Digital Communication Conference Kicks off at AU with International Media Gurus

Sunday, Apr 16, 2017

The International Conference on “Digital Communication in the Age of Social Transformations”, organized by the College of Mass Communication & Humanities at Ajman University kicked off today at Ajamn University (AU).

The conference was officially inaugurated Dr. Karim Seghir, AU Chancellor, and attended by media professionals and academicians from UAE and abroad.

Chancellor Seghir addressed the participants at the opening of the ceremony, welcomed AU guests and gave a brief description about Ajman University’s new strategy for research. He highlighted the importance Ajman University places on building strong partnerships with public and private actors, stating “our stance towards scientific research is inspired by and aligned with the UAE Vision 2021”.

Dr. Hosam Salama, Dean of the College of Mass Communication & Humanities and Head of the Organizing Committee, addressed the event, presenting the responsibilities, potentials and challenges pertaining to digital communication and its impact on modern societies. He stated that this conference is a translation of the directives of H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi and the vision of H.H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, which aim at making Ajman University an incubator for excellence and expertise. He also emphasized building sustainable and mutually beneficial relations with community actors in order to promote AU community engagement and achieve its strategic objectives.

It was followed by the speeches of the two main speakers, Prof. Donald Shaw Kenan, professor of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina, US, and Dr. Danielle Sarver Coombs, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University, US.

Prof. Shaw spoke about the main challenges faced in researching new communication and information trends, which are created by the highly interactive digital communication media. Dr. Coombs addressed social media, its impact and the use of new digital communication tools by media corporations.

During the opening ceremony a short video, made by the College’s students, was projected. In addition, Dr. Karim Seghir and Dr. Hosam Salama, honored the Conference sponsors which included Ajman Chamber, Ramada Hotel and Suites, and Leap Events.

The first day of the conference will comprise of two sessions. The first session was entitled “The human dimensions for technological advancements and the shift to the digital age”. It was chaired by Prof. Yas Al Bayatti from Ajman University, Fujairah campus, and included presentations by Dr. Boushra Nadir and Mr. Mohammad Qawaq from the University of Mohammed V, Morocco; Ms. Ghaniya Shafei from Badji Mokhtar University, Algeria; and Prof. Tareq Ismael from Ajman University, UAE.

The second session, chaired by Prof. Saeed Nasef, professor of sociology at Ajman University, addressed “the role of virtual reality in modern advertising and online marketing”.  It included presentations by Dr. Mohamed Shattah from Sharjah University, UAE; Dr. Bahaeddin Ali from the University of Modern Sciences, UAE; and Dr. Marwa Al Attiya from King Abdul Aziz University, KSA.

Day 1 also included a roundtable about “the UAE transition towards smart media and media innovation”. The roundtable was facilitated by Dr. Maha Abdul Majid, from Ajman University. Many representatives from government departments took part in this sideline event, namely Dr. Abeer Al Zaabi. director of research and development at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, Ms. Fatma Al Musafiri, PR Manager at the secretariat of Ajman Executive Council, and Mr. Naser Al Yamahi, corporate communication manager at the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.

The Conference brought together prominent media figures including Philip Rayashi from Radio 4, Abeer Al Shawi from Sharjah Radio, Hanae Darwish from Kul Al Osra magazine, and Hiba Hussain from Dubai Media Corporation, who shared their organizations’ experience with smart media and corporate excellence.

The organization of this international conference falls in line with the new strategy devised by Dr. Karim Seghir, which places research and community engagement at the forefront of the priorities of Ajman University to reaffirm AU’s position as a leading higher education institution in the UAE and Arab region.