Maintaining the sustainability of a nation is no easy task. Countries all around the globe have been facing issues with this problematic situation for years, but Egypt has never given up on it. Why? Because sustainability is what defines a country on the global canvas, and helps it grow.
Creating an appealing nation brand further increases our sustainable competitiveness. Day by day, overseas parties, including investors and tourists, witness Egypt’s development and spirited efforts in all branches of society through various forms of effective communication.
From the 3rd until the 6th of November, Egypt will be hosting the 3rd edition of the Arab Sustainability Development Week organized by the League of Arab States. In partnership with the Narrative Summit, brought to you by Corporate Communication Plus (CC Plus), the event will raise some critical issues regarding sustainable development. To enhance our knowledge on the subject and its relation to nation branding, we met with Lamia Kamel, CEO of CC Plus and Founder of Narrative Summit.
How would you introduce yourself in one sentence?
Lamia Kamel: an Egyptian professional hoping for a proud nation brand for our country.
We know that CC Plus has managed the Narrative Summit 3 times so far since its establishment in 2016. Could you shed more light on the summit and how it came to be?
Narrative Summit began in 2016 as an event designed to revolutionise PR in Egypt. To take it forward from traditional PR by uniting local and international experts to discuss their experiences and stories, in order to create a bank of first-class knowledge available for anyone and everyone in Egypt. However, what began as a conference has quickly turned into a nation branding initiative that has delved deeper into highlighting the pillars that create a strong brand for the country and showcasing Egyptian success stories that we hope to continue taking forward in innovative ways. The initiative is also growing regionally, with this year’s summit taking place in partnership with the League of Arab States, and next year we will be convening as part of Expo 2020 in Dubai.
How did the partnership between the League of Arab States and the Narrative Summit take place?
Our platform has always been about forging fruitful and effective partnerships in order to push our national goals. This year, we were honoured to be approached as a partner to the League of Arab States to support the Arab Sustainability Development Week. This will be the last year that the event will be held in Egypt and will take place in Expo 2020 Dubai next year. We believe in the power of cooperation between the private and the public sector and this year we could not have been happier to work with an organisation with the same objective which is to help in implementing the 2030 Egypt Agenda and open a dialogue on nation branding with some of the world’s experts.
The theme this year is “Moving to Action”, where the speakers will discuss the “positive forces of cooperation” through integrated partnership, to resolve issues with the quality of human life, development, and the environment for a more sustainable future. How can a nation brand help communicate and sustain this particular message on a regional, national, and global level?
Engaging with local and foreign experts is crucial to promote those notions. We simply can’t do it on our own. When we, as professionals, communicate a solid brand based on leadership and fostering cooperation and openness, we will attract the right expertise who can support the matter with well-defined strategies and solutions which we can apply. The state has done tremendous work on the vision 2030, and we believe that our role as branding and marketing experts is to attract those who have opinions to come and engage in those relevant topics.
Since we’re on the topic of sustainability, and it is a main part of your vision to communicate the progress of a nation brand, how do you think we can ensure that the summit’s topics will continue to grow and be tackled?
Every year we pick a topic and a notion and dig deeper into it. We also use our PR and branding abilities to reach out to the right speakers and push for the relevant content. We need to stay relevant, and for the nation branding concept to remain attractive, otherwise it will be a repetition. This year, sustainability has grabbed our attention. It’s a world-wide concept and is no longer confined to the elite. It is touching every single life of our citizens, both in Egypt and globally.
The long-term goal is to support and implement the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its 17 sustainable development goals. What do you think are the necessary general and communication tools to achieve this objective, including partnership, youth, and societal services?
First, we need to convince the general public of those goals and engage experts from the private sector and civil society. Open dialogue is a must. Creating many platforms like the Arab Sustainability Development Week and Narrative Summit to create opportunities for understanding and growth. Relevant content is also crucial. People need to know what is in it for them. They need to see that these goals are aimed to alleviate poverty, create employment, educate and develop the youth, empower innovation, embrace diversity, and support and protect the environment. We need to push all sorts of ideas going in those directions. Stay tuned to our calendar coming soon.
Most of your expected speakers include some very prominent names in various industries. Could you elaborate on the selection process?
Our speakers come from all types of industries – whether corporate, independent, or governmental. We approach speakers who are out of the box and who have positively affected their respective industries in one way or another. Change-makers inspire our audience to create an impact by promoting sustainability in every field. It is also very important to include international speakers to share the latest global innovations in different areas and network with Egyptian figures and institutions, to hopefully create lasting and fruitful partnerships. It also gives us a platform to exchange knowledge and showcase our progress and achievements. We are very eager to be hosting some highly influential speakers this year, such as Dr Mahmoud Moheildin, who is the Senior Vice President of the World Bank Group where he heads the efforts of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Another amazing speaker we have is Dr Salah Hassan, who is a global authority on nation branding and a professor of Brand Management at George Washington University. Scott Guthrie, an Influencer Marketing Consultant, is another one of our exciting speakers. Ahmed Rady, General Manager at Coca Cola and Mohamed Abdallah, Consumer Business Unit Director at Vodafone Egypt will also be joining us this year.