First regional association of public communicators in the making in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Focus conference has announced the forming of an association of communicators in the public sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, first of its kind in the region, which will work on affirmation and empowerment of this profession

Last Friday the agency Apriori World organized the first Focus Conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the Hollywood Hotel in Sarajevo. Under the slogan “closer to people”, the leading experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of public relations in public administration and public companies gathered to share knowledge and experience. The conference was officially opened by the Deputy Mayor of the City of Sarajevo, Milan Trivić, while addresses were also made by the Mayor of the Municipality of Ilidža, Senaid Memić, Coordinator for Public Administration Reform Dragan Ćuzulan, and on behalf of organizers Josipa Terzić Rezić and Danijel Koletić, Chairman of the Organizing Committee.
As pointed out by Deputy Mayor Milan Trivić, communication in our region is neglected and marginalized, and communication is only considered when a problem arises. Following the activities of the London Mayor, he noted the benefits of continuous communication of their administration over social networks, and noticed that no such level of communication with the public is practiced in our region.
What we could see from almost all the speeches and commentaries at the conference is that one of the biggest challenges for public sector communicators is the lack of understanding for their contribution to successful public administration. As specifically defined by Elvis Mujanović, Advisor for International Development at GIZ BiH, PR is considered in public administration only as a supplement, not as one of the key elements of a quality administration. This challenge is conditioned by a number of factors, including frequent changes in management positions, budget constraints, lack of educated leadership, and so on.
For these reasons, at the initiative of Danijel Koletić, head of the Cabinet of the Presidency of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH Admir Katica announced the establishment of an association of communicators from the public sector in BiH. Katica and Koletić confirmed for Media Marketing that the association is already in the process of registering and that currently they are working on harmonizing the statute of the new association with all stakeholders. The basic aim of the association will be to better position the profession through education, joint action and promotion of the basic values ​​of public relations.
It should be noted that the importance of such an association was recognized by the conference participants. Among the first who supported the founding of the new association was the Mayor of Čapljina Municipality, Smiljan Vidić, who pledged a contribution of €1000 for the initial activities of the new association. Furthermore, the Special Advisor to the President of the Croatian Government for Strategic Communication, Krešimir Macan, offered his services in the educational aspect of the activities of the association, free of charge.
Contributions to the international character of the conference came in the form of lectures by two prominent foreign communication experts; Alessandro Buttice, who has been in charge of leading communications at the highest levels of the European Union for almost 30 years, with the theme: “The importance of transparent communication in public administration and public companies”; and Simon Jones, Director of Westco Communications, and the Chairman of Local Government Communications UK, with the lecture “The Power of Communication in Building Trust and Improving Life”
Through examples of good practice, communication experts from the region covered the topics: “Small School of Transparency – Open Budget Challenge”, “Leaders of the Future”, “Improving the Image in the Public Sector”, “Communication and Public Relations in the Local Community” and “Using New Media Tools in Public Administration”, while the lecture on “Innovation in the Digital Space” presented the innovative contactless communication that will greatly improve the quality of life of citizens and the functionality of public administration.
The second edition of the Focus Conference also hosted Krešimir Macan, a special adviser for strategic communication of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, with a topic; “We are here for you, and not vice versa – how PR changes public administration”.
The goal of the Focus Conference is to gather individuals engaged in public relations in public administration and public companies, to discuss strategies, tactics and communication processes. Focus Conference is the platform for connecting, sharing knowledge and experiences and defining guidelines for new communication processes.
“After analyzing the communications sector market, trends and perceived positions of employees in public administration and public companies, I decided to establish and launch this education program. By exchanging views, experiences and practices through open communication, I believe we can achieve a better perception and better status for the profession. Following the successful launch of the first Focus Conference in Tuhelj, at the end of 2017, due to the great interest and response to this type of expert gathering in the region, we organized its second edition here in Sarajevo,” said the Chairman of the Organizing Committee and CEO of Apriori World, Danijel Koletić.
Under the motto “Closer to People”, Focus brings together representatives of the public and private sectors to start achieving the goals of common progress through simple and transparent communication. Consequently, the Focus conference program, through practical examples of prominent domestic and foreign communications experts, provides participants with education on the latest trends in public sector communication, the challenges that employees in public administration face, and advice on how to improve communication at all levels.