St John’s, Canada, to Host Large Aquaculture Conference

July 27, 2018

St John’s, Canada, to Host Large Aquaculture Conference

The World Aquaculture Society (WAS) recently signed an agreement to host the WAS North America Conference 2020 in partnership with the Aquaculture Association of Canada (AAC) and Newfoundland & Labrador Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA). The WAS Aquaculture Conference, the largest of its kind ever held in Canada, will take place August 30 – September 2, 2020 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

The combined international conference and exposition is expected to draw over 2,000 attendees from more than 100 countries. St. John’s, the eastern-most point in North America, and one of Canada’s most vibrant coastal cities, has long been a centre of excellence in aquaculture, having pioneered ocean harvesting since the earliest explorers set foot on Newfoundland.

From highly-skilled engineers, veterinarians and researchers to marine biologists, scientists and farmers, the men and women who work in St. John’s aquaculture industry are world-class experts in their fields, so it’s only fitting the World Aquaculture Society would choose to meet where the experts are.

July 26, 2018

An Invitation to Switzerland

The Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau (SCIB) based in Brussels, organises its traditional workshop on 23 October at 6PM which will take place at Hof ter Musschen in Woluwé. Associations are invited to discover the many possibilities for meetings and events in Switzerland.

This year the original theme is: Act like a Coach to excel in your performances. Thanks to its varied landscapes and great climate, Switzerland undoubtedly offers an elaborate choice of infrastructures for meetings or conferences, but also a great variety of facilities for group activities in different disciplines. 10 Swiss partners will be present, as well as keynote speaker, Paul Van Den Bosch.

This evening is exclusively for professional organisers of meetings and is by invitation only. To obtain your own personal invitation, please contact


July 24, 2018

Why Every Association Needs a Social Media Policy

Social media is one of the most effective tools that associations have to communicate directly with their communities; yet many organisations shy away from social media. This may be due to a lack of interest from leadership, limited resources or simply the perception of too much risk associated with social media, particularly for medical associations. Many of these factors can be addressed, at least in part, through the development of a social media policy.

A social media policy is an internal document with guidelines and rules for the use of social media by an organisation. It must be consistent with the organisation’s business strategy and its marketing plans. It can also be a powerful tool to get buy-in from management as it shows a duty of care that helps to build a business case for social media.

One of the most important things that a social media policy does is set expectations for everyone. It sets the rules for those who are assigned to communicate on behalf of the organisation and offers guidance to everyone else. It empowers teams and individuals to be confident that their actions on social media are aligned with the organisation.


A social media policy ideally involves the whole organisation and is often created and managed by the marketing team. It should be co-created by various departments including marketing, community management, customer service, human resources, legal and any others that seem relevant. Ultimately it must be approved at top level and should be reviewed regularly, especially when there are changes in laws, internal restructuring or changes in key personnel.

A social media policy does not have to be a complex document. Some of the clearest policies simply ask that employees use their best judgement, but most policies go into more detail. An overview of the social media strategy, an up-to-date marketing plan including brand guidelines and how it links to the overall business strategy is a great place to start.

The social media policy should include details on how each social media platform is set up, who has access and who is responsible for posting and monitoring on behalf of the organisation. It should also clarify how others are expected to use social media at work and outline how employees or members should refer to their relationship with the organisation on their personal profiles. Many organisations ask staff to make clear on their social media profiles that the views are their own and may not represent those of the organisation.

In the event of a crisis

A social media policy must address data protection and security, copyright regulations and give direction on how to manage external content. There should also be a social media crisis plan with guidelines on how to deal with offensive or discriminatory content and a link to the full crisis plan for the organisation. Additionally, the policy must make clear any disciplinary actions to be taken in case of breach of the policy.

When something goes wrong on social media, such as a post which is considered offensive or inappropriate it almost always needs immediate attention, yet it may not be considered a full crisis. In this situation it is important that everyone acts according to the organisation’s social media policy because how it is dealt with reflects on the whole organisation.

The first step is to acknowledge the issue, understand the reasons why it happened and, if appropriate, remove the post. Direct communication with those involved, in private if possible, is crucial. Depending on the nature of the issue, there may also be a need to communicate externally. Once the issue has been dealt with, assess whether it went against the existing social media policy, and if disciplinary action is needed. The final step is to update the policy so as to help prevent future issues.

Golden rule

A social media policy only becomes real when it is actively integrated into the day-to-day actions of the team. Not everyone will require training, but everyone should at least be aware of the social media policy. Those who deal directly with social media, even if only through their personal social media accounts, should review the policy.

If an organisation is not active on social media it should articulate the strategic reasons for this in a simple version of a social media policy and review it periodically. It’s important to acknowledge that, even if there are no official accounts, employees or members may be active on social media and can be perceived as speaking on behalf of the organisation. There may also be social media activity around an organisation or an event, even if the organisation itself is not directly involved.

Creating a social media policy is simply a way to officialise an organisation’s stance on social media and set the expectations for everyone. There are limits to what can be asked of employees and members. While the most risk averse organisations may want to push for tight controls over all social media this is often counterproductive as it can cause friction with staff and members. An approach that offers guidance and support to everyone on social media is often a better option.

“Don’t share anything online that you would not like to see on the cover of a newspaper”,that is a golden rule of social media. Following this will keep almost all organisations out of trouble and able to take advantage of social media great potential for direct communication and engagement.

This article was contributed by Miguel Neves, founder of Social Media Chefs, a digital engagement consultancy that uses the language of food to help organisations develop their social media strategy /


July 19, 2018

Bruges Knows About Lace

From 13 August until 25 August Bruges will bring the magic of lace to life during the World Lace Congress. Thousands of lace enthusiasts and experts from all over the world will participate in a versatile and interesting programme. Bruges and lace have always been inextricably linked, which is one of the reasons why the city is the perfect location for the congress.

Themed ‘Living Lace’, the congress will primarily focus on contemporary lace. Workshops are to be held from 13 until 16 August. The congress itself will take place in three unique locations from 17 until 19 August: the Gothic St Giles Church, the Bogardenkapel which will be transformed into a ‘Lace Chapel’ by students of the Stedelijke Academie, the art school, and the City Archives in the centre of Bruges which will show the economic dimension of lace in previous centuries. Additionally, there will be lectures by five lace experts in the Old St. John congress centre.

Afterwards, from 20 until 25 August, a lace tour that stops in ten different Belgian cities will be organised. Local museums and lace artists will host their own lace exhibitions.

(Picture: Oud Sint-Jan, Brugges)

July 18, 2018

Knowledge Sharing at EuroHeartCare 2017

The EuroHeartCare conference is one of the most important platforms for driving research publications, exchanging ideas, and forming and deepening collaborations within the field of cardiovascular nursing in Europe. It aims to support healthcare professionals in delivering the best care possible to patients with cardiovascular disease. The 2017 edition was hosted by Jönköping University in Sweden.

Our partner The Iceberg studied how professional expertise was transferred amongst the delegates and from them to the organisations they represented with the result of individual competence enhancement and potential improvements for both the organisations and their operational outcomes.

You can read the full story here.

July 18, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Gets Pride of Place in Stockholm

Stockholm will host the Federated AI Meeting (FAIM), the world’s largest scientific event on artificial intelligence, this very July. It will actually be a gathering of five world leading scientific AI conferences all under one roof – and for the first time. FAIM will take place at Stockholmsmässan. More than 5,000 international experts, scientists and engineers in the artificial intelligence field are expected to attend.

For almost 50 years, the world’s foremost scientific conference on artificial intelligence, International Joint Conference of Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), has been held annually in various cities around the world. When the Swedish AI Society, with support from Visit Stockholm, was granted to host the conference for a second time, a plan was set in motion to create a larger event week with several of the leading scientific conferences in the field gathering in Stockholm. The result was the Federated AI Meeting – the world’s largest event on AI.

Fredrik Heintz, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Linköping University and President of the Swedish AI Society commented: “It is unique to be able to bring together so many of the world’s leading AI researchers in one place to present the latest scientific advances. The fact that we can make this happen in Sweden shows that we are well respected in the scientific community, and offers a fantastic opportunity to present ourselves to the world.”

July 17, 2018

UFI to Take its Annual Congress to Oman

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has selected Oman and the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre for the 2020 UFI Global Congress. The event is organized in November of each year and brings together more than 500 industry professionals from more than 50 countries. It has previously been hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa (2017), Shanghai, China (2016) and Milan, Italy (2015). This year, it will be hosted in St.  Petersburg, Russia, followed by Bangkok, Thailand in 2019.

Ideallly situated on the Arabian Peninsula and only seven hours away from half of the world’s population, Oman is a country that merits to be discovered. Oman is a diverse nation rich in both history and culture, blessed with a breath-taking natural beauty.

Chairman of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, H.E. Mohsin Al Balushi, said: “It is an honour to have been selected to host the 2020 UFI Global Congress and bringing such prestigious delegates to Oman would showcase the wonderful exhibition facilities and services that the country had to offer and reflected the growing confidence in the local market place. I am sure that the delegates will have a memorable experience in this land of enormous diversity and natural beauty. Our new convention and exhibition centre is the ideal venue for facilitating the exchange of ideas amongst the UFI members”.

July 16, 2018

London Welcomes Experts in Data

Coming for the very first time in the UK, KDD, the world’s oldest and most important Data Science conference will be held at ExCeL London in August 2018. London has been chosen as the host city as it represents the heart of global data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning research, with the capital topping the European investment charts for funding into fast growing sectors such as Artificial Intelligence, cyber security and Fintech.

Aldo Faisal, publicity chair for KDD and Associate Professor in Data Science at Imperial College London commented: “KDD coming to the London ExCeL is both a reflection of the explosive growth in Data Science and AI and a testimony to the city’s global leadership in it.”

KDD is a leading interdisciplinary conference bringing together researchers and practitioners from data science, data mining & large-scale data analytics.  Taking place over five days, the conference brings together thousands of professionals to listen to the top data scientists share their knowledge to advance the application of data science, expand their expertise and discuss novel ideas with industry peers. Delegates can learn from leading experts in the world of applied data mining and knowledge discovery with a series of invited talks, half day workshops and tutorial sessions.

July 16, 2018

The Often-Feared Issues
of Compliance & Regulation

With global trends showing an increase in world population at 8.5 billion by 2030 and 9.7 by 2050, according to the newest UN figures, such developments offer some real opportunities as well as challenges to the association market.

Rising living standards and fewer people living in absolute poverty offer unique opportunities for associations to innovate and work to educate these emerging markets with bespoke programmes, benefits, international professional standards and engage in knowledge transfer, certifications, networking to name but a few possibilities. In particular, associations will be faced with the challenge to a) identify growth markets, b) determine which business models will be best suited for maximum engagement, and c) how to fit these models to an appropriate growth strategy to foster this engagement.

Stringent rules

For a few years now, medical associations have felt the stress of diminished income through, among others, sponsorship contributions or even direct operating budget support from industry partners. Where in the first decade of the 2000s industry may have supported medical associations’ budgets with up to 60%, and sometimes more, through sponsorships, advertising and patient education, this support has come under increased scrutiny from the public eye in recent years. Most notably, abuse of anti-fraud regulations, exorbitant consultancy fees paid to practitioners and surgeons, and ‘kick backs’ from big pharma have caused more stringent rules and regulations to be applied to the healthcare industry all over the world.

What is it that modern medical associations can do to navigate the complex world of compliance rules, maintain an appropriate relationship with governments on the one side and industry on the other?

Medical practitioners list a variety of benefits they enjoy and find useful and thus attach value to continuing membership with professional bodies, such as associations nationally and internationally. These lists usually start from simply benefitting from educational and knowledge exchange programmes, continuous education credits (CME) and the opportunity to network with peers and relevant industry partners. In addition, many associations offer opportunities to publish scientific articles of high academic value in their journals, develop clinical databases for the use of their members, and engage in dialogues with governments and industry alike to represent and uphold the values of the medical profession. Some associations have even ventured into financial markets offering insurance and other products to their members. While this may read like a laundry list it shows the resilience and creativity of some professional bodies to remain at the forefront of relevance in the global association market.

Recent surveys have shown that, although a diverse range of benefits is certainly advantageous, it is but a fraction of the benefits experienced during a global summit or world congress. Practitioners feel more than ever that there is nothing as useful as meeting in person and having the chance to engage in discussions, debates and other learning activities, while having access to the newest trends in the healthcare industry. The impact of such gatherings is clearly not to be underestimated and their attractiveness to new markets still has room for deeper exploration.

Industry relations are important in this scenario of venturing out into the great wide world and industry supports large parts of congresses and activities of medical societies. Whether it is through support of patient-education (a prominent case being the relationship between the American Association of Family Practitioners AAFP and The Coca Cola Corporation on the research into obesity), advertising in medical journals, product endorsements, and/or financial support of (graduate) education programmes and awards.

Ethical engagement

While it is safe to say that industry provides large support overall to the benefit of medical associations, making significant financial contributions, criticism arises as to the potential pitfalls and trade-offs when not-for-profit organisations are being supported by for-profit entities. Even more questions arise around established norms as well as the responsibility of medical societies towards their members, patients and societies at large. Ethical concerns are at the forefront here and maintaining a neutral stance can often be a challenging balancing act.

As societies therefore look to the future and explore new ways of engaging with their environments, public affairs move to the core of a society’s life. Ethical engagement is the buzzword of future generations and in order to differentiate and free self-governance and independence from conflict of interest it is worth spending a thought or two on the creation of a set of ethics rules and/or an ethics policy. A clear outline on which activities, relationships and engagements are indeed to the benefit of a society’s stakeholders and how to address potential risks of conflict are vital to determine a society’s position vis-à-vis its interest groups. This is certainly an easier approach than trying to evaluate and handle each relationship and potential risk on a case-by-case basis.

Having a set of rules and guidelines at the ready also facilitates engaging in newly developed markets. Past mistakes can be avoided from the beginning and a society can prove its maturity and value the more developed and grounded its ethics and policy basis is in relation to the work it carries out. In fact, it opens itself to becoming a learning organisation itself and becoming a strong partner for local authorities to develop appropriate and modern standards. This, in turn, may assist industry in accessing new markets as well and adjusting their efforts towards ethical and environmentally compliant behaviour to the benefit of society.

Organisationally responsible behaviour has never been more in fashion as today and current trends show that responsible engagement needs to be deeply anchored in the values of any organisation if it is to survive. The challenges of greater interconnectedness, AI and further automation require new standards also in transparency rules. Being prepared by means of appropriate ethics rules that address the handling of conflicts of interest openly strengthens and stabilises not only continuous community engagement but also the bottom line.

This article was provided by the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers, author Christoph Raudonat, Director of Associations, International Conference Services Ltd, on behalf of IAPCO President, Mathias Posch.  IAPCO represents today 117 companies comprised of over 7500 professional congress organisers, meeting planners and managers of international and national congresses, conventions and special events from 41 countries. /      




July 13, 2018

Adelaide to Host Medical Physicians and Biomedical Engineers in 2024

Led by Professor James Goh, the International Union for Physical and Engineering Science in Medicine (IUPSEM) has chosen Adelaide as the host city for their 2024 congress, it was announced last week. Held every three years, the World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering is one of the largest international gatherings of medical physicists, biomedical engineers and specialists from related fields.

The win, secured just after the Adelaide Convention Bureau’s recent BioMed showcase is further testament that the focus by the Bureau on Health Sciences and Medical events seems to be paying dividends. Investment in infrastructure with the development of the largest Biomed City in the Southern and its collaboration with the Tonsley Innovation District which incorporates the Flinders University – just 15 minute drive from the city (or via a soon to be opened rail link) is the primary driver of this focus. The congress will attract the most innovative companies and world leaders within the field to Adelaide. Hosting the global delegates and companies is fundamental to South Australia remaining at the global forefront of the industry and in turn, assist the Bureau to continue to attract events of this calibre.

2,400 delegates from 89 countries are expected to attend the Congress.

(Picture: Adelaide Convention Centre)