International public relations, a practice long driven by anecdotal knowledge and “war stories,” will be the focus of new research intensity through a commission created by the Institute for Public Relations.

“The Commission on International Public Relations will explore and document the science beneath the art of our practice, distinguishing between ‘what we know’ and ‘what we don’t’ in terms of real research. We will then be able to tell professionals, educators and students where to find essential knowledge that already exists, and to develop priorities for future research,” said Peter D. Debreceny, co-chair of the Institute for Public Relations and vice president-corporate relations for Allstate Insurance.

The Institute will serve as publisher for the commission’s initial assessment of international PR knowledge and subsequent research projects. The new initiative will examine international practice in terms of its contribution to business and management, and to international relations. The Institute, an independent foundation located at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, makes all of its publications available free through its website,

“The research priorities that we publish will help direct the Institute’s research program while encouraging scholars and graduate students to consider these subjects when designing their own research,” said Louis C. Williams, chair of the Institute’s Research Committee and chairman, L.C. Williams & Associates. “Creating and publishing the essential taxonomy of knowledge in international public relations is truly a distinctive mission, but we will enthusiastically seek opportunities to work with other organizations that have expertise in this area.”

The international scholars and research experts who will serve as charter members of the new body include: Dr. Toni Muzi Falconi, University of Udine, Italy; Dr. Dean Kruckeberg, University of Northern Iowa, US; Dr. Juan Carlos Molleda, University of Florida, US; Dr. Krishnamurthy Sriramesh, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Dr. Katerina Tsetsura, University of Oklahoma, US; Gloria S. Walker, IABC Research Foundation and Webster University, Thailand; and Dr. Jon White, Henley Management College, UK.

Institute Board members who will also join the commission are Peter D. Debreceny, vice president-corporate relations, Allstate Insurance; Robert W. Grupp, vice president-corporate and public affairs, Cephalon, Inc.; Sandra Macleod, chief executive, Echo Research; and Frank Ovaitt, president and CEO, Institute for Public Relations.

The Institute for Public Relations is an independent foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations. It exists to build and document the intellectual foundations of public relations, and to mainstream this knowledge by making it available and useful to practitioners, educators, researchers and the clients they serve. For more information, please visit

This release is also available En Español

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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