At a special event hosted by Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s international relations and diplomacy, education, executive training and research institution, Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, urged Emirati youth to pursue careers in the dynamic field of public diplomacy.
Referring to public diplomacy as a "highly influential field that is pivotal to the UAE's international affairs in the 21st century", Garin threw light on the exciting career path that efficiently engages with global audiences in a way that informs and influences.
Mr Garin explained, “When we bring Hollywood professionals to the UAE, they are overwhelmed and impressed by the talent of the young people here. People in the UAE are very knowledgable of the film industry. We don’t lack for talent, we lack for mentors and experience. I’ve never seen a place with a such a concentration of talent, and now is the time to realise that potential.”
Speaking at the two-hour interactive session held at the auditorium of the Academy that drew engaging questions from students, Garin set the stage by elaborating on the growing role of public diplomacy, and linked it to the UAE's international communications agenda. He also underlined the media’s special role as a disseminator of a country's key messages to audiences worldwide.
Illustrating how the UAE is adopting global best practices in the sphere of international communications, Garin spoke about Image Nation’s work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and showcased content – documentaries and other productions created by the company – that promotes the UAE's international outreach communications programme. He also discussed Imagine Nation's role and collaboration with His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of EDA, on securing internships for Emiratis within the Academy.
Garin, who drew upon his 40 years of experience in the industry, and his current role managing and forging key international partnerships for a leading UAE film entertainment company, concluded by explaining to the students the preparatory steps they would need to take to successfully launch themselves in the sphere of public diplomacy.
As CEO of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Garin heads one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Arabic speaking world. Image Nation produces local and international films, documentaries and television content, and is a pan-Arabic broadcaster following the 2015 launch of Quest Arabiya.
Garin previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of Abu Dhabi Media Company for four years before he was appointed CEO of Image Nation in February 2011. Previously, he worked for over a decade at TIME, Fortune and Time-Life Television. He is also the co-founder of Lorimar-Telepictures, a leading independent television company in the US, and served as the CEO of Central European Media Enterprises. In an earlier role, he was also the Global Head to Media & Telecommunications Investment banking for ING.