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‘One step beyond’ is EUPRIO’s vision

EUPRIO’S annual conference in Gothenburg marked the end of an era – with Italy’s energetic and flamboyant Paolo Pomati handing over the Presidency to Denis Ancion, from Maastricht University.

Under Paolo’s four-year leadership, EUPRIO has more than just survived the recession: growing to 638 members, adopting a new constitution and reconstituting itself with a new registered address at KU Leuven, Belgium.

But while it now has a more formal structure, the 2012 conference hosted by Chalmers University and the University of Gothenburg showed that EUPRIO has lost none of its appeal as a first-class gathering for communicators keen to learn new skills while having fun renewing old contacts and making new ones.

Both Paolo and Denis praised the smooth-efficiency of our Swedish hosts, saying 2012 was one of our best conferences – not least because of the quality of the workshops and expert presenters who came from all over the world to share their knowledge of public engagement.

Smooth organisers: Ulla Regestad from Chalmers University of Technology (centre) with Helena Åberg from the University of Gothenburg and the retiring President Paolo Pomati

The conference theme: The social contract between universities and society was set by Ole Petter Ottersen, Rector of Oslo University. In his in an opening address ‘Taking on the global challenges: the university mission redefined’ Professor Ottersen spoke movingly about the impact of the Breivik massacre on Norwegian society and the strategic role of universities in defending democracy: https://www.euprio.eu/portfolio/ole-petter-ottersen/

The 235 delegates from 21 countries were treated to another first-class keynote speech in the closing session, when David Harper, Head of University Relations (Europe) for Google, spoke engagingly about Google’s dedication and passion to engage young people with science: https://www.euprio.eu/portfolio/david-harper/

Paolo, who now becomes Vice-President for a year, said: “An outstanding conference is the best identity for an association; and I am leaving the responsibilities to Denis knowing that we did some good things during my years as President and with the absolute certainty that the new Presidency will do even better. It’s time to hail the sails again.”

EUPRIO's new President, Denis Ancion.

Denis thanked Paolo’s for leading EUPRIO through tough times and said that after much hard work “it’s time to really make the new approach work for the long term”. His vision of ‘One step beyond’ aims to increase EUPRIO’s visibility on the national level in different European countries and turn EUPRIO into more than just an annual conference bringing members together intentionally.

Denis said he is delighted with the theme for next year’s conference, which will be hosted by the University of Kent in Great Britain.

The 2013 event will look at how university communications is rapidly changing, with internal audiences becoming crucial to successful branding and preparing for growing international competition.

“This change in importance of the internal audiences is a major challenge for communications departments and requires a change of culture and the need for new skills. More and more, reputation management will not only be directed at positioning the university for stakeholders externally, but shifting towards internal positioning. Our Kent conference will be central to this process.”

• The 2013 annual EUPRIO conference will be held at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, from 27-30 June, and focus on the best way to engage students, staff and alumni in university communications. The conference team is led by EUPRIO’s UK Steering Committee member Martin Herrema.

• See https://www.euprio.eu/conference/programme/ for the presentations made at EUPRIO 2012 in Gothenburg.

* See https://www.euprio.eu/euprio-award-winners-2012/ for a list of EUPRIO 2012 Prize Winners.