Dear GlobCom Students around the World,
It is a great pleasure for all of us to begin the 18th year of GlobCom, our multicultural global Public Relations project. Students and lecturers will be collaborating in global virtual teams with 15 universities in 15 countries on four 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
Dr. Volker Stoltz, The Chairman of the GlobCom Institute and then lecturer at Erfurt University and former European CEO for the global PR firm Weber Shandwick, came to my Mercer’s office in 2002 to start the first edition of GlobCom project. This project was the evolution of an old Dr. Stoltz’s project. Previously, when the internet was still beginning, he initiated a co-operation within the European Weber Shandwick’s offices. As the European CEO, he arranged a contest where they formed culturally diverse teams where were able to created so advanced communication concepts for the clients.
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 understanding as face-to-face teams might have; therefore building team cooperation and carrying out regular communication is more challenging but even more vital.
After 17 terms, about 6000 alumni have enriched their cross-cultural experience through GlobCom. According to our surveys, once participated to GlobCom they have a much greater knowledge and understanding of international public relations as well as of people around the world. Nowadays, and thanks of our expertise and professional print of GlobCom, we are yearly endorsing the Cross Cultural Communication Conference and the MA-Global Communication, Leadership and Corporate Diplomacy at Blanquerna-URL (Barcelona), a year intensive program for advanced students.
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.
Previously we have met in Erfurt (2003), Barcelona (2004 and 2011), Gorizia (2005), Palma de Mallorca (2006), Lisbon (2007), Abu Dhabi (2008, 2009, 2012 and 2016), Cheltenham (2010), Stellenbosch (2013), Boston (2014), Sarawak, Malaysia (2015), Bangalore (2017), Bangkok (2018) and, last year, Lisbon (2019). Many ongoing international friendships started at these times.
I wish you all not only much success, but – most importantly – lots of fun. Enjoy GlobCom 2020!
Global Communication Institute e.V.