Over 1,000 media scholars share views at IAMCR Cairo 2006
CAIRO: More than 1,000 professional scholars and media experts of different nationalities gathered to exchange views and debate various topics in one of the biggest mass media research conferences worldwide. The International Association for Media and Communication Research Conference, IAMCR 2006, was held under the theme of Knowledge Societies for All: Media and Communication Strategies.
Hosted by the Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) department of the American University in Cairo (AUC), prominent Egyptian and international figures attended the opening ceremony at Ewart Hall. This is the first time the conference has been held in Egypt.
Nasser Kamel, chairman of the State Information Service, who delivered the speech on behalf of Minister of Information Anas El Fiki at the ceremony, says that hosting such a conference at AUC and organizing it in Cairo demonstrates the enabling environment in Egypt and the quality of AUC as a professional academic institution, as well as the quality of the organizers and the participants.
Any interaction between media professionals and academics in Egypt and their counterparts in the rest of the world is very beneficial to both categories. It is a very enriching experience for the participants, for the university and a great learning experience for everyone, Kamel tells The Daily Star Egypt.
AUC began preparing for the conference two years ago, after winning in a competition with other universities contending to host the conference.
It has been a very tiring two years of preparation, but, exceeding a thousand, the number of participants in the conference is already a record for the IAMCR, says Hussein Amin, head of the organizing committee of the IAMCR and the chairman of the JMC department.
Amin says that hosting this conference at AUC will reflect many benefits on the department.
Hosting this conference at AUC is an honor . Prestige, accreditation, exchanging thoughts and ideas between our faculty and students and the international experts in the field and allowing students from other Egyptian universities to integrate in the professional atmosphere of the conference are all benefits reflected from hosting such a conference, says Amin.
The major objective of the conference is to tackle and debate issues related to knowledge societies, highlighting their importance and contribution to the current media.
According to Sara El Khalili, IAMCR coordinator, more than 300 academic papers have been submitted by participants to be discussed during the 172 sessions at the conference. Participants are expected to share their views on topics including mobile media, digital devices, gender equality, communication policy and technology and other topics during various plenary sessions.
The aim of the conference is to focus on the process of what is known as knowledge societies. What does knowledge society really mean? Whose are knowledge societies, and are they going to be equitable or not. It focuses on that theme and the strategies one might adopt in order to make change in the world, not just observe it, says Robin Mansell, president of IAMCR.
Egypt or any other Middle Eastern country has a different kind of media organization. The association does research that reflects on that organization and thinks about how it could be improved, she adds.
We bring some expertise from outside Egypt and hope that we will exchange views from people from this country about how it might improve and strengthen the contribution of media, says Mansell.
Ole Prehn, secretary general of the IAMCR, says the theme of the conference, which is Knowledge Societies for All, implies that there is not only one kind of knowledge society.
It also implies that knowledge doesn’t require a certain social class. Though we have professionals from upper classes, we have different sessions in the conference that assure that knowledge is for all, says Prehn.