PIME 2006: Chairman’s speech for Frank Deconinck
Monday 13 February 2006: Opening speech
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to PIME 2006 and to the beautiful, romantic
city of Vienna. More about Vienna later, but first I would like,
on behalf of ENS and the co-organisers of this year’s conference
– FORATOM and the NEA/OECD – to thank the IAEA for
hosting this year’s PIME. We are also very grateful to the
IAEA for the use of the Vienna International Centre. Our hosts
have left no stone unturned in an effort to make us feel welcome
and to provide the perfect environment for a constructive and
interactive debate on the main issues facing communicators in
our industry today. The contribution that they have made to the
agenda is considerable too.
And so, to Vienna: Austria’s iconic capital
city is synonymous with music, culture and refinement. Its famous
monuments, palaces and museums reflect its glorious past when,
for seven hundred years, it was capital of the Habsburg Empire.
Today, with its countless theatres, art galleries, coffee houses
and contemporary urban architecture, Vienna maintains that tradition
of style, flair and individualism.
Unless you have spent the last few weeks on Mars,
it won’t have escaped your notice that Vienna is also the
focal point for celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of
the birth of one of Austria’s most famous sons – the
legendary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart’s music communicates
so many messages to so many people. It challenges. It provokes.
It asks questions. It provides answers. It seduces. Of course,
taste in music is very subjective, but it’s hard to remain
indifferent to talent. There is a lesson to be learnt here for
all nuclear communicators: as we strive to ensure that our communications
reach the right targets and send the right messages, we would
do well to consider the example of Mozart; our communications
must be creative, imaginative and high impact. People must not
be indifferent to them. They too, like Mozart, must challenge,
provoke, ask questions, provide answers and seduce. As the nuclear
renaissance continues to gather momentum and governments, environmentalists
and citizens increasingly realise that nuclear energy provides
the best option for combating climate change and ensuring security
of energy supply, there are even greater rewards to be reaped
from successful communications.
Our industry is not in the defensive mindset
that it was in before. On the contrary, we must now make the most
of the nuclear revival and go on the offensive.
We must reach out, with renewed confidence and
conviction, to new audiences.
We must reiterate new as well as familiar messages.
We must win over the skeptics and hesitators.
The PIME agenda is designed to provoke debate
on the issues that really count. We will discuss how to communicate
effectively the economic, social and environmental advantages
that nuclear offers. The targets we will focus on are varied:
local communities, politicians and all levels of civil society.
The communications tools at our disposal are varied too, with
the Internet and blogging engaging more and more people in debate
every day. And we have expert communicators to stimulate debate,
share experiences with us and highlight best practices.
I urge all delegates to play the most active
role possible in the debates and hope that they will return home
with food for thought, inspired to push their communications to
the next level. Nuclear is back and our communications should
make that fact known - loud and clear.
I hope that you all enjoy a constructive and
interesting conference and officially declare PIME 2006 open.