One of the founding fathers of EUPRIO and four former national representatives on the Steering Committee have been rewarded for their role in developing our European association of university communicators by being elevated to EUPRIO honorary membersHIP.
Announcing the awards, retiring EUPRIO President Christine Legrand said the honorary memberships were a ‘thank-you’ for all the hard work the five had put into building and supporting the association over many years.
Among the first to receive the honour was Edoardo Teodoro Brioschi,who reflected on the birth of EUPRIO on May 12, 1986, and its subsequent development in a speech to EUPRIO’s Antwerp conference in 2016.
This looked back at how EUPRIO was created with support from the Commission of the European Economic Community after pioneering work by Dutch, Belgium and British colleagues to establish an informal network of university public relations professionals to share best practice.
Edoardo, who for many years was Professor and Chair of Business Communication Economics and Techniques at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, was the Italian representative at the founding meeting in Brussels in 1986, which was attended by delegates from ten EEC countries.
Now independent of what became the European Union, EUPRIO welcomes members from within and outside the EU but the strong foundations laid by its co-founders has enabled it to grow and develop into a strong network of higher education communication professionals.
Edoardo remains a strong influential force on the Italian and international higher education communication scene and played a key role in helping establish the Italian Association of University Communicators, AICUN, which celebrated its 25thanniversary last year.
Nic active from the 1990s
Not quite there at the beginning, but becoming an active Euprian in the early 1990s was Nic Mitchell, who represented the UK on EUPRIO Steering Committee from 2001 to 2011.
His first involvement was the 1990 conference in Siena, Italy, when EUPRIO’s annual gatherings were small and rather select affairs.
Nic organised EUPRIO’s 2003 annual conference in Durham with colleagues from Teesside, Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland universities in North East England and went on to help organise EUPRIO conferences in Vilnius; Grenoble and Stavanger.
Since leaving Teesside University where he was PR manager, he has become a freelance journalist and communication consultant helping to improve English-language editorial material for universities in Sweden, Norway, the Czech Republic and United Kingdom. He also blogs regularly for EUPRIO’s website and supports for the association’s social media activities.
Nic won the Outstanding Higher Education Journalism Award from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in 2015 for his report on the brain drain of young talent to the West from Lithuania for BBC News online.
Ulrike strengthened our understanding of Brussels
Ulrike Reimann joined EUPRIO in 2001 and attended her first conference in Barcelona in 2002 when she was Head of Communicas at the Franco-German University in Saarbrücken.
She represented Germany on EUPRIO’s Steering Committee from 2004 to 2008 and helped to organise annual conferences in Grenoble; Stavanger; Stresa and Prague. Ulrike also served as an auditor for EUPRIO for several years.
After becoming Director of Communication at the European University Association, or EUA, in Brussels in 2008, Ulrike played a key role in helping EUPRIO Steering Committee members from across Europe understand the inner-workings of the European Union and organised visits to the European Commission headquarters so that members could learn directly about EU higher education, research and communication activities.
Ulrike left the higher education scene in 2016 to take up a new role as Director of Communications and Marketing and spokesperson for the public utility company, Stadtwerke Saarbrücken, but she was back among EUPRIO friends at the recent Sevilla conference to celebrate becoming one of the first three honorary EUPRIO members.
Josef to the rescue
At the 2018 conference in southern Spain, two new honorary memberships were announced – Josef Königfrom Germany and Chris Coe from the UK.
Josef joined EUPRIO in 1991, attending his first conference that year in Berlin. He held the position as spokesperson for the Ruhr-Universität Bochum until his retirement in 2013 and served on EUPRIO’s Steering Committee from 2000 to 2012.
He played a key role in organising the 1998 conference in Heidelberg after plans to hold it in Athens were cancelled at short notice and managed to win financial support from the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities) which backed the conference to the tune of 20,000 DM.
Josef was always a lively participant at EUPRIO Steering Committee meetings and played an important role in providing firm leadership when needed.
He also helped to found the Informationsdienst Wissenschaft – idw-online.de (Science Information Service) in 1995 and has been its CEO for the last five years.
Josef was also member of the Bertelsmann Foundation in 2001, which helped reform the education of science journalist education. In 2009, he won the award from around 900 German medicine and science journalists as the best German spokesman for science communications in the category for science institutes and universities.
Chris helped organise Kent conference
Also made an honorary member at the 2018 conference was Chris Coe, who joined the steering committee of EUPRIO in 2006 as British representative whilst he was Director of Communications at King’s College London.
He was a very active member on the committee for over ten years until he left King’s to work as a consultant in 2016.
Chris was on the organising committee of three successful conferences and co-hosted the 2013 EUPRIO conference in Canterbury, England.
He has delivered three conference workshops on public relations and public engagement and over the years he has been a member of four task forces, including the conference task force to re-organise the format of the EUPRIO conference programme.
Chris also played a key role in helping to edit the History of EUPRIO book published to coincide with the 25thanniversary of the association and the conference in Prague in 2011.
* Main photograph shows from L-R, Nic Mitchell, Ulrike Reimann and Chris Coe at the 2018 Sevilla conference