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CIPR? It’s PRSA in London (International Public Relations Study Abroad Program, Winter 2017 )

CIPR International recently hosted a group of U.S. students from George Mason University who visited London studying international public relations. Immediate past chair Eva Maclaine of CIPR International and principal of Maclaine Communications and Digitalis' Beatrice Giribaldi provided an overview of the challenges of managing PR in a global, intercultural environment. The students went on to meet with Edelman, Ketchum, H+K Strategies, Ogilvy and other organisations on their 16-day immersion in communication practices. Here’s what Cyrenna Cooper from George Mason University wrote in her journal about the CIPR session.

Beatrice Giribaldi joined Eva Maclaine at CIPR headquarters to present an introduction to international public relations for U.S. students from George Mason University
Beatrice Giribaldi joined Eva Maclaine at CIPR headquarters to present an introduction to international public relations for U.S. students from George Mason University

Following our visit with Bell Pottinger, we visited the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) at their offices in Russell Square. We met with CIPR International’s immediate past chair, Eva Maclaine, and Beatrice Giribaldi, group secretary of CIPR International. According to Giribaldi, CIPR has been an opportunity of continuous professional development. She’s enjoyed the chance to work with other PR practitioners, while acquiring leadership and teamwork skills.

Maclaine, an accomplished PR professional, presented “Communicating Globally.” One of her messages that I thought was important was what is needed to succeed. This acronym is called Rosie…

  • R-research

  • O-objectives

  • S- strategy

  • I- implementation

  • E-evaluation

According to Maclaine, in order to be successful in communicating globally one must have:

  • social media with strategic purpose

  • cross-cultural competencies

  • ability to manage high volumes of information

  • an understanding of management

  • business qualifications

While it is important to have all forms of communication in PR, it is even more significant to choose your channels wisely, according to your audience. Eva, for example, worked with a smaller country (Samoa) to inform them about new water costs. She would not communicate this information to them through social media, but in person. While there are a numerous steps to achieving success in global communication, there are multiple reasons for failure. Some common reasons for failure in global communication are:

  • arrogance

  • ignorance

  • stubbornness

  • lack of local alliances

From our CIPR visit my takeaways on global communication were

  • to be curious

  • don’t be afraid to ask questions

  • learn a language

  • choose your channels wisely

  • avoid the pitfalls

  • have cultural intelligence

  • most importantly…research, research, research!

Final thoughts: Reflecting back, the 16 days spent in London have been some of the best days of my life. I will always remember these tidbits of knowledge that were spoken to us at the PR agency meetings as well as Northrop Grumman, Selfridges and Wimbledon. I will cherish these notes in my portfolio and apply to as many internships as I can. What I found most helpful was listening to those at agencies who have gone through their grad-scheme programs. I am now focused and determined on what I want to do after college. So here's to researching, getting experience, and putting myself out there.

Note from Eva Maclaine, CIPR International: Well done Cyrenna. Glad you enjoyed your time in London and that your meetings have given you added energy to pursuing your life in PR. Good luck!

Ketchum’s Stephen Waddington welcomed George Mason University students before their session with Ketchum CEO Denise Kauffman. The students were in town for a two week study abroad program in international public relations.


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