Paul Dillon, a senior associate at Baird’s CMC, is excited about the promise 2014 holds. As an expert in the fields of communications, development and health, he believes the year ahead will be a landmark of sorts in a number of ways.
“First of all, I’m really excited about the initiative Baird’s CMC has taken with the University of Pretoria. It’s such an exciting development,” says Paul. “The idea of combining the resources and expertise of an academic institution with the communications acumen of an international organisation like Baird’s CMC is highly innovative and unusually important. I expect it will make a big contribution to communications issues in coming years, and will bring to light several interesting opportunities.”
Paul is also hoping to see the recession wind down in 2014. “We’re going to see world slowly, gradually, sluggishly emerging from the global financial crisis. Hopefully, this year will bring about a degree of stability that will have a positive impact on the day-to-day lives of ordinary people and result in a new optimism for the future.”
Overseas development aid will be another area to watch closely, according to Paul. With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015, this year will be marked by much discussion and decision-making about the new development framework that will replace the MDGs. What comes next? What are the new priorities and objectives? How will these goals be met? Who is going to pay for what? Are there any new and promising finance mechanisms? We can expect to witness a spirited global debate about all these matters as the development aid groundwork is laid for the next decade.
With regards to development, Paul is also particularly interested in the application of new technologies (for instance, in e-health, telemedicine and early warning systems) both in terms of health access for communities and disaster management/relief. “I think new technologies are going to be increasingly useful and innovatively applied,” says Paul. “Along with this comes the need for more robust communications in terms of money, accountability, transparency and data management. These technologies could be game-changing for development as well as related communications. In all of this, as far as I’m concerned, the human context is always priority – and it’s what most people really want to know. What kind of impact is there on the lives of individuals and communities? That is the question we must consistently seek to answer through coherent, compelling communication.”
Finally, Paul is looking forward to the continued growth and expansion of Baird’s CMC into new markets. “I think with the presence, profile, and expertise we already have in so many countries,” he says, “we can make a significant contribution at all levels to the overall development of business and economies.”