World leaders have promised to end poverty, reduce inequalities, and tackle climate change by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Egypt has also set its domestic SDGs. Accordingly, the fourth edition of the Narrative PR Summit, powered by CC Plus, a corporate communications and media consultancy agency, will hammer on sustainable development.
The summit will be held in partnership with the League of Arab States during the Arab Sustainable Development Week.
“It was imperative for us that we create a platform for further encourage discussion about the urgency of sustainable development and illuminate the success that has been achieved thus far,” Lamia Kamel, the chairperson of CC Plus told Daily News Egypt.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Lamia Kamel, the chairperson of CC Plus, and the political communication Guru, to speak about this year’s edition, how can it help Egypt achieve SDGs, and how soft power and content specialists can be just as powerful as government officials in impacting a nationwide development.
What’s different about this year’s edition of the Summit?
This year, we are placing our focus on sustainable development and the summit will be held in partnership with the League of Arab States during the Arab Sustainable Development Week, which means that we will be operating on a regional platform. The state has done an incredible amount of work towards achieving our 2030 Vision, and it was imperative for us that we create a platform for further encourage discussion about the urgency of sustainable development and illuminate the success that has been achieved thus far.
How can this summit help Egypt achieve its SDGs?
The 17 SDGs is partnership and that is what our initiative is all about. Since the beginning, a cornerstone of Narrative has been forging effective and strategic partnerships between the government, the private sector, and civil society. Achieving sustainable development requires large-scale partnerships between all these entities that take advantage of all our combined resources. Our platform brings together a wide array of decision-makers and opinion leaders under one roof to foster creativity and encourage future cooperation. It is also our role as branding and marketing experts to showcase the incredible progress being made towards achieving the SDGs and to promote discussion on these topics in order to inspire more action.
What inspired you to start this summit?
Egypt has been through monumental changes post-2011. After that, the portrayal of our image as a nation both domestically and internationally became quite distorted. I have always believed in the tremendous potential that Egypt possesses and so I felt that it was my duty to help give Egypt a voice to tell its own stories. I wanted to create a platform that allowed us to narrate our stories and communicate it with people from all around. We brought entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, policy-makers, and iconic figures together to share their experiences and discuss our challenges and successes. I wanted to create an initiative that would inspire people to keep pushing forth by witnessing all the incredible things that we can (and have) achieved as a country. Our goal was always to position Egypt as a positive entity.
This year’s edition has a very diverse selection of participants, what was your selection criteria?
We always like to have speakers from a wide array of industries and specializations. We approach people who think outside of the box and are positive change-makers in their fields. We look for the kind of people that are truly inspiring and have the power to leave a lasting impact on people and encourage them to get up and take action. This year, we wanted to choose people who have really made a positive difference when it comes to sustainability. It is also very important for us to invite international speakers to take a look at the global picture as well as to communicate our progress and achievements to the outside world. We are very eager to be hosting very influential speakers this year, such as Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank Group Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships. Another amazing speaker is Salah Hassan who is a global authority on nation branding and a professor of brand management at George Washington University and CEO of regional real estate development company Walid El Hindi. Scott Guthrie, a renowned influencer marketing consultant, is another one of our exciting speakers. We will also be hosting Gordon Tredgold, international business speaker, coach, and consultant who will discuss setting big goals and being persistent and Shehab Taha who is currently the project manager for Turner International Middle East and the man behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
How can nation branding help Egypt in achieving its potential, in terms of tourism development, attracting investments, etc?
Broadly, what nation branding aims to do is effectively market a nation’s distinct image and reputation to the world so as to best serve its interests. The Narrative platform is about bringing together the brightest minds together and displaying out efforts and progress as a nation locally, regionally, and internationally. Nation branding is about choosing how to communicate our stories to the world in a way that will attract people, be it investors, tourists, partners, etc. It is about breaking stereotypes and allowing us to decide how our story is told and effectively showcase our potential.
Can you tell us how much of the previous edition’s recommendations have been implemented until now?
One of the main objectives of Narrative Summit 2018 was forging partnerships that will promote our ideas and take them forward. We have been moving forward since with such partnerships with many different entities, including Photopia Photo Week and Richard Claydermen. Most notably, perhaps, is our cooperation with the League of Arab States for Narrative 2019. Our goal was to make Narrative a year-round initiative, continuously collaborating with different platforms. We also succeeded in launching a sub-event, called Narrative Disruptors which took in place earlier this year in April and placed a heavy focus on digital transformation. We continue to utilize our platform to shed light on different topics by building partnerships with different organisations to aid us in our ultimate goal: positively branding Egypt. As an initiative, we are always open to collaboration and accommodating as many partners as we can.
As a woman who leads a company, and with the strong female line-up of ministers, and executives attending the summit, how hard do you think it is for women to assume a leadership position?
I think reaching a leadership position is about how hard we work and how passionate we are about what we do. I am against the idea that we should allot certain positions for women, instead, I am for giving everyone an equal chance to compete. I don’t think women ever come second to men or that we should have to fight for our rights. We compete in the same fields and offer as much value as anyone else. As a nation, I definitely think we are on the right track to creating equal opportunities regardless of gender and it is definitely a topic that we, as an initiative, want to tackle.
What advice would you give to young females who are starting their professional life?
I want to tell them that there is nothing stopping them on their journey to success. Never let anyone convince you that that females are less capable in any way than men. Use your abilities and knowledge to your best advantage and believe in the work that you are doing and be willing to work on it day and night. It’s okay to fail at first; nothing comes easy. Just make sure to always be inspired enough to get back up and try again.