40 YEARS -
By Maurice Gent -
maurice.gent@ omanobserver.om -
Many people get it wrong. If it is written by a journalist, they think, an article is at least an honest attempt to explain the issues. If it is written by a PR person then quite clearly it is biased, and therefore not worth reading.
This is an issue which was raised here in Oman this week following the initiative launched by BankMuscat to help in the development of Oman as a sporting nation. Can you believe any PR initiative, the cynics say?
Many years ago I started my career in PR at the Design Centre in London’s Haymarket with the aim of persuading visitors from many nations that well designed articles were made in Britain, and they did not have to go to the United States, Scandinavia, or the Far East if they were looking for really high standards in design. It was drawing the attention of an international audience in the centre of London to the undeniable fact that well designed items were made in Britain.
Switch fast forward to a big PR event in Oman this week. BankMuscat has launched a Green Sports Initiative to help Oman develop further as a sporting nation.
They are not just trying to offer people a small personal inducement like a more favourable rate of interest. They have taken the wider and better path of linking legitimate profit to wider national goals. Staff too are encouraged to join in a number of sports initiatives.
Already, of course, a large number of sports are played here amongst men, and increasingly amongst women. Sports such as sailing have become increasingly popular, helped by the initiatives of Omran and Oman Sail.
This does not mean, however, that there is no room for more support as Oman develops a target, often stated in ancient times, that the aim of all should be a healthy mind in a healthy body.
BankMuscat has already announced support for Oman during the Asian qualifiers in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and for the 2012 Olympics in London. There has also been support for Oman Sail’s women’s programme.
This goes further. The ultimate aim however is to look even further long-term, encouraging the 5-year Green Sports Programme, helping to provide youth clubs with modern infrastructure facilities, and more importantly, teams of young people determined to compete with the best.
It is certainly achievable, a matter of will and determination. Both, the government and the private sector have a role in developing social responsibility and encouraging the healthy development of our nation.
I shall think therefore twice before withdrawing my very small bank account at BankMuscat.