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A Report of the visit of Students of Mass Communications from University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

ABCI had a rare opportunity to welcome as a mentor of the 26 Student of the Mass Communications from the School of Mass Communication of the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was because of the one of the past president Mr. Sudesh Kapoor who recommended ABCI name to his overseas contact for the local mentors. ABCI at its Head Quarters, Mumbai, was prepared to welcome the students, who could be future leaders in Communication Industry from Europe. With a great amount of zeal and enthusiasm, students have landed in India at the mid-night of 16th July, 2011, at New Delhi and took Rajdhani Express train from Delhi to Mumbai on the same day to be in Mumbai on 17th July, 2011. Students managed their booking of hotel and travel through a travel agent from their motherland, Netherlands, once known as Holland. A Dutch Monarchy, Holland has a scenic beauty and is a nation of the headquarters of International Court and also world renowned companies like Philips, Shell Corporation etc. It is perhaps the only Nation that lives below sea-level and is also famous for Wind Mills. A western European nation, Netherlands, still has a colonial impact as many nations like Indonesia, some of the South American Nations like Suriname were part of Dutch Empire atone point of time. A team of 26 students of 2 Professors was led by Ms. Sheila Van Pelt, Professor, Department of Mass Communications, University of Amsterdam, visited India.

On Monday, 18th July, 2011, at 09.00am all students were welcomed at the Indian Merchant Chambers, near Churchgate Railway Station of the erstwhile BBCI (Bombay Baroda Central India) now known as the Head Quarters of the Western Railway. ABCI had planned 6 sessions for the students and 2 visits of Media in Mumbai. The programme was very well designed to cater the needs of students and also aiming at giving them an Indian perspective of Mass Communications, PR, Business & Corporate Communications. On the first day, i.e. on Monday, 18th July, 2011, the opening session was conducted by the President, ABCI, Mr. Yogesh Joshi.

Session 1
Speaker - Mr. Yogesh Joshi
President ABCI

The Speaker has welcomed in his capacity as President - ABCI, and then spoke for almost an hour and a half with Q&A giving the overview of the Communication Industry in India. This was very interesting session and students shown high level of enthusiasm. Mr. Joshi in his speech with a power point presentation shown the roots and development of the communication industry in India. He also mentioned the development post independence and also another important phase or a milestone in the industry, i.e. renaissance that the Indian Communications Industry is experiencing post liberalisation in 1992. This has brought a lot of change as many modern means of communications were introduced that has changed the entire dimension of mass communication. The economic liberalisation has brought in the fundamentals of modern management science and new tools and techniques of measuring the impact of the amount invested on building image and reputation, that have come in to existence in India. This was followed by Q & A. After a Break for half an hour the next session started that covered PR in Banking Industry in India.

Session 2
Speaker - Mr. S. Aftab
GM (CC) Union Bank of India

From the second speaker onwards, ABCI, tried to design the next two days in such a way that students would get an insight of the respective industry that would cover a wide spectrum of PR in each of the industry like Banking Industry, Private Sector, Non-Governmental Organisation, Media & Agency perspective to present the student the whole gamut of communications industry in India. Mr. S. Aftab, General Manager, Corporate Communications, Union Bank, a member company of ABCI, spoke on Communications in Banking Industry. Mr. Aftab, with an experience of almost of 35 years in banking Industry, described first of all the richness and cultural diversity of India, and functioning in the most bureaucratic way in a government-owned organisation that he belongs to. He also elaborated how difficult it was to bring in change in people's perception about a government owned organisation/Banks, as it has too many hurdles of getting clearances at too many levels. However, still the Bank could manage to get an outstanding results through its Corporate campaign that the Bank had run over a year. Mr. Aftab's session was truly a most knowledge enhancing session.

Day 2 Session 3
Speaker Mr. Sujit Patil
Head (CC) Tata Chemicals Limited

Mr. Sujit Patil is a young and dynamic communications professional from the erstwhile Tata Group, that has shaped-up modern India. Tatas have diversified business in Iron & Steel, Automobile, Information Technology, Chemicals, Hospitality, Engineering & White Goods with a turnover of $ 72 Billions. It is India's No 1 Industrial & Corporate Business House. Mr. Patil represents Tata Chemicals Company that has a mother plant at Mithapur in the Gujarat State of India. Mr. Patil talked about PR & Corporate Communication in the Private Sector that he represents and various best and benchmarking practices that his company has undertaken in communications. Mr. Patil has a global outlook and thinks positively. His session was the most inspiring one as felt by students.

Day 2 Session 4
Speaker Ms. Meera Tenguria
Director - Aarohan Communication (PR Agency)

Ms. Meera Tenguria has been in to the business of PR and Communications for over two decades. With an outstanding and proven track record of positioning India's one of the most admired companies, GTL, Ms. Tenguria, covered the agency perspective to the gamut of communications industry in India. PR Agency is relatively new idea for Indian Industry, and is not like most of the Ad Agencies, who have been here for over 6 decades. PR was in a wining and dining business when the PR industry started in India in the mid-fifties. However, Advertising agencies like O&M and many other agencies started an extended arm called PR, for value addition to its clients, to get a complete communications solution under one roof for all their problems and develop a communication strategy for repositioning them on Indian Companies on the Global Map. Ms. Tenguria also elaborated a few case studies during her presentation.

Day 3 Session 5
Speaker Ms. Zelma Lazarus
CEO - IMPACT India Foundation

Ms. Zelma Lazarus is an illustrious personality in PR & Communications in India. Ms. Lazarus is a former Vice President & Chief of Communications of Voltas Limited, a leading Tata Group Company. She also happened to be the only Indian Lady to be the President of the International Public Relations Association, (IPRA), London, UK, and is also one of the Life Time Achievement Awardee of ABCI. Ms. Lazarus is also the founder of the Hospital on Wheels, a mobile hospital that was formed by purchasing the discarded railway bogies, bought at a throw-away price by the Foundation to start the novel concept called "Life Line Express", a concept that has won a special award by UN. Life Line Express undertakes several medical and health check-up programmes for the population lives in rural India. Ms. Lazaraus demonstrated as to how an effective PR can be organised that forms as a part of the corporate social responsibility by a Non-governmental Organisation in India who neither have sources nor resources. Today Ms. Lazarus has been invited by nations like Philippines, Latin American Nations like Brazil and some of the African nations to set up a similar Life Line Express to serve the have-notts. Ms. Lazarus was the most outstanding presentation and students really admired her work contribution.

Day 3 Session 6
Speaker Mr. Shailesh Pethe
Producer - Business News (Delhi Doordarshan)

Mr. Shailesh Pethe is a very versatile personality. He is the only person to start career as a New Reader for both news bulletin, i.e English and Marathi, the State Language. Later on Mr. Pethe has become one of the top notch in Business Media on TV as he reached the height of a Producer of Business News. Mr. Pethe in his speech elaborated how a news is gathered to form a part of Business News of a day. The most impacting happenings like increase in petrol price would affect a common man and it will also have many-fold effects like hike in travel and transportation cost etc. Mr. Pethe in his speech also demonstrated as to what treatment needs to given to make the news most effective and also from the language point of view, as oral communication differs from the written one. Mr. Pethe also shown some of the news clipping of his own to make the session most interesting. He also took students to a virtual recording room of a TV Studio.

Day 4 Session 7
Visit to Free Press Journal

This was the Final Day before students would leave for their next destination, New Delhi, for their return journey to Netherlands. Mr. Abhishek Karnani, Director, Free Press Journal welcomed students at the Free Press Building at Nariman Point, the Central Business District of the city of Mumbai. Mr. Jagdish Ratnani, Business Editor, the Free Press addressed the students and gave them an insight on the Print Media. He also focused on gathering of news, press release, press conferencing and also modern means of gathering news like on-line news service. He also covered role of PTI in giving news to various newspapers in India. Soon after the speech, he took students to various departments and briefed students functioning of each of the departments that helps printing a newspaper. Finally a visit to actual printing press where a newspaper is printed was also organised by Mr. Ratnanai. Students found it as most interesting experience as it showed them a practical view of news industry.

With a sight seeing for a day, students returned to Delhi to catch a flight for Netherlands. As a mark of remembrance, ABCI, presented a small trophy to each of the students of the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, along with a participation certificate at the hands of Mr. Yoegsh Joshi, President, ABCI and also at the hands of Mr. S. Aftab, GM (CC), Union Bank, who is also Vice President, ABCI.

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