Rosental C. Alves, the Knight Chair in Journalism and UNESCO Chair in Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, has been elected president of Orbicom, a UNESCO network that links international communication leaders in an effort to affect social justice, democracy and good governance.
Alves, who was unanimously elected by the Orbicom board of directors, will serve a two-year term. He succeeds outgoing president Alain Modoux, a communication consultant from Geneva, Switzerland.
As the chairman of the board of Orbicom, Alves will work with the organization's secretariat based in Montreal, Canada, to coordinate the efforts of the network, especially in research of global communication issues.
Jointly created in 1994 by UNESCO and Université du Québec à Montréal, Orbicom is a network of 250 associate members and 31 UNESCO chairs in communication from around the world. These communication leaders represent academic, media, corporate and government circles and take a multinational, multisectorial and multilingual approach to seven key issues:
- Communication and international development
- National information policies and communications law
- Access to, transfer and use of new technologies
- Strategic development with reference to communications training, conflict resolution and inter- or intra-institutional communications
- Media development and management
- Public relations, public affairs and advertising
- Professional training and ethics in journalism, public relations and other communications activities
Alves is the founding director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at The University of Texas at Austin. Created in 2002, thanks to a grant from the James L. and John S. Knight Foundation, the center reaches thousands of journalists throughout Latin America and the Caribbean with training programs that help them elevate journalism standards and defend press freedom in those regions.
Prior to his academic career in the U.S., he spent 27 years as a journalist in Brazil, including working as a journalism professor and as the managing editor of Jornal do Brasil, where he also started the Web edition of a Brazilian newspaper in early 1995. He created in 1991 the first Brazilian online news service, which served the network of Rio de Janeiro's Stock Market, and introduced the first course on online journalism at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997.
A member of the boards of several national and international organizations related to journalism, Alves has been a frequent speaker in academic and industry conferences around the world, has worked as a new media consultant and has conducted numerous workshops in several countries to train journalists and journalism professors on the use of new media.