Dear GlobCom Students around the World,

It is again a great pleasure for all of us that we can begin the 14th year of GlobCom, our multicultural global communications project. Students and lecturers will be collaborating in global virtual teams with 16 universities in 16 countries on five continents. There are not many other institutions in the world working so closely together for a couple of months to come up with common goals. We know from our experience of global organizations that the diversity and collaboration of cultures and expertise also in global internet teams can achieve great success.

How GlobCom began
Enric Ordeix,PhD, the VP of the GlobCom Institute and lecturer in Barcelona and I started the annual GlobCom project thirteen years ago. Previously, when the internet was still beginning, I initiated an European co-operation within an agency network. As the agency’s European CEO, I arranged for young people in our many European offices to meet each other. They formed culturally diverse teams and as a result created excellent public relations projects.

The challenge
Working in these global online teams is not always an easy process. Cultures are diverse and there are many prejudices and misunderstandings to be overcome which can be frustrating. Even in Europe common words and terms may not have the same meaning. Furthermore, public relations is often understood and implemented differently in each country. Also, working virtually means we do not have the same social benefits as face-to-face teams therefore building team cooperation and carrying out regular communication is more challenging but even more vital.

Every year, after the rich experience of GlobCom, participants say they have a much greater knowledge and understanding of international public relations as well as of people around the world.

The GlobCom project and symposium
GlobCom students collaborate in global virtual teams. Each team has the same client brief and develops a global proposal. This year nine international student teams will compete with each other just like international PR agencies pitching for one global client. Since 2003 GlobCom team members have had the unique opportunity to meet each other at a symposium after a couple of months of online collaboration. This year, the Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, is hosting the symposium from May 21 to May 24 in Abu Dhabi, UAE and we are all invited.
Previously we have met in Erfurt (2003), Barcelona (2004 and 2011), Gorizia (2005), Palma de Mallorca (2006), Lisbon (2007), Abu Dhabi (2008, 2009 and 2012), Cheltenham (2010), Stellenbosch (2013) and Boston (2014). Many ongoing international friendships started at these times.

I wish you all not only much success, but – most importantly – lots of fun. Enjoy GlobCom 2016!

I look forward to seeing you all in Abu Dhabi in May 2016.
Best wishes

v_stoltzVolker Stoltz

Global Communication Institute e.V.

February 2016