Senior China Government Communications Officials Visit the University of Westminster

One of the most high-powered delegations of Chinese officials spent time at the University of Westminster learning some of the skills that help UK communications professionals engage the media and public in a digital age. They attended a two-week course run through the University of Westminster’s China Media Centre during which time they heard from WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, former-PM Gordon Brown’s spokesman, Simon Lewis, and award-winning journalist Heather Brooke, whose Freedom of Information campaign to disclose MPs’ expenses had led to major reform. Seminars were led by Edelman’s new Chief Content Officer and former BBC Director of Global News Richard Sambrook,  Crisis Communications expert Mike Regester and Director of Communications at the Department for Business, Innovation and skills Russell Grossman. Barclay’s Corporate Affairs Director Howell James and the BBC’s Senior Communications Advisor Donald  Steel hosted sessions, as did senior officials at the Central Office of Information and senior partner at Portland Communications, Martin Sheehan. The Office of the First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government organised a briefing for delegates in Cardiff on the management of  communications and media relations in a devolved administration, and delegates also met the All Party Parliamentary China Group in Parliament. Professor Colin Sparks, director of CAMRI, the university’s centre for global media and social change, introduced the UK media system, while Professor Hugo de Burgh, founder and director of the China Media Centre, lectured on the representation of China in the UK media. Delegates were all ministerial spokespersons - officials who represent their Secretaries of State and Ministers in public and are themselves senior career politicians. The two-week course was designed and led by former BBC Director of Communications Sally Osman in partnership with Dr. Zeng Rong of the China Media Centre. Project organisation was by Alja Kranjec.

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