The European Association Summit Grows Strong

For the sixth year in a row, organised the European Association Summit (EAS) at the newly-rebranded SQUARE-BRUSSELS CONVENTION CENTRE on 8-9 March 2018. Over the years, the event has become indispensable in terms of exchanging information, sharing knowledge, and networking for international associations. This year’s trends and biggest questions facing the association community were addressed under the theme of “Engage, collaborate, and innovate.”

This year’s EAS was the biggest to date, with over 200 participants, who could choose from 20 themed workshops and three plenary sessions. Growing from strength to strength, the organisers formed new partnerships and, for the first time, welcomed ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) and PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association). Based on real case studies, the summit gathered association representatives – from Brussels and beyond –  around the table to discuss a whole range of topics, such as organising campaigns, advocacy, growth strategies, relations between members and management in fields such as sport, nanotechnology, medicine and culture.

As far as Boardroom was concerned, what really changed this year was the level of engagement from the audience. If plenaries were expected plenaries (the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, tackle, for instance, the topic of collaboration, which is essential for associations), the workshops were the opportuntiy for delegates to participate, and, most of them did in a very spontaneous and lively manner. Emilie Fillod, COO of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice (EFGCP), put it this way : ‘The overall content of the sessions was very good, and I particularly liked the way many of us participated in the conversations. Like they say, the knowledge is in the room, and I find, by talking to my association peers, many issues can be raised and even challenges can be solved.’

Popular sessions included a focus on GDPR organised by FAIB, the federation of associations based in Belgium, how to create momentum with online advocayc campaigns, led by three very dynamic young association executives, the power of the personal touch, where you understood that, in fine, relationships are key, and a special workshop on membership, where you could understand the differences between top-down and bottom-up initiatives.

This article was written by Rémi Dévé, Boardroom Chief Editor (

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