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EUPRIO 2013 all set for June take-off at the University of Kent

Venues are all booked, the keynote speakers are in place and it’s all systems go for take-off for EUPRIO’s 2013 conference at the University of Kent in the UK.

The annual conference provides EUPRIO members with a stimulating opportunity to discuss best practice, hear about new trends and do some serious networking.

This year it takes place from 27-30 June at the University of Kent’s lovely Canterbury campus, set in woodland with wonderful views overlooking the historic cathedral city, with delegates staying in en-suite bedrooms on campus.

It will be the first time in ten years that EUPRIO has held its annual conference in Great Britain, following the highly successful and warmly remembered Durham conference of 2003.

UK’s European University

EUPRIO’s UK Steering Committee member Christopher Coe said: “I am particularly pleased that our host will be the University of Kent. Not only is this institution situated in one of the most attractive parts of the country, but it brands itself as the UK’s European University, which makes it a fitting venue for a conference which will explore some of the challenges facing universities in Europe.”

The main keynote address will be given by Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive of the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency. The second keynote slot will feature a fascinating panel discussion involving university student representatives from across Europe on the student ‘experience’, chaired by a leading UK higher education journalist.

As always, the programme will feature the best in current higher education public relations thinking and practice through workshops and master classes. The theme this year will focus on how universities can encourage students, staff and alumni to become positive commentators on behalf of their institutions and higher education in general.

With higher education changing across Europe, traditional models of state funding are under threat and students in some parts of the continent now see themselves as customers. Social media presents an easy opportunity for students, staff and alumni to publish comment – which can be positive or negative – on their university for the world to read.

We are all publishers

EUPRIO’s President Denis Ancion said: “We live in an age where we are all publishers. Small issues can become global ones in very short periods.Communication is no longer sending out your message. It is all about a constant, transparent and open dialogue.

“But are communication professionals able to convince their management that transition is needed and that there is no longer any difference between internal and external communication? And are we, the communication professionals able to smoothly change our own departments to take up the new role which modern society is now asking for. To change ourselves could be the biggest challenge.”

Meet these challenges

The Kent conference will explore how European university communications professionals can meet these challenges. Key expert speakers from across Europe will be presenting their view on the best way forward, and the conference will focus on the three vital elements of the communications matrix: students; staff and alumni.

“Kent promises to be one of the most important EUPRIO conferences ever,” said Denis.

Martin Herrema, the UK’s deputy Steering Committee member based at the University of Kent, said the full conference programme and booking details – including a member conference registration fee that will be inclusive of accommodation – will be published at the end of February, when the booking website will also go live.

See more about our 2013 venue: http://www.kent.ac.uk/locations/canterbury/