Port Harcourt Regional Hub of ICA Annual Conference Ends in Port Harcourt

After intense brainstorming for five solid days among communication scholars and professionals from across the West African sub-region, the 72nd International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Conference (#ICA22) Port Harcourt Regional Hub wrapped up Monday evening, May 30, 2022.

The event which took place at the University of Port Harcourt Business School, GRA Phase 3, Port Harcourt was attended by hundreds of onsite and virtual attendees being the only ICA Regional Hub to be hosted in Nigeria and West Africa.

This year’s conference which was hosted in France with the theme: One World, One Network‽ had its regional hubs in 11 cities across the world, including Port Harcourt -Nigeria, Cape Town – South Africa, Hefei – China, Manipal – India – Kenya, and Jarkarta – Indonesia, among others.

Coordinated by Ekaete George, a doctoral candidate of Communication Studies, University of Port Harcourt and hosted by the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies of the University of Port Harcourt, the conference x-rayed various communication issues in the contemporary world including, Emerging Issues on the Media and Global Security; Despoliation, Power, and Redress: Issues in Communicating the Environment; and Media, Culture and Communication: Theories and Case Studies among others.

The panelists, some virtual contributors, included Professor Aniefiok Udoudo of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies of the University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Obari Gomba, Associate Dean, Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Obiageli Pauline Ohiagu, Dr. Chris Ochonogor of same Uniport. Others were Dr. B. G. Nsereka of Rivers State University, Dr Mina Ogbanga also of University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Titilayo Osuagwu and Dr. Chinelo Arugu. Ekaete George served as Panel Chair of the Sessions.

Panelists from the media include Chris Konkwo, Editor-in-chief of National Network newspaper, Mopelola Oke, Manager News and Programmes of Treasure FM, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Kemi Ekemini and others, all of whom are doctoral candidates of Communications Studies, University of Port Harcourt.

Earlier, Professor Walter Ihejirika, Dean, Communication and Media Studies, University of Port Harcourt while declaring the event open lauded the International Communication Association for approving a regional hub for Port Harcourt, and the unique UNIPORT as affiliate University. He said this was a  feat for Nigeria and West Africa.

He described the Regional Hub as an opportunity for communication scholars and media professionals from this sub-region to lend their voice to issues affecting the world as a global village by globalizing local issues and localizing global issues.

He lauded the theme for this year’s conference – One World, One Network, describing it as apt and enjoined participants to make effective use of the opportunity to gain insight and experience which he hoped will add value to knowledge and make for a better world for all.

In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Owunari Georgewill welcomed all attendees to the University of Port Harcourt and urged them to take advantage of the conference to fraternalize with the university community, describing the event as in tandem with the philosophy of the university to give the institution, its lecturers and students the necessary international exposure for balanced knowledge. 

The Vice Chancellor applauded the organizing team of the Regional Hub, led by Ekaete George, for their efforts and commitment to make the conference a big success.

In her remarks about the 72nd ICA Conference generally, the Port Harcourt regional hub co-ordinator, Ekaete George had this to say, “In approving this regional hub for Port Harcourt, the International Communication Association has amplified the I in ICA. The Executive Director, President, President-Elect and their teams, all worked tirelessly to ensure that planning and execution of this innovative gathering turned out well. ICA has proven itself to be a truly global and inclusive body of communications scholars, of which Nigeria now has about 100 new members. 

I feel ecstatic about the work that I and my team (all volunteers) put in to making this hub experience special. It paid off! Equally worthy of note is the support of the Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, the Dean, Faculty of Communication and Media Studies and all other senior officers who supported the emergence of this gathering in Port Harcourt.”

With those electrifying remarks from the hub co-ordinator, Ekaete George, the conference came to an end amid cheers and echoes of a repeat performance from the elated onsite and virtual attendees.

Side attractions were cultural displays, rendition of poems and songs and exchange of banters among the attendees during 3 cultural evenings tagged “Communicating Culture”.

Next year the ICA will be hosted its annual conference in Toronto, Canada.

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