Last Thursday (November 16), the MSc Strategic Communication met two excellent guest speakers from the UK Government Communication Service: Alex Aiken, Executive Director of UK Government Communications Pinky Badhan, Head of Government Campaigns and Strategy at the Prime Minister Office and Cabinet Office. Both sessions were part of the module “COMM505-PR and Investor Relations in Practice” and Alex Aiken’s talks also inaugurated this year’s Strategic Communication Leaders Seminar Series.
In the morning, Pinky Badhan expounded the structure of a government campaign, introducing us to OASIS, which is the model they use to plan, implement and evaluate campaigns. She offered the students a very practical explanation about how different government campaigns work and gave detailed analysis of real case studies.
In the evening, we had the pleasure to welcome Alex Aiken at our London campus
. In his seminar, he outlined the historical development of government communications in the UK and provided some interesting insights about its connection to concepts such as democracy and society. Alex Aiken also argued that government communication should not be conceived of as a monologue but rather as a dialogue, which means for example to acknowledge people’s reactions and concerns on different issues. Then, he stressed the importance of honest communication for the government to be trusted by citizens and the public opinion at large.
Overall, both speakers were very helpful for us and broadened our view about Government communications. After the talks we had the opportunity to ask questions to the guest speakers and to actively engage with them. Alex Aiken’s public seminar was also attended by other students and staff from the London campus, who found the meeting very interesting and insightful.
“I’m starting to think about a new approach of government communication in my country and how it could be integrated with national objectives”, said one of the Strategic Communication students, who were able to combine what they learned in previous lectures with a professional perspective.
Xueying Zhang, Aisamal Abilkhan, Chiara Mercuri (MSc Strategic Communication students)