Middle East’s first Common Ground inspired initiative at Middlesex University in Dubai Supported by Havas, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP agencies, Cisco and Impact Hub Dubai
Fifty first year undergraduate students at the Middlesex University in Dubai bravely presented a series of socially-motivated campaign ideas on Thursday to media industry leaders, at an event inspired by the ‘Common Ground’ agreement signed by the world’s six largest advertising firms earlier this year.
The students presented campaigns advocating for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (the Global Goals) related to Poverty, Health and Wellbeing, Gender Equality, Jobs and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequality, Responsible Production and Consumption and Climate Action - receiving positive feedback from attending industry experts.
Amongst the attending experts were were Sherif Shafie, Head of Communications - Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Cisco; Carlos Nedal, New Business Director at Havas Middle East; Lisa Welsh, General Manager at Hill and Knowlton UAE; Aman Merchant, CEO at Impact Hub Dubai; Sami Moutran, PR Director for Memac Ogilvy UAE; Riham Musleh, Communications Director for MSL Group and Andreas Keller, Managing Director for Weber Shandwick Dubai.
The event was recognised by the United Nations with Cristina Gallach, Undersecretary General for Communications and Public Information sharing a video message to open proceedings. She said: “I am delighted to know that all of you are here today whether you work for a communications company, or if you are a student of communications, to discuss how best to promote and popularize the Sustainable Development Goals. “In an industry that is so competitive the Common Ground initiative is an opportunity for rivals to come together for the common good of all people and in support of global goals that seek the elimination of poverty, injustice, inequality and much more. ”
Middlesex’s advertising, PR and journalism students have bee studying the Sustainable Development Goals since September as a case study for their Issues in Media & Society Module. They have participated in the "World’s Largest Lesson" and benefited from guest lectures from Project Everyone’s co-founder Gail Gallie and visiting experts in Carbon Capture technologies from the Teeside Collective.
Cody Paris, Deputy Director at Middlesex University in Dubai offered opening remarks welcoming our guests: “Middlesex University has always been active anytime we have an opportunity to celebrate, share or work towards the Sustainable Development Goals - whether that is through our Masters program, or for our younger students like we have today.
The attending experts praised the presentations and challenged the students to go further - to come up with ideas that scared them, to identify local examples of the issues raised within the Goals and find unlikely allies to support them.
In 2017 the students will learn how to activate their campaigns, drilling down into how to maximize the use of social and digital channels, as well as other traditional marketing tactics to bring their campaigns to life.