Senior UK delegation conducts government communications training visit to Tunisia

By British Embassy in Tunis

The objective of the training visit by UK Government communications experts, on 18-19 April, was to reinforce the role and importance of government communications, to share best-practice communications tools and to support Government of Tunisia communicators to develop as a profession.

The UK delegation was led by Alex Aiken, the Executive Director of Government Communications and included Conrad Bird, Director of the GREAT Britain campaign and Cross-Government Campaigns, Robin Gordon-Farleigh, 10 Downing Street News Planner and Ed Pikett, Head of Campaigns at the Cabinet Office.

A conference, hosted by British Ambassador to Tunisia, Hamish Cowell, and attended by close to 50 communicators from across the Government of Tunisia was delivered by the UK delegation. Alex Aiken conducted eighteen senior level meetings over the course of the two-day visit including meetings with President Essebsi and Prime Minister Essid. With the British Ambassador in attendance, both the President and the Prime Minister of Tunisia thanked the UK for its support in Government communications.

In his welcome address to the conference UK Ambassador Hamish Cowell said: “Our willingness and ability to speak to citizens must be coupled with a willingness and ability to listen to them, incorporating their needs and preferences, and engaging with them in a way that they want, through their trusted sources of information. The capacity to carry out two-way communication with citizens in a meaningful and ongoing manner is integral to the goals of democracy. Our intention is that with this partnership between our governments and through a strengthening of government communications, we can support Tunisia's democratic transition“.

Alex Aiken said: “It's an honour to be invited to share our experiences with the Government of Tunisia. Communication, alongside legislation, regulation and taxation, is one of the four main levers of government. I strongly believe that through bilateral programmes such as this, we can support our counterparts around the world to strengthen government communications and support the delivery of our prosperity and security objectives. I look forward to continuing this important programme in collaboration with the Government of Tunisia and strengthening the reputation of the UK as a global leader in government communications”.