The leading historian of central European public relations, Prof Dr Günter Bentele of Leipzig University, is the keynote speaker for the International History of Public Relations Conference 2012.
Prof Bentele is a full professor for Public Relations at the University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. Since 1994 he has held the chair for public relations at the University, a first for any German-speaking country. Between 1989 and 1994 he was associate professor for Communication Science and Journalism at the University of Bamberg.
In 1982 he wrote his dissertation about an evolutionary theory of signs. In 1989 he wrote a second dissertation (for the German habilitation) analysing problems of journalistic objectivity and media credibility.
In 1996 he initiated the first German conference on the national history of public relations and, in the following year, published his first specific PR historical article. Other articles followed. The history of public relations in Germany is one of Prof Bentele’s primary fields of research, especially research about PR (Öffentlichkeitsarbeit) in the GDR. He has been an advisor for many Master theses on PR historical questions and still advises on doctoral theses about PR in the GDR. For more than a decade he has taught a Masters-level PR history courses. Since some years he has been preparing a website on the history of PR in Germany, which will be launched this year.
He has served as a guest professor in Zurich and Lugano (Switzerland), Jyvaskyla (Finland), Riga (Latvia), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Klagenfurt (Austria), and a visiting research scholar at Ohio University and San Diego State University in the US.
Between 1995 and 1998 Prof Bentele served as the president of the German Association for Communication and Media Studies. In 2004, he was president of EUPRERA, the European organisation for PR Education and PR Research.
Prof Bentele is author and co-author of 18 books, has edited and co-edited 22 more books, and written more than 280 scientific articles in the fields of public relations, communication theory, journalism and semiotics. In 2004 he was the German Public Relations Association (DPRG) “PR Personality 2004” and in 2007 he was honoured as the German “professor of the year” out of more than 700 nominees. In 2010 he was elected as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Leipzig.