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Sri Lanka’s PR practitioners launch industry’s first professional association

Leading corporate and marketing communications professionals came together to formally launch the Public Relations Association of Sri Lanka (PRASL), beginning a new chapter in the progression of the practice of PR as an industry in Sri Lanka.

Delivering the keynote address, Atul Sharma, president of the Public Relations Association of India (PRCAI) focused on the multifaceted benefits of an association that brings industry professionals together, leading to the adoption of best practices, the development of codes of ethics and learning opportunities, the emergence of thought leadership and formation of affiliations with like-minded entities that stimulate the growth of the industry.

Outlining the journey ahead for the Public Relations Association of Sri Lanka, its founder president Rezani Aziz said the theme for her term would be ‘Make it Count.’ 

“At this time, I need not remind everyone that Sri Lanka stands at an unprecedented, unpredictable point in history. Change is the only certainty in our future, as mega disruptions on the local and global stage continue to radiate across society,” she said.

“PRASL will make it count this year,” Aziz pledged. “Our vibrant platform will have enriching opportunities for public relations and public affairs practitioners to learn from interactions with each other as well as with experts in the industry through interactive dialogues, panel discussions and webinars,” she said, disclosing that the Association has planned five forums on different topics for the year.

The office bearers of the first executive board of the PRASL for 2023-24 comprise Rezani Aziz (president), Ashan Kumar (vice president), Rukshica Perera (secretary), Mushthak Ahamed (treasurer) and Druvinka Moraes (asst. secretary) and members Kendall Hopman, Nevindee Amarasinghe, Dominic Perera, Ashan Jayatilaka, Anuk de Silva and Roshani Madarasinghe. Nimal Gunewardena will serve as an advisor to the executive board.

Membership in the PRASL is open to PR and corporate communications professionals, press officers from the public sector, academics teaching the subject, and graduates of PR, marketing, and communications, who are currently engaged in PR practice or teaching. The Association has three categories of members, Professional, Associate and Graduate.

The practice of public relations as a profession in Sri Lanka was established in the early '90s by a few agencies and practitioners. These pioneers embraced the discipline of reputation management and initially focused on media relations and consulting services for corporate communications. 

Over time, the industry expanded its offerings, welcoming international expertise and venturing into areas such as advocacy, issues and crisis management, change management, investor and community relations, event management, marketing, and digital PR.

The establishment of the PRASL addresses a long-felt need to give voice to the industry, infuse high standards, and develop the skills of professional practitioners. The Association's objectives include gaining recognition for PR practice and enhancing its influence, fostering high professional standards and ethical practices as a valued PR industry, and bringing together and representing public relations practitioners. 

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