The second annual PRSSA Latin case study competition, The International Communication Challenge 2022, took place this past October. Having started in 2021, this annual competition assembles the PRSSA Latin Chapters to work together and apply their PR knowledge to create and implement a public relations campaign.
This year’s case study was hosted by Universidad de Medellín (UdeM) from Colombia in partnership with Universidad San Martin de Porres (USMP) from Perú, Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (UADE) from Argentina, and Universidad del Sagrado Corazón from Puerto Rico. This competition invited students from each Chapter to research, plan, implement and evaluate a public relations campaign based on UNICEF’s reports of the current educational crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean. The COVID-19 pandemic generated a big interruption in the educational process due to limited virtual learning opportunities, primarily affecting children with disabilities, lower income levels, rural living areas, and minority ethnic backgrounds. Based on this current situation, the competition “challenge” was to create a campaign to encourage young audiences to return to classes.
Three teams, which were composed of students in different academic years, presented their campaign to a panel of judges. The judging panel was composed of Olga Mayoral Wilson, Communications & Crisis Advisor, Non-Profits & DEI Advocate; Aileen Izquierdo, Associate Teaching Professor and Director at Florida International University; Amelia Folkes, Director of Public Relations at Raise Your Hand Texas; Raquel Rivera Torres, Corporate Communications Director at Grupo Ferré Rangel; and Jorge D’Garay-Pallares, President at MXUS Public Relations.
Competition participants shared their thoughts. “This competition was a meaningful experience for my career. Being able to provide a solution to a real problem that occurs in Latin America was a challenge that I was happy to work on. I also had the pleasant opportunity to share ideas with my neighboring chapters,” expressed Mary Alejandra Villarreal, competition participant and member from PRSSA Perú.
PRSSA Columbia member Ximena Cano added on by stating, “Being able to work with other students from different academic levels to carry out a project that solves a real problem in society and working as a team to unify diverse ideas and proposals resulted in an enriching experience.”
Each team had a unique but rewarding experience. “We are very happy to have participated in this event,” shared the PRSSA Argentina team. “Having a team almost entirely of freshman students was challenging, but we were up to the competition and developed an excellent communication plan in record time. Participating in the Challenge helped us put together an excellent team, and we plan to continue working together in future competitions. We formed a group of incredible future professionals, and that is the greatest reward that we can take away from this experience.”
In order to engage young audiences to come back to classes, each proposal strategically developed diverse communications efforts such as social media campaigns, media relations activities, audiovisual content, and more. The content of the proposals followed a planned and designed process, having the key stages of every communication process: research, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
“Our interdisciplinary group provided contributions in different fields. In my case, my contributions were from the audiovisual field,” explained PRSSA Columbia member Luisa Katerin Taborda Cuervo. “It was also a pleasant experience to be able to interact with people from other countries, get to know their proposals and discover different points of view.”
Even more than the pride of placing within the competition, the experiences students took away from the Challenge were quite valuable. “This competition was a very gratifying experience,” shared PRSSA Perú member Angelica Montañez. “We were able to develop all our knowledge and participate in an international activity by sharing moments and experiences with the Latin American community from PRSSA.”
Awards were handed out at the end of the Challenge. First place was awarded to PRSSA USMP from Perú, second place was won by PRSSA UADE from Argentina, and finally, PRSSA Udem from Colombia received third place. The Puerto Rican team had to retire from competition due to the recent climate change issues; however, students were able to participate in the final debate.
The 2022 International Communication Challenge is a part of a continuous effort to advance the public relations profession in Latin America and the international community in PRSSA. The next challenge will take place in 2023. Check out the 2022 International Challenge website to learn more.
Facundo Luque is a member of PRSA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Previously, he served as one of the first PRSSA International Ambassadors. He is currently working at Ernst & Young (EY). You can connect with him on LinkedIn.