2014 begins a new endeavor - my first foray into teaching. Beginning this week, I'll be leading International Development Communications at Georgetown University's Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications program. The class is associated with the Center for Social Impact Communication and I'm excited to spend the semester with 20 Masters students and the great group of guest speakers lined up!
I'm really excited by the two key projects in the class:
Due to its emerging nature, no comprehensive reference of the fundamentals of “International Development Communications” exists. Throughout the course of the semester, students will develop and hone a set of criteria that will merge the elements of sound communications and the fundamental concepts of international development. Following the discussion of class readings, students will review the set of criteria each week and determine if elements can and should be added to provide clarity and guidance to professionals and amateurs alike. Students will then present and discuss the communications products they brought to class each week within groups, to apply the revised criteria and analyze the products. We will build this online platform throughout the semester and at the end, students will determine if/how to make their work available as a resource for public consumption.
Below I'm sharing the course description, themes, and key questions that we'll be discussing each week. I'm anti-spoiler, so I won't be sharing readings (yet) but stay tuned as the weeks go by!
Got additional questions or thoughts for us? Feel free to share them in the comments.
Georgetown University, MPS PR/CC | Spring 2014
International Development Communications
The models of providing poverty-reducing aid to developing countries are changing, and more than ever before, globally-engaged citizens in rich nations are looking for effective ways to affect change in the developing world. Despite the fact that global issues like poverty and hunger are incredibly complicated, people tend to communicate them in easy-to-understand terms. Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign demonstrated that general audiences still respond well to messaging that offers an us/them, black/white solution that can be acted on quickly. But this is not the reality of how social, political, and institutional change works anywhere.
How can a new generation of communications professionals embrace nuance without turning the public off? The primary goal of the course is to provide students an in-depth understanding of the key concepts that are the underpinnings of international aid and philanthropy work, such as advocacy, results, and sustainability. Case examples and guest lectures from international development experts will prepare students to lead communications for NGOs, government agencies, and CSR efforts. By the end of the semester, students will have compiled an online portfolio of products that represent their analyses of the “best” and “worst” of international development communications.
By the end of this class you should be able to:
Questions to be Explored
WEEK 1 Jan. 9 - Intro, Overview: What is international development? Does it necessarily improve poor people’s well-being? How is international development related to foreign assistance, philanthropy, international advocacy, and social enterprise, and other do-gooder endeavours? Who are the stakeholders within the ecosystem of international development? What is the size of the development “industry”? Where and how do communications fit it? What the heck are we going to be doing all semester?
WEEK 2 Jan. 16 - The state of the discourse: The words and images that color our notions of international development: How does popular culture affect the public’s perceptions of international development? How are advocacy campaigns such as #Kony2012 and aid agency marketing telling the stories of people in need and what makes them successful? Who are the communications intended to help and who actually benefits? How does jargon used in international development affect external communications? Where are the most interesting discussions on international development taking place? Why is poverty porn so profitable? Can we tell compelling stories about people in need that don’t simplify or stereotype?
WEEK 3 Jan. 23 - Relief to Development: Communications on disasters and conflicts...
Read more at: http://www.how-matters.org/2014/01/05/new-year-new-gig/