Arun Sudhaman 21 Jun 2012 // 11:00PM GMT
CANNES--Former US president Bill Clinton believes that the communications industry can play a pivotal role in helping the world confront critical social and economic challenges.
Clinton made the comments during a wide-ranging speech that, rather aptly, showcased his own enduring skill as a communicator.
“Since it will increasingly be a world of consent, the communicators will have a profound influence on how these next 20 or 30 years turn out,” said Clinton.
The 65-year-old spent much of his talk focusing on the social, economic and climate issues that face the world and occupy much of his work at the Clinton Foundation. He called on communicators to “help present the facts” and combat the misinformation that continues to plague heavily-politicised issues such as climate change.
“A lot of the facts that will form trend lines of the future are not apparent to everyone,” said Clinton. “What people need are the facts and then an idea of how to do something about it.”
In addition to climate change, Clinton used the example of the Greek economic crisis as an issue that requires communications insight to “overcome people’s resistance to hearing a set of facts that they hadn’t thought were true, that are.”
“We need to figure out how to change the image and self-image of the Greeks,” said Clinton, noting that criticism of the country’s working culture is unfair and often irrational.
Clinton, who spoke to around 2,000 delegates at a packed conference hall, also said that the one quality he wishes to encourage among the world’s citizens is “mutual empowerment.” He urged the audience to collaborate and find ideas to solve problems such as economic inequality and global warming.