair State University, and is a member of Actors Equity Association. Her singing will take your breath away. I am amazed at what natural talents people have.
The first scene was about a well-known Latin American painter, Frida Kahlo, who suffered a trolley accident when she was 19 years old. She underwent 32 surgerical operations, which is the sole inspiration of her painting. Her painting style consisted of self-portraits and signify strength. Frida Kahlo was married to Diego Rivera, a prestigous painter at that time. Frida Kahlo was born on 1907 and laid to rest in 1954.
The second scene is about the sole survivor of the El Mozote, El Salavdor massacre, Rufina Amaya. The Atlacatl battalion, Salvador Army, murdered more than 700 civilians. At the time, the Atlacatl battalion was trained by U.S. advisers. However, the El Salvador and U.S. government denied the massacre while other people believed Rufina Amaya’s unique story. Two journalists by the names of Alma Prieto and Mark Dannner revealed what occurred at El Mozote. Later in the 1990s, Rufina’s story was proven true by various forensic teams who entered El Mozote.
The final scene was about the most popular female poet from Argentina, Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938) who was the most feminist poet in Latin America and the first female writer to be accepted into Buenos Aires as equal. She had lived a difficult life and at 19, she became a mother. Her main focus as a poet was women’s subordination in society during this time. In 1935, she discovered a lump in her breast while at Mar del Plata beach. She died in the sea when the cancer came back.

So, question is what do all of these women have in common and how does it relate to international public relations?

I want to first examine the three commonalites between the women. The main commonality is that they all expressed their life struggles in a unique way whether through poetry, art, or by journalism. Today, public relations is exponentially growing utilizing every tool possible that is available such as newspapers and journalists. Do you think these women used some form of public relations back then? Public relations can be defined in many ways among various international cultures such as these three women. Futhermore, Public Relations is expressed in different creative ways depending on how public relations is defined.

Even though some would argue public relations began as “propaganda,” it is clearly seen that these women used some form of public relations to tell their stories to those who may not have believed them. With that being said, what is the goal of public relations in relation to this topic? Is it to be the voice of those who may not have one such as these women?

Darfur Diaries: This Is Not a Nightmare, it’s Reality

October 19, 2009

 Chills ran through my body as I watched the documentary film on Darfur and using my knowledge from my International Studies course along with International Public Relations.  The conflict began  when there was an increase in citizens, farmers, and herders due to the large land.  In 2003, 40, 000 civilians died while there are estimated 2 million people are in refugee camps.  This film featured people who have been separated from their family and leaving all of their belongings.  These victims  are full of life and are proud of their heritage and culture. The Janjaweed, which is the  allied militias that are made up of Arab milita, have destroyed the villages in Darfur, raped women of all ages, and  have murdered civilians. In retaliation,  the SLA (Sudanese Liberation Army) was formed in 2003.  According to some of the victims, the “policy of the government is the problem. They are punishing the innocent and as aresult, the innocent are suffering mental problems. We want our freedom and peace. We formed the SLA to fight against the government for survival.”  The people in the film also felt that the government has humiliated and degraded them.  When the children were asked to draw pictures of what is happening in Darfur, they drew detailed pictures of the  Janjaweed buring their homes, killing their families, and brutally destroying all of what they worked hard for that has been in the family for many generations.  One main character who captured my heart is Ibrahim Yousef who is ten. His dad was murdered and his mother is with him in the refugee camp.  Yousef drew a picture of the Janjaweed (Sudanese Government)  bombing villages. “They came to our village to kill people.”  This film was created by three people to capture global attention since the media refused to discuss this prevalent issue. The children have dreams about the genocide, which is evidence on how big of an issue this is. One victim said that this genocide would never happen in America because we have nations that help us and are a strong country.Imagine you are not being heard by America and you were forced by the government to leave your home that you worked hard to establish leaving behind your possessions and your family is separated; some family members are killed for no reason and others you don’t know if they are alive. Day by day, you wait for this constant battle to end so you can return to your home. What would you do? I think of these children each  day and this issue should be brought to global attention.I’m amazed at how much spirit the children have despite their struggle.

<a href=’\”>’ >Darfur Genocide: A Present Reality

International Interview

October 1, 2009

My interviewee is from Saskatchewan, Canada. When she and her family first moved to Georgia, it was very sad for her daughters because they had to leave behind their friends and relatives.   The main difference between Canadian schools and U.S. schools is that students didn’t say “maam” or “sir” in Canadian schools. She and her family travel often to Saskatchewan during the holidays to visit old friends and family. “It gives my daughters an opportunity to understand that it is okay to have friends in the U.S. and Canada,” she said.  Today, it is still hard to adjust in Georgia coming from Canada because “my high school students still have a difficult time understanding me due to my accent. We do joke around and they do laugh at my accent. It goes the same way, I laugh at them as well,” she said.  She loves the weather in Georgia opposed to Canadian weather that is much colder during this time of the year. The media in Canada is similar to the media in the U.S. “Much of what we see on tv or in the newspaper is the same as the U.S.,” she said. However, marketing and public relations wasn’t that big in Canada at the time they were living there.  “There was a marketing major at the college that I graduated from with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, but not a public relations major, she said.”  Today, marketing and the public relations field is not as prevalent in Canada as it is in the U.S. “I think that a lot of the PR and that sort of advertising comes from parent US companies. There is probably minimal and a bit more in bigger centers like Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary,” she said. Even though marketing and public relations may be in more populated areas in Canada, people with a marketing degree had a difficult time finding jobs in Canada.  She also expressed how much respect she has for the public relations field because “we are the ones who influence the business all around the country because you are mobile and travel to these businesses,” she said.

Diversity in the World: South Korea

September 25, 2009

  Dr. Sun-A- Lee’s discussion on “Diversity in the World” focusing on South Korea began with a simple question: what is culture? There are various answers to this question, but following this question was why do we adopt certain things in our culture? Well, according to Dr. Sun-A-Lee, we do things in our culture because it has been passed down over time, but most importantly to survive.  

There are many differences between prejudice, stereotypes, and ethnocentrism.  With that being said, the most important difference between stereotypes and prejudice and racism is that stereotypes  that  don’t have to be negative all the time. Americans are stereotyped among other cultures as arrogant due to media such as television, radio, etc. So we  (Americans) must alter these stereotypes by learning from other cultures.

What can Americans learn from South Koreans? We can learn to work hard and take responsibility for our actions.  South Koreans socialize to be humble and honest. 

 Here are some global percentages that might shock you:

  • there is 6.8 billion global population
  • 20% are illterate
  • 1% have college education
  • less than 1% own a computer