ECSSR is the United Arab Emirate’s preeminent think tank and focuses primarily on issues pertaining to international security, energy, development and technology. AFA was engaged to raise ECSSR’s profile on the world stage and cement their status as a global thought leader as part of the Center’s 20th anniversary commemoration throughout 2014. Despite having hosted dignitaries like President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, ECSSR was virtually unknown outside of the Gulf region and had little name recognition outside its regional scholarly community.
AFA developed a comprehensive strategic communications plan designed to attract more international attention to the Center’s work and raise its profile worldwide. We chose to highlight 20 years of excellence and the publication of H.E. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi’s latest book, “Prospects for the American Age: Sovereignty and Influence in the New World Order.”
In an effort to increase overall name recognition, we scheduled public book signings for “Prospects for the American Age” at prominent academic institutions including:
- George Washington University
- Tufts University
- New York University
- University of Chicago
- University of California, Los Angeles
- Observatoir d’etudes Geopolitiques, Paris
- Goethe University, Frankfurt
We used social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to spread the word about public events. By connecting directly with participating organizations and thought leaders on social media, we were able to circulate information about the tour to relevant online communities. The tour began on the east coast of the U.S. with its first stop in Washington DC. It then moved to Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Paris, making its final stop in Frankfurt.
Our focus on relationship building gave ECSSR access to key minds around the globe and built recognition with foreign policies editors at top tier outlets in the US and the EU. We were able to arrange meetings with experts from some of the US and Europe’s leading institutions including:
- The Brookings Institute
- Harvard Kennedy School
- Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs
- East West Institute
- The RAND Corporation
Scheduled meetings and book signings led to a full calendar and several collaborative projects in the works – for example, a cross-cultural fellowship is being developed and several American scholars will travel to Abu Dhabi to conduct research at the ECSSR.
Dr. Al-Suwaidi met with editors at Bloomberg News, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, all of whom now view ECSSR as an established source from the Middle East when reporting on conflict, instability and growth across the region.
Dr. Al-Suwaidi was able to pair governmental officials with counterparts in Abu Dhabi and facilitate meetings on their behalf. ECSSR spoke with several experts who will travel to Abu Dhabi to participate in public lectures or conferences. In return, Dr. Al-Suwaidi is fielding several public speaking invitations abroad from a range of institutes like the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Book signings were well attended and strengthened ECSSR’s relationships across an important network of universities and experts with whom to collaborate in the future.