UNHCR Trained RAU Students to Communicate Effectively
On December 19-20, 2016, a group of personnel and students of the Russian-Armenian University (RAU) benefitted from a two-day Effective Communication training conducted by the External Relations Associate at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia, Ms. Anahit Hayrapetyan. The event was initiated by the Department of International and European Law of RAU and UNHCR owing to the well-established legal network and partnership.
The training aimed to equip the group of participants with skills essential for written and oral communication, e.g. how to structure a press release, prepare a press statement, how to develop key messages and Public Information (PI) lines. Some hints and tips for public speaking were introduced to the group, as well. “Communication is much more of an art than a science” motto which set the mood for the two-day training inspired the participants for transparent and precise, while at the same time, creative communication.
The training also comprised a session on effective media strategies and methods, e.g. interview, briefing, talk-show, press conference which allow to share news and important information with the audience in a professional manner.
During the workshop the participants had an opportunity to engage in a fruitful discussion, share views and opinions. When asked about the distinctive features of briefing and press conference, Ms. Hayrapetyan explained: “Briefing is mainly meant for partners, NGO-s and the civil society engaged or having a mutual interest in a particular sphere or project, while press conference is meant for journalists who are free to ask questions, including, tricky ones that can even push you into an interview trap”. External Relations Associate at UNHCR encouraged the participants not to be afraid, just be prepared. “When asked a question, use professional vocabulary be brief and genuine in what you say”.
When discussing different community activities the students engage in, the big role of the civil society and the academia was emphasized.
Inspired by the event and the genuine atmosphere within the group, the participants came up with an initiative: a community mobilisation activity they could jointly accomplish with a news/photo story they could develop owing to the communication skills they acquired.