Today was a special day here at Towson’s Mass Comm department. Our PRSSA and AAF student chapters hosted a reception for a contingent of Russian PR students who are studying with us for a couple of weeks. The students are from St. Petersberg Electrotechnical University, an institution with which Towson has had a long and successful working relationship.
Three of the Russian students presented programs today on various aspects of what they are studying, what they wish to learn, and what they hope to do with their careers. They also gave the American students an interesting and useful overview of professional practice in Russia. There are many similarities with American communication/PR/IMC practice, but there are also some fairly pronounced differences, too. For example, Russian rules governing advertising are quite restrictive compared to American practices.
Also, according to these students, many Russian business executives don’t really understand or appreciate PR. It gets better year by year, but still has a way to go in their opinion. From my travels and work with clients all over the world, I’d say that could be the case most anywhere.
I have been a member of IABC since 1973. I have always taken the “I” in IABC seriously. Like so many of us, I am very interested in how communication/PR/IMC is practiced in other countries. Through IABC and my consulting work outside the U.S. over the years, I have been able to learn and keep up with what is happening elsewhere. It is an enriching experience.
Listening to these remakable students today reinforced my belief in how much alike we all are in our goals and dreams and career aspirations and how, working together and sharing best practices, we can improve the human condition by who we are and what we do. I believe it is a message that has great value to not only students, but practitioners at every level of experience as well.