Symbiosis in Singapore

March 7, 2018

Symbiosis in Singapore

When Singapore Tourism Bureau (STB) invited several International and European associations to come over to meet the relevant local societies as well as visit conference facilities in Singapore, they did not expect such a symbiosis among these associations…

Words Cécile Koch

Last November, STB invited several associations to visit Singapore as a possible conference destination. These associations came from various fields of specialities, and at first glance they didn’t have much in common, although they were all International and European non-for-profit organisations. Their interests ranged from city planning to physical activity, knowledge and intelligence engineering to city bike promotion.

STB had not only arranged the visit of some specific conference infrastructure (see below), but they had also organised site inspections ‘much less travelled’ which made the whole trip suddenly very interesting!

The URA City Gallery for instance, which was initiated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, gives an interesting view on how Singapore set up its strategy 50 years ago to grow as a city/state and how it’s currently planning its future. Let me focus on how Singapore has become the City-State leading in South-East Asia for their

  • + economy, with high levels of innovation,
  • + attention to green growth and
  • + achievement as investment destination.

Innovation & Green Growth

It is the 2nd busiest port and 3rd largest financial hub in the world with over 14.000 European companies having facilities in the city-state. As for innovation and green growth, the city-state is a world leader in research, urban development, smart cities and sustainability.  Vertical farming, sustainable and efficient transport are just a few examples.  The purpose to focus on smart eco-cities development is to create a friendly, time-saving and stress free life for their citizens through large-scale investments.  Singapore has become member of the Enterprise Europe Network in this way opening up opportunities for European SMEs.

The visit to Gardens by the Bay was a good way to explore the sustainable concern of the city: the concept of these gardens is to showcase how engineering and cutting-edge technologies can supply energy efficient solutions, while the so-called ‘Supertrees’ also empowered by sustainable energy, tower over you.

STB noticed during the trip that the group was really keen on seeing more of the city, so they organised a last-minute and quite unusual breakfast at Tiong Bahru market, a very local place that only the locals would know, a kind of indoor market with food stalls where you get dizzy with breakfast options! The participants not only got to see a different part of Singapore which they normally would never had visited, but it also enabled the group to bond ever more!

Total immersion

Another dinner one night at the Lau Pat Sat, historic market located downtown in the financial district, inspired the same kind of feelings, with delicious street food and beer while sitting at wooden tables in the middle of a street. It not only counterbalanced the refined diners at upscale restaurants we also enjoyed, but somehow it brought the city even more to life.

These experiences of total immersion in the city sparked off out-of-the box ideas among members of our groups. They started to see synergies in their fields of specialisation and ended up dreaming of a joined congress together as they noticed that there were some common interests. In the end, this trip was a fine example of how a visit to a city, which showcased its openness and flexibility, got lead to direct ROI: a new congress!

Fast Facts for Convention Facilities:

  • + Marina Bay Sands: an integrated resort with conference halls, retail and casino. One of Singapore’s iconic building, complete with a sky park and an elevated outdoor pool. Exhibitions floors with 30.000 square meters of flexible space , a ballroom up to 2000 booths, and 250 meeting rooms.
  • SUNTEC Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre: With over 22,000 square metres exhibition space, 15,000 square metres of meeting spaces and a column free convention hall for up to 10,000 persons. It has the world’s largest HD LED screen.
  • + Raffles City Convention Centre: Ideal for mid-sized meetings and conventions, for up to 3,000 persons
  • + Shangri-la Hotel: Located in the outskirts of Orchard Road, a premier shopping district, Shangri-la hotel has a total of about 4,500 sq m of MICE facilities with 792 guestrooms and suites over three distinctive wings.
  • +  MAX Atria: the first premier eco-green venue in Singapore to attain the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark Platinum award, the convention wing of Singapore EXPO  provides a dynamic and versatile 12,700 sqm, with 32 column-free rooms, spacious foyers, a garden courtyard and rooftop space, for more than 3,500 people.



March 6, 2018

Vienna Goes into Therapy in 2023

From 25-29 July 2023 Vienna will host the 10th World Congress for Psychotherapy at the Sigmund Freud Private University. The event will be returning to its inaugural host in 1996 for its tenth anniversary after having visited Durban, Moscow and Paris among other cities.

4,000 scientists and researchers will meet to discuss all the latest findings in the field of psychotherapy at a series of 500 lectures, seminars and workshops. 200 scientific posters will give an insight into the latest advances in the use of psychotherapy to treat psychiatric disorders. For the first time, the Vienna event will feature “Freudian walks”, during which participants will discuss the latest scientific breakthroughs.


March 1, 2018

Dubai’s Al Safeer Ambassadors Drive Meeting Success

Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau, has awarded members of its Al Safeer Programme for their contribution in attracting international conferences to the city. The awards were presented to 26 member organisations at the Programme’s annual appreciation ceremony held on 27 February at Park Hyatt, Dubai. The event saw a gathering of over 150 ambassadors, including doctors, scientists, industry experts, business leaders and government officials from across the UAE, who are all playing a significant role in defining Dubai as a knowledge hub.

The Al Safeer Programme has grown to become a network of approximately 330 members, each of whom are champions within their industries and are driving Dubai’s position as a platform that provides invaluable infrastructure to support discovery and industry progression. Through wider memorandums of understanding signed over the course of the year, the programme was strengthened in 2017, with members joining from the Society of Engineers, Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, the British University, Roads and Transport Authority, the Emirates Medical Association, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. This community is set to further expand in 2018 as the Programme aims to target government agencies and key universities in the city to join the Programme and contribute in the city’s success.

Translating to ‘The Ambassador’, the Al Safeer Programme was established by Dubai Business Events in 2010 to engage with UAE-based key opinion leaders and government representatives, tapping into their expertise and professional networks to attract international business events to Dubai. Since its establishment, the Programme has assisted in successfully bidding for a total of 116 events with over 160,000 delegates in attendance.


February 28, 2018

A Guide to Excellent Association Events in New Zealand

 With the motto ‘100% Pure New Zealand’, Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events team have come up with an online guide aiming to help association professionals organise successful events. With attendees demanding more from events, including unique experiences, healthy meeting spaces and ground-breaking content, and association budgets running tight, organisers have to get creative in order to satisfy their clients’ needs.
The Art of Excelling at Association Events is a 32-page booklet is full of research as well as advice from thought leaders making sure that your event will inspire, educate and entertain. Some of the topics it includes are the importance of conferences, appealing content, the right price, PCO and venue, and the latest technological trends. Three case studies are included in the end to support the advice given on this guide.

February 27, 2018

Register to ASAE’s CEO Symposium in Amsterdam

How do you optimize a solid and strategic partnership?  How can you align the governance roles and responsibilities of your CEO and volunteer leader? ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership has designed the CEO Symposium to provide leadership discovery and direction in an ever-changing association workspace. Taking place in Amsterdam 23-24th May, the Symposium encourages association executives to evaluate annual priorities and offers insight on how best to work with their incoming leader.

For more than 30 years, both first-time and past attendees discuss the value of attending an ASAE CEO Symposium, which provides current information and direction on the emerging issues that the association community faces.  CEOs return with their newly elected officers and establish mutual trust while learning ways to strategize on governance issues and volunteer culture. The CEO recognizes the value a solid relationship with their Board Chair/President can have and its significant impact upon their association’s performance and engagement with stakeholders and members.  Isabel Bardinet, Chief Executive Officer of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) said, “This one programme had a profound influence on how we now develop policies, design committees, and the day-to-day interactions between permanent and volunteer leadership.  We passed along many of the lessons to our directors, which improved the functioning of their own teams.”

Making connections and establishing a common ground among top members of the leadership team develops a sense of ownership and stewardship within the association and ultimately creates measurable results on the overall mission and success of your organization. With unparalleled expertise and a proven track-record facilitating the CEO Symposium both domestically and internationally, faculty from Tecker International, LLC will deliver valuable insights for immediate application to the realities of your own association. Optimize your partnership, create mutual return, and foster effective governance by participating and applying:

  • Current and anticipated challenges facing leaders of contemporary associations
  • Value of research and strategy in decision making
  • Relationships of board and staff in association governance
  • Leadership behavior and its impact on change, innovation, and organizational culture
  • Successful practices in strategic planning and thinking

Glenn H. Tecker is chairman and co-CEO of Tecker International. He has more than 35 years of experience assisting associations and corporations in planning for change. Glenn is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost experts on leadership and strategy. He has worked in an executive capacity with businesses, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations and served as a board member for many nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Glenn’s expertise in the areas of governance, program strategy, organizational design, research analysis, and presentation skills will be critical to the effort.

Register at to facilitate strategic conversations around your association’s strategy, digital transformation, research and analytics, engagement, and resource allocation.

February 26, 2018

New Blood, New Initiatives for AIME 2019

Talk2 Media & Events (Talk2 ME), an incoming organiser for AIME 2019, is planning to make a strong entrance for next year’s event. The company’s CEO Matt Pearce announced a series of changes set to reflect the industry research the company has undertaken since being awarded the management contract.
According to Mr Pearce, the event mainly consists of three pillars: commerce, education and networking. The initiatives planned are meant to inhale the power of each and every one of those pillars in order to ensure the future longevity of the event.
To begin with, there will be special focus on The Hosted Buyer Program, by inviting key players which will reflect the Asia-Pacific region. Secondly, the range of education offered will be expanded to include both individual and industry development across all 3 days on a broad range of subjects. Finally, additional networking sessions on the show floor each day of the event as well as a new one on the Tuesday evening will be offered to participants.

February 26, 2018

In the Shoes of the Secretary General (Part I)

A member of Boardroom Advisory board, Mohamed Mezghani has been appointed Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in January. Boardroom has asked him to contribute a monthly column in which he explains all about the challenges of holding such a position. This is Mohamed’s very first insights.


Two months after taking office as Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport, I would say that I didn’t see the time passing. Whether it was to launch a new strategic vision for the association, to visit members, to meet sister associations or to spend time with colleagues, this kick-off period has been inspiring. Listening others’ views and expectations, and sharing mine has been a daily exercise. I am not new to UITP that I joined in 1999 and where I held various position, but people don’t talk to you with the same objectives and the same words; it varies according to your position and your capacity to act and follow-up on their expectations. For the majority of people, it is because they respect the position and give a special attention to deal with its top decision-maker. For some others, I must say a minority, you can easily notice they are opportunistic and are only looking to serve their personal interest, not to say their hidden agenda. All of a sudden, they notice your existence!

These multiple demands for meetings, delivering speeches at events or interviews need a careful organisation and a priority management. It is obviously very good for the ego. I call it the red carpet syndrome. This is precisely the trap in which you shouldn’t fall. That’s why I decided to involve the President as much as possible in representing UITP, and to share this task as well with my directors who, according to the topics, might be in a better position than me to speak on behalf of the Association. Not to mention the members who are very active and very involved: they have the practical experience and expertise that give their speech an indisputable credibility. This being said, it is important to personify the position and give it a face and a recognisable style. But this should be done naturally and with sincerity. It is something I learned from my theatrical experience: overacting is caricaturing, and this will make you lose credibility.

Wearing the shoes of Secretary General after four years as deputy implies a mix of continuity and disruption. Continuity in the values you always believed in, in your trust in your colleagues, in your passion for the mission of the Association and dedication for its members. Simultaneously, you are expected to show an indefectible sense of responsibility, a smart way of delegating this responsibility, a strategic vision and leadership skills much expected by colleagues and members. All the better, that’s suits me perfectly.

February 23, 2018

Associations Get More Choice in Brisbane

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) has joined forces with Rydges Hotel South Bank opening up new opportunities for smaller and medium sized conferences wanting a convention centre experience but with the added convenience of a single point of contact for both accommodation and conference facilities.

This new partnership between the two brought about the South Bank Conferences initiative, offering associations a one stop shop approach. The high quality conference facilities and the newly revisited hotel services will be combined with the security of the long experience of BCEC to provide both organisers and delegates greater choice and more options for the smaller and medium conference market.

BCEC General Manager, Bob O’Keeffe says: “Reflective of BCEC’s previous successful partnership model collaborating with business, the arts, education and research, this initiative is pivotal to developing innovative solutions targeting the specific conference needs of clients.”


February 22, 2018

Economic Growth for Melbourne thanks to its Business Events Sector

The Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) can boast higher business events offering thanks to deeper support from the government, according to Karen Bolinger, the Bureau’s CEO. Its most recent international association wins in the medical and association sector including Spine Week 2020, the Annual Meeting of the International Continence Society 2021 and the General Assembly and Congress of the International Union of Crystallography 2023, which combined will deliver over 6,400 delegates are a good reason for this support.

Melbourne has always applied its knowledge capacity, infrastructure, prosperity, accessibility and citywide collaboration to create the ideal environment for its business events. Now it can also enjoy the recognition, and, of course, further engagement, from the Victoria government as a gateway to trade and investment, an opportunity to evolve priority industry sectors through research and development and a platform to harness and expose local talent. Ms Bolinger announced that business events in Melbourne are written into two government portfolio strategies across seven industries, that is the department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Bureau’s CEO said: “Our clients can be confident of government support for their events, get access into the relevant government department, rely on government for advocacy and bid support and hold a reasonable expectation for government participation at their event.”

February 21, 2018

Artsy Bruges Welcomes Museum Curators

The 21st CODART congress will take place in Bruges, Belgium from 11 to 13 March 2018 welcoming approximately 140 curators from 25 different countries. CODART is the international network of museum curators of Flemish and Dutch art in museums worldwide.

Themed ‘Old Masters, Old-Fashioned?’, the congress will deal with the current status of the Old Masters in museums and with the role curators can play in this in a program compiled by CODART in collaboration with long-standing partner Musea Brugge. Participants in this congress will be able to attend lectures about the congress theme, and  present projects and ask each other questions in the Speakers’ Corner. There is also an extensive excursions programme as well as opportunities for networking.

Gerdien Verschoor, Director of CODART, said: ‘We are very pleased to gather in Bruges, where we are always welcomed very warmly. We meet in order to work out common plans for the future,  and for an international network for Dutch and Flemish art, it feels good to be able to organize a congress amidst these stunning Flemish works of art.’