International communication is a paradox. Today we have more ways of communicating, but we also have more problems understanding the impact the diverse means of communication have upon our world and within our communities.
Our society is increasingly reliant upon information. As well, knowledge-based industries demand innovative ways of exchanging information, technology and expertise. We require new models for sharing what we know.
Set up to address these needs, Orbicom is an international network that links communications leaders from academic, media, corporate and government circles with a view to providing for the exchange of information and the development of shared projects.
A global Mandate to Enhance Communications
Orbicom is supported by internationally-based institutions, media, governments and corporations. However, Orbicom's mandate derives from UNESCO's New Communications Strategy unanimously adopted at the 1989 General Conference. This Conference foresaw that new communications technologies would have a significant impact upon the complex processes shaping economies, the environment, social justice, democracy, and peace.
Societal change depends upon participatory communications. Greater access to information and increased ways of exchanging knowledge affect social development, democratization and good governance. Orbicom brings the Chairs and the associate members together in a global network.
A Network Designed to Link Diversity of Approach and International Expertise
Jointly created in 1994 by UNESCO and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), ORBICOM is a network of 250 associate members and 30 UNESCO chairs in Communications from around the world. Orbicom currently comprises chairs from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, South Africa (2), Russia, Spain (3), United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States (2) and Uruguay. Each of these Chairs includes communications leaders from the private and public sectors. This international collaboration of academics, high level corporate decision makers, policy consultants, and media specialists makes the Orbicom Network unique and constitutes a truly multidisciplinary approach to the promotion of communications development.
Specific Areas of Expertise
Orbicom's Network underscores its multinational, multisectorial and multilingual approach, and includes expertise in seven key areas.
Communications and international development which include international aid policies, decision-making processes, and cross- cultural communications issues.
National information policies and communications law which include issues relating to access to information, the impact of media and cultural products on the economy, standards and regulations, as well as intellectual property concerns.
Access to, transfer and use of new technologies (NTIC) which include multimedia, automation, innovative media applications and interconnectivity.
Strategic development with reference to communications training, conflict resolution, and inter- or intra-institutional communications. Media development and management which include new media issues (Internet, WWW, Hypertext, etc.), editorial freedom, and private and public media. Public relations, public affairs and advertising which include crisis management, political and social communications, accountability, and promotion and marketing of goods and services. Professional training and ethics in journalism, public relations and other communications activities.
Action, Training and Research
Communications technologies are essential to the generation and sharing of knowledge and information. In turn, successful exchanges enhance both research and concrete intervention.Orbicom is committed to developing dynamic research, teaching, training, and publishing projects that will lead to more participatory communications processes.
To achieve this goal, Orbicom has set the following objectives:
- Develop and promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise in communications through education, research and concrete action.
- Link specialists around the world who work in different communications sectors.
- Set up training and internship programmes to improve communications capabilities, and enhance the building and sharing of expertise.
- Establish exchange programmes for professors and specialists willing to share their expertise with other countries.
- Develop publications and conference programmes for the international communications sector.
- Provide expertise and consulting services to international organizations, as required.
Information is dynamic. By the time one figures out a system, it will most likely have changed. No one strategy can solve all problems. Orbicom's success depends upon an ongoing cross-fertilization among members. We need to be constantly developing new methods to convey knowledge and skills. Orbicom's alliance of academic, media, corporate and public policy communications leaders fosters sustained consultation between different groups and regions. Orbicom's strength and uniqueness stem from the convergence of member expertise and vision.Partners from universities, foundations, private corporations, public organizations and professional associations work together to define Orbicom policy. This co-operation enables them to devise strategic broad-based plans for worldwide communications development.
Building Strategic Partnerships
Corporations, foundations, professional associations and leaders in communications industries bring their support in Orbicom. Some choose to sponsor one or more Orbicom activities while others fund a UNESCO Chair.
Association with the Orbicom Network provides leading communications industries with an outstanding tool for global involvement, high level exchange, and the opportunity to build strategic alliances with partners in the vanguard of international communications from around the world.Involvement includes sponsorship of one or more Orbicom or UNESCO Chair activities: funding internships, exchanges and research in communications; sponsoring symposia; supporting the interactive electronic site; and, assisting with publications.Orbicom members and partners benefit from the unique interconnectivity and international collaboration that bring communications practice, research and vision together in a global approach to a shared future.