Curtin Sarawak hosting first GlobCom to be held in Malaysia

GlobCom 2015, being held for the first time in Malaysia.

GlobCom 2015, being held for the first time in Malaysia.

Miri – 12 March 2015 – Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) is hosting the 13th edition of the Global Communication Project, or GlobCom 2015, in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia from 4 to 6 June 2015.

GlobCom is an annual multicultural global communications project involving 15 universities in 15 countries on five continents. It is being held for the first time in Malaysia this year, having been previously held in Erfurt, Germany (2003), Barcelona, Spain (2004 and 2011), Gorizia, Italy (2005), Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2006), Lisbon, Portugal (2007), Abu Dhabi (2008, 2009 and 2012), Cheltenham, United Kingdom (2010), Stellenbosch, South Africa (2013) and Boston, USA (2014).

The participating universities are Curtin University (Australia), Curtin Sarawak (Malaysia), Universidad de Valparaiso (Chile), University of Erfurt (Germany), Institute of Journalism & Mass Communication (Commits) (India), Università degli Studi di Udine (Italy), AUT University (New Zealand), Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon (Portugal), St. Petersburg State University (Russia), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Ramon Llull University (Spain), Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), Zayed University (United Arab Emirates), Leeds Beckett University (United Kingdom) and Emerson College (USA).

PR or communications students and lecturers of the universities will participate by collaborating in eight virtual international student teams, each team taking on the roles of international PR agencies and pitching for one global client.

Given the same client brief, the teams will compete to develop global PR strategies for this year’s chosen ‘client’ – the Heart of Borneo Initiative. The Initiative is a unique government-led and NGO-supported conservation and sustainable development programme established by a joint declaration by the governments of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia in 2007.

While working on their projects over two months, members of the virtual teams will collaborate online with each other via e-mail, internet phone and social media. They will then meet in Miri for GlobCom 2015 to present their proposals and be judged on the merits of their strategies and presentations.

Representatives of institutions of higher learning, as well as those of local non-governmental organisations, government agencies and members of the public interested to know more about the Heart of Borneo Initiative and GlobCom are invited to attend the GlobCom 2015 Symposium on 5 June 2015, during which the teams will make their presentations. It will be held in The Auditorium at the Curtin Sarawak campus.

Whilst in Miri, the participants will be hosted to a welcoming networking event by Curtin Sarawak, make their presentations before the panel of judges and audience, as well as attend an awards presentation dinner and social event. They will also have the opportunity to visit area attractions before departing Miri.

GlobCom has seven key objectives: collaborating in a multicultural team; overcoming cultural barriers; acting together online in a virtual team; working as an agency solving a global PR issue; recognising  the strength of cultural diversity; learning to implement global strategies locally; convincing via a presentation.

According to Volker Stoltz, president of Global Communication Institute e.V. and co–founder of the GlobCom project along with Enric Ordeix, vice-president of the GlobCom Institute and a lecturer in Barcelona, the diversity and collaboration of cultures and expertise in global virtual teams can achieve great success once they overcome the initial challenges.

“Working in global virtual teams is not an easy process. Cultures are diverse and there are many prejudices and misunderstandings to be overcome, which can be frustrating. Also, working virtually means the teams do not have the same social benefits of face-to-face teams, and therefore, building team cooperation and carrying out regular communication is more challenging, and even more vital,” he said.

He added that in different parts of the world, common words and terms may not have the same meaning. Furthermore, public relations is often understood and implemented differently in each country. However, every year, after the rich experience of GlobCom, the participants say they walk away with a much greater knowledge and understanding of international public relations as well as of people around the world.

Meanwhile, event organiser and lecturer in Curtin Sarawak’s Department of Marketing and Management, Faculty of Business and Humanities, Dr. Kamala Vainy Pillai, said she is looking forward to a very exciting and successful GlobCom in Miri.

She also expressed hopes that representatives of universities, colleges, government agencies and NGOs in Sarawak will take the opportunity to attend the GlobCom 2015 Symposium to discover how the Heart of Borneo Initiative, and biodiversity in Borneo in general, can be promoted effectively internationally.

For more information on GlobCom 2015, log on to www.curtin.edu.my/GlobCom2015, email globcom2015@curtin.edu.my, or call the GlobCom2015 Secretariat at +60 85 443 939 ext. 3916. Information on GlobCom and the Heart of Borneo Initiative can be found at www.globcom.org and www.heartofborneo.org respectively.

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