University of Georgia Crisis Communications Think Tank Hosts International Virtual Event

The University of Georgia (UGA) Crisis Communication Think Tank (CCTT), part of the UGA Crisis Communication Coalition (CCC), hosted its third annual gathering on Zoom for members and invited guests on Thursday, April 15 and Friday, April 16. The session on April 15 focused on international perspectives of crisis communication. The session on April 16 highlighted the increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the crisis communication field. Each day’s session lasted an hour and a half.

Graphic provided by CCTT.

The CCTT usually hosts its annual event throughout one day and in person at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Because of concerns for public health regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was hosted virtually this year. The virtual format of the event created a unique opportunity, allowing for more international members and invited guests to participate and engage in live discussion across time zones.

“We decided to make the ‘limitation’ of an online event into a virtue by asking international experts to share and explore the similarities and differences in crisis communication problems and practices around the globe,” said Dr. Bryan H. Reber, C. Richard Yarbrough Professor of Crisis Communication Leadership at UGA and co-founder of the CCTT.

Four scholars and four practitioners recorded discussions about international perspectives of crisis communication in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. These recorded conversations were shared with virtual event attendees the week prior to the think tank so they could watch the content and come prepared to discuss during the live sessions. For the second day, attendees were sent three presentations from CCTT members and affiliates regarding the growth of AI in the industry.

During live discussion of the pre-recorded international content, all eight of the panelists engaged in rich conversation with other think tank attendees. The topics discussed included corporate social responsibility (CSR), preparation of communities for crisis and “cancel culture” in each region. The second day’s focus on AI included discussion surrounding virtual beings, machine learning and deep fakes. Attendees joined the conversation to note how their organizations have already used AI and how they plan to in the future.

Graphic provided by CCTT.

The CCTT will host its annual event next year on Thursday, April 14, 2022. The pre-recorded discussions from this year’s event can be viewed on this CCTT YouTube playlist.

The international perspectives panelists included Amiso George (Texas Christian University), Osenkor Gogo (Newmont Ghana, Ghana), Augustine Pang (Singapore Management University, Singapore), Richard Tsang (Strategic Public Relations Group Limited, Hong Kong), Tobias Mueller (Klenk & Hoursch AG, Germany), Toni van der Meer (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), Paula Casari Cundari (Universidade Feevale, Brazil) and Ciro Dias dos Reis (Imagem Corporativa, Brazil). The AI panelists included Tim Coombs (Texas A&M University), John Rich (Futurist) and Vikram Sharma (Crisp).

Date: May 5, 2021
Author:  Laura Burr,