Cemil ‘Jim’ Alyanak

Vice-President Communications and Strategic Initiatives

Joined RSI in 2019

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Cemil 'Jim' Alyanak at Risk Sciences International

30+ years leading global public interest campaigns

Recognized moderator of major panels with luminaries

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker & photographer

Global authority on communications and perception analysis

Accomplished fundraiser and PPP mediator

Creator of Risk and Crisis Communications Master Class

Personal Introduction

My communications passion started early. In high school I was the yearbook photographer, in university I went on to become the general manager of the radio station, and even in the military, I had secondary duties on communications projects.

After university studies in communications, I continued to focus on communications, working mostly on development, humanitarian, and environmental projects with a special focus on risk and crisis communication.

“The world is facing a growing convergence of risk.”

Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working directly with several countries’ Presidents, Secretary Generals, Director Generals, and CEOs. Many of these projects were time-critical, global responses to major public health and humanitarian crises. This said, I have simultaneously kept myself grounded, working on grassroots projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. My work in multiple non-OECD countries, includes work in conflict zones, squatter settlements, slums, and other extreme hardship locations.

Of note is the time I have spent developing, publishing, and teaching my communications and perception theories, work that I began under the guidance of the renowned Professor Malik, considered one of the pioneers of communications analysis.

Prior to arriving at RSI, I was privileged to head up a public interest communications group working with clients worldwide.

RSI's Cemil Alyanak moderating a panel with Nobel laureate Rajendra Pachauri

Cemil moderating Nobel Peace Laureate Rajendra Pachauri and Jean-François Bach, Distinguished Secretary Emeritus of the French Academy of Science

Current focus

Now serving as RSI’s Vice-President Communications and Strategic Initiatives, Cemil has three key functions: to head RSI’s risk communications projects, to develop unique RSI strategic initiatives, and to help develop the company across borders and oceans.

Cemil is particularly interested on the goal-driven use of risk communication paired with an understanding of how people perceive a risk message. “People regularly communicate because of risk,” Cemil says, adding “but the problem is one of goals; all too often risk communication lacks clear outcomes, it seems to be more about reacting than getting to a better place.” Indeed, Cemil is laser-focussed on helping clients determine the right goal before moving on to the resolution of a risk communication challenge.

Cemil is also working diligently to develop RSI’s ‘Risk Communication Preparedness’ paradigm. To support this effort, Cemil is heading the development of RSI’s Risk Communication Master Classes, notably the RSI Risk and Crisis Communications Master Class and Boot Camp.

Works and Accomplishments

Some of Cemil’s proudest achievements include his global communication campaigns and documentary films. For years, he produced output for the World AIDS Campaign, World Health Day, World Urban Campaign, International Labor Organization, UN Human Rights, World Meteorological Organization, World Wide Fund for Nature, and several hundred more organizations based in multiple cities around the world.

His analysis and strategic counsel to the International Herald Tribune (1995) was seen as a masterful repositioning exercise ensuring the survival and growth of this iconic publication. Another analysis of note was the strategic rethinking of the International Organization for Migration which led to a reorganization and mission realignment.

Cemil is regularly called upon to moderate major international panels

Cemil is regularly called upon to moderate major international panels including ones with Nobel laureates. More recently, on behalf of RSI, Cemil moderated a forum for Health Canada.

Cemil’s documentary film credits include the five-part series called ‘Cancer is…’ filmed worldwide and featuring 52 of the world’s leading cancer advocates and scientists. Cemil has also produced multiple public service announcements shown on CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC, and dozens more networks worldwide. Cemil’s professional and personal photography work is also extensive having sold his first photo at the age of seven. His photo portfolio is available for viewing.

One of his greatest work products was the publication of his Overview of Communications and Perception Analysis and his book The Critical Century. More recently, Cemil published his first novel, The TUK50 Protocol.

Additional images of Cemil ‘Jim’ Alyanak at work

Case studies associated with Cemil ‘Jim’ Alyanak

Risk communication project at Geneva International Airport

Geneva International Airport

Geneva International Airport was concerned that its signage was become problematic. Not only was it aesthetically overwhelming after decades of revisions and additions, it was becoming a safety risk with incidents resulting from misreading of cryptic graphics and conflicting directional arrows. In addition, the airport was suffering from traffic pattern issues, both for automobiles outside…

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RSI's Cemil Alyanak undertook a complete analysis of the International Herald Tribune

International Herald Tribune

The original mandate aimed to find a new direction for the world renowned International Herald Tribune just as both the World Wide Web was in its infancy, and the newspaper faced increased competition from international and regional editions of established newspapers and magazines such as The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times.

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Risk management project by RSI's Cemil Alyanak while in Tajikistan

International Organization for Migration

Under the supervision of Director Purcell and his cabinet, the six-month project began with an internal review of attitudes, projects, responsibilities and management reporting lines. The work uncovered multiple inconsistencies and inefficiencies. What’s more, there were very real risk consequences at the operational level.

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World Urban Campaign webpage screengrab

World Urban Campaign

The project began with a series of consultations with UN-Habitat at UNON in Nairobi. In addition to Cemil Alyanak and Nicholas you, the project grew to include many key stakeholders both within UN-Habitat and from other organizations. Among the key organizations included in the early stages were United Cities and Local Governments, Cities Alliance, the World Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Cisco, and UN agencies interested in urban health, notably the World Health Organization.

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Cemil ‘Jim’ Alyanak:

Cemil enroute to Tuktoyaktuk

In his younger years, Cemil was an avid martial artist, white water rafter, and climber. Cemil is also an active adventure motorcyclist becoming the first motorcycle to ride up the Dempster and new Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway – the ITH – all the way to Tuktoyaktuk, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. He is also a committed Amateur Radio operator (ham radio) holding an FCC Amateur Extra class license (K3MRI).

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