Major Events Ahead for Singapore

September 13, 2019

Major Events Ahead for Singapore

Singapore’s BTMICE landscape continues to grow from strength to strength, with the city state set to host notable events and meetings such as Vidcon Asia, Home Delivery Asia, Deloitte All Hands Meeting and Bentley Systems Year in Infrastructure Conference in 2019.

Over the next two years from 2020 to 2021, Singapore will welcome for the first time an expected 8,000 participants attending International Trademark Association’s 142nd Annual Meeting. Lions Clubs International Convention will be held in Singapore in 2020, with an expected 20,000 foreign attendees, making it the largest association congress ever to be held in the city. SAP Field Kick-Off Meeting makes its return to Singapore with two successive years of meetings scheduled in 2020 and 2021. In addition, the Asia Pacific Life Insurance Congress and Million Dollar Round Table Global Conference will be held in Singapore in 2021.

In 2022, Singapore and Southeast Asia will host for the first time, the International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention (MICCAI), with an expected visitorship of 2,000 delegates. Singapore was recently selected as the destination of choice for the 25th World Congress of Dermatology in 2023. This will be the largest medical convention to take place in the city, with an estimated 15,000 participants.

September 12, 2019

Incredible Impacts Third Year Winners

The Incredible Impacts Programme, now in its third year, run collaboratively by ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance, has selected three winning associations as leading examples of excellence within the global meetings industry. An independent panel of industry experts selected the winners of this year’s Incredible Impacts grant as the European Lung Foundation in conjunction with European Respiratory Society, the International AIDS Society and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

The three associations from across the globe will each receive a grant worth US $7,500 towards future projects, in recognition of their hosted events excelling in areas such as legacy development, diversity and accessibility.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said: “This year’s Incredible Impacts Programme submissions have been shining examples of innovative thinking and diversity in the meetings industry, demonstrating the impact and legacy we can leave behind us – particularly with the way each of them engaged with the younger generation.”

September 11, 2019

What Can Social-Media Influencers Do for You?

Octavio ‘Bobby’ Peralta, concurrently the secretary general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), Founder & CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) and President of the Asia-Pacific Federation of Association Organizations (APFAO), in his latest article touches upon the trend of social media influencers.

Clarifying that influencers are not always extremely popular on social media and followed by millions of people or organisations, the article portrays the benefits a so-called micro-influencer can have on all associations, and in particular smaller ones.

You can read the full article here.

September 10, 2019

Speaking the Language of Leadership

The inaugural AC Forum and Leading Centres of Europe (LCE) collaborative learning experience in July took the theme of the language of leadership, with delegates joining forces to improve their communication skills.

Clear, authentic communication is essential in the associations sector, so mastering how to get your message across effectively is a must – especially for those in leadership roles. The first AC Forum and Leading Centres of Europe (LCE) collaborative learning experience from 1-2 July united a small group of 20 members from both organisations to spend two days at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow honing their communication skills.

The event marked the culmination of months of planning and discussions between the two bodies, which started with a speculative phone call. “AC Forum was looking for new avenues to collaborate with industry partners. They contacted the SEC to discuss possible partnerships, and I suggested that the Leading Centres of Europe might be interested. After a number of exploratory conversations, we came up with the idea of a long-term partnership focused on a one or two-day educational event, with content that was of mutual benefit. By learning together, we build even greater industry insight from which we all benefit,” says Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SEC.

Pink Elephant

The content of the inaugural event was designed to improve the performance of the individuals in both their business and personal lives through learning the ‘language of leadership’. Both organisations agreed the theme would offer value to their respective members, and would provide a strong start to their events partnership: “We wanted to have something that was beneficial for both the AC Forum members and the LCE attendees,” explains Carola van der Hoeff, Secretary of the AC Forum and COO & Congress Director at the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). For me it was a well-invested time to be with everyone – meeting my peers, networking, learning and reconnecting with all the members.

After arriving at the SEC Campus and checking into the on-site hotel, delegates enjoyed a brief welcome reception before getting down to business. Glasgow-based communications consultancy Pink Elephant, led the learning experience, beginning with an introduction to ‘the golden rules of communication’ – a set of rules with a purpose of helping those that use them to communicate effectively and with confidence, no matter what the situation. “The most important one for me was ‘get to the point quickly’ – within the first seven seconds of your communication ideally,” says van der Hoeff. “Also, eliminate ‘pink elephants’ from your communication. We learned that ‘pink elephants’ are unnecessary negatives,”she adds.

The second day of the event was all about delegates putting what they had learnt into action. Will Whitehorn, chairman of the SEC, kicked off the morning with an inspirational breakfast talk. In it he spoke about the value and importance of brand and innovation, drawing on his experience working with major brands including his time as president of Virgin Galactic and as a special advisor to Sir Richard Branson.

Delegates were split up into pairs – with one LCE representative and one AC Forum representative – and interviewed on pre-agreed scenarios relevant to their working environment, giving them the opportunity to practise their new skills. “They really had to trust each other to manage their way through the testing interviews,” says Warden. “It also helped to break down the sense of buyer and supplier – everyone was equal, and that felt like true partnership.”

The interviews were filmed, then played back in front of the whole group to be constructively analysed. “Being interviewed live, and filmed, and critiqued in front of your peers pushed everyone out of their comfort zone. And everyone rose to the challenge,” says Warden. By the second round of interviews all of the participants had improved their performance, demonstrating that new knowledge had been acquired and new skills had been developed. The whole exercise inspired ‘true learning’. “When you are out of your comfort zone, your primal instincts kick in – fight or flight – and flight was not an option. So everyone had to rise to the occasion and there was a great feeling of achievement from all of the participants,” says Warden.

Educational ambitions

The feedback from the first event has been extremely positive, from both sides of the table, as new skills, that will benefit the participants in their business as well as in their personal lives, were learnt collaboratively.

As Adrian Ott, President of the AC Forum, concludes: “The virtual world has developed extensively, and the format in which people want to learn has also changed. As an organisation, we want to link strategic and operational considerations together. Through this experience in Glasgow, AC Forum’s educational ambitions came a big step closer towards a natural synergy which fosters peer-to-peer education, innovation by sharing good practice, expanding thinking, and finally, neutrality by providing a forum free from commercial influence.”

Plans for the next event are already underway. In October, the collaborative learning experience will travel to Geneva, Lucerne, and Basel and has been specifically designed for senior-level association professionals, with the exception of a featured workshop on congress management geared towards junior members.In 2020, AC Forum and Leading Centres of Europe will organise another workshop in the city of Milan at MiCo MILANO.

This piece was written by Boardroom Editor Chantelle Dietz. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.



September 10, 2019

Edinburgh Reinforces Its Status as a Tech Hub

Edinburgh prepares to host ESOMAR Congress 2019 – The Global Data & Insights Summit – between 8-11 September at the Edinburgh International Conference CentreThis congress will see world-leaders in data and tech come together with local talent and start-ups to share and distribute the latest thinking and cutting-edge methodologies in data and insight.  

Over 1,200 international delegates and over 3,600 live online viewers will be joined by speakers from global brands including Google, Microsoft, Viacom, Unilever, Intel, Facebook, PepsiCo, and Diageo. The programme also features ‘incubator’ led content, encouraging cross fertilisation of ideas with these industry leaders, attendees and the local tech community.   

Finn Raben, Diector General ESOMAR said: “Edinburgh’s bid to host the Congress stood out against other cities’ due to its strength in the tech sector. It’s considered the UK’s fastest growing tech hub, home to the likes of CodeBase, the UK’s largest start-up incubator, Skyscanner and Fanduel. It has a rich tradition of being a centre of innovation and this continues today with the University of Edinburgh’s world leading programmes in data science, robotics and AI. It’s a real asset, as it feeds our ambition to promote internationally the tech industry work happening at a local level. We’re excited to engage with the thriving start-up community in the city, helping connect those local businesses with more than 1,000 decision makers from across the globe.”

This conference lies at the heart of the campaign ‘Make It Edinburgh’, which showcases the city’s strongest sectors helping to drive business tourism to the city.

September 9, 2019

Stronger Bonds Between Malaysia and US Associations

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) recently hosted an immersive educational event for AMC (Association Management Companies) Institute, and two high-profile US-based association events this year, the 29th International Congress for Conservation Biology 2019 and Asia Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium (ATPS) Industry Summit 2019 in an effort to take its growing traction with the North American meetings market further.

This investment in growing partnerships with North American based associations continues with four major bid wins that will culminate at the Centre next year, including the 19th International Congress on Infectious Diseases (ICID) 2020; World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) World Congress 2020; Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) 68th Asia Pacific Public Meeting 2020; and Asia Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium (ATPS) 2020The venue also recently won three US-based association bids from the oil & gas and education sectors to be held between 2020 and 2023.

Following her engaging experience in Kuala Lumpur, and having become a new advocate, SmithBucklin, Executive Vice President, Michael Payne said: “The city, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and just the overall immersive visit was truly a first-class experience. The flexibility offered by the Centre, the level of service provided, overall quality of the facility and excellent food made it one of the more attractive and best Convention Centre’s I’ve seen. The ease of connectivity, wide spread use of English and overall competitive pricing, as well as the convenience and quality of the surrounding hotels make it an incredible offering.”

Photo : Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

September 6, 2019

Christchurch Plants Seeds of Knowledge

The International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) Congress will take place in Ōtautahi Christchurch from 11-18 May 2022. It will be held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre. Most of New Zealand’s seed exports are sourced from Canterbury.

The Congress is held every three years, and brings together seed experts from more than 70 countries, giving delegates the chance to network with their global counterparts. ISTA members include scientists, seed technologists, policy makers and regulators. It is a premier global event for the industry. Delegates will be surrounded by an agricultural and seed-producing sector.

The local industry is focused on seed for pasture; forage grasses like ryegrass and clover; and cereal grain crops like wheat. Christchurch boasts a large number of growers, processors and merchants, as well as research institutions focused on seed. Two of the four ISTA-acredited New Zealand seed laboratories are based in and around Christchurch, and many local labs have ISTA members within them.

September 5, 2019

Washington, DC: A Model for Sustainability Across the U.S.

Washington, DC has built a path towards greener living and meeting with more LEED-certified buildings than any other city in the U.S. and an accessible environment where every government building is powered by renewable energy. DC has become a leader in sustainability, helping its businesses reduce their carbon footprints and sharing a common vision for a sustainable planet.

A large talent pool is formed by so many like-minded companies in the area. Major domestic and international sustainable startups are here, such as Clean Choice Energy and Arcadia Power. Potential Energy DC is an incubator of 16 organizations dedicated to propelling energy and sustainability startups in DC, while the US Green Building Council, the creator of LEED certification, is headquartered in DC.

Washington, DC is committed to sustainable practices:

  • The Department of Energy and Environment is the authority on energy and environmental issues effecting DC and employs approximately 300 engineers, biologists, toxicologists, geologists and environmental specialists.
  • As one of the largest buildings in the nation’s capital, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center recognizes the importance of implementing sustainability initiatives with a color-coded recycling and waste minimization program, 100 percent paper products throughout the center, LED lighting and more, which you can explore here.
  • Washington, DC is part of the C40 initiative, a grouping of 90+ cities around the world dedicated to finding evidence-based and bold climate action solutions.
  • Mayor Muriel E. Bowser is a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

Washington, DC also happens to be a great place to host meetings without the use and added expense of a shuttle. With 40+ hotels within walking distance of the convention center, the ease of commuting within the city continues to add to DC’s appeal for business travelers.George Washington University’s research on walkability portrays DC as a model for other cities, with walkable urban places across all types of real estate development.Fifty-eight percent of commuter trips in DC are by bike, walking, or public transit (Buildings Magazine, 2017) and groups such as the American Geophysical Union, that hosted 28,000 attendees without using a shuttle at the 2018 fall meeting, are increasingly leveraging the city’s local sustainable transport options.

“DC is incredibly diverse, which matches our attendee base,” said Christine McEntee, executive director and CEO, American Geophysical Union. “Sustainability is so important to us. How great is it to be in a city that recently passed the nation’s first 100 percent renewable energy bill, Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act, which sets a mandate of 100% renewable energy by 2032?”

Washington, DC is where great minds gather for meetings in sustainability, but also technology, biotech/pharmaceutical, education, medical, transportation and government advocacy sectors. Meeting planners will find to the country’s leaders and lawmakers in DC, which benefit their attendees, sponsors and exhibitors alike.

Washington, DC’s landscape is ever-changing. The city is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries with $11.2 billion in development, 15 hotels in the pipeline and many new and renovated special events venues in the works. The REACH at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is opening Sept. 7, adding 72,000 square feet of performance and events space, 130,000 square feet of landscaping and gardens, terrace seating for up to 1,600 people and a scenic walkway leading to nearby monuments and memorials.

This article is powered by Destination DC. To learn more green facts about Washington, DC and submit an RFP, visit us at You can also write to

September 5, 2019

Design Thinking Applied to Events by ASSOCIATIONWORLD

ASSOCIATIONWORLD, partners of Boardroom, are organising one more interesting workshop hosted by the Association Bureau on 16 September between 09.00 and 18.00. The workshop, called EventCanvas, is organised by Event Design Collective and provides a systematic approach to enable teams to design innovative events using Design Thinking applied to Events using the #EventCanvas methodology.

The Event Design Certificate Level 1 program is for leaders, executive directors, event directors, head of events, meetings planners and marketing managers who want a hands-on approach to understanding, designing and delivering events that matter. Boardroom’s advisory board member, Silke Schlinnertz, will be one of the facilitators leading participants to acquiring basic skills such as ability to interpret and create an Event Canvas Boundary box and discuss stakeholder needs.

After this workshop, participants will be ablate understand the event canvas methodology and templates to visually articulate the value of an event, sketch the canvas of a random event with a team offline or online, learn how to lead a team through the process of Event Design and create, design and prototype new events using the #EventCanvas.

You can find more information and register here.

September 4, 2019

Putting Expertise to Work

Holland’s network of thought-leaders play a vital role in helping attract international association events and enhancing the country’s reputation as a knowledge hub. They provide an essential link between not-for-profit organisations and convention bureaus or destination marketing organisations. Their areas of expertise may be widely different – from science to healthcare and education – but they all have a common goal: to share and exchange knowledge for the greater good. Boardroom Magazine meets four influential figures instrumental in winning bids for their cities.

Research in Mathematics Education

The Netherlands is a hotspot for education and pedagogy, with Utrecht boasting expertise in the field of mathematics. Utrecht University’s Freudenthal Group – named after the Jewish-German-born Dutch mathematician Hans Freudenthal – carries out research into the didactics of mathematics in early childhood education, primary education, special education, and vocational education.

One of its leading researchers Michiel Veldhuis, is also a member of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (ERME). He and his colleague, professor Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, saw the potential in bringing the association’s eleventh annual congress to Utrecht earlier this year. “The Netherlands, especially Utrecht University, has a long-standing experience in researching and designing mathematics education for which Freudenthal and his collaborators laid the foundation about half a century ago. Since then it has further developed as a strong research community with theoretically and practically relevant output,” he says.

Michiel Veldhuis

Confident Utrecht would provide a “fruitful academic environment for sharing knowledge” Van den Heuvel-Panhuizen and Veldhuis worked alongside the Utrecht Convention Bureau and professional conference organiser Congress by Design to prepare a bid. “After ten successful editions in other European countries, we hoped to be able to organise this prestigious meeting for the first time in this beautiful city in the heart of the Netherlands,” explains Veldhuis, who has a PhD in mathematics education.

Having successfully won the bid, they collaborated on setting a budget and sourcing venues for the conference sessions and gala dinner. The historic Dom Square was chosen as the focal point for the event, which took place from 6-10 February, welcoming 1,000 delegates. Plenary sessions were held in the Dom Church (St. Martin’s Cathedral), one of the oldest buildings in Utrecht, while parallel sessions for 34 thematic working groups were hosted in historical buildings surrounding Dom Square, all within 10 minutes’ walking distance.

A winning combination of location, setting and expertise is what won Utrecht the bid says Veldhuis: “One distinguishing factor for the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education choosing Utrecht was its central local in Europe. The city of Utrecht combines the tradition of the old historic buildings and canals and the new world architecture and infrastructure. Finally, a very important factor for choosing Utrecht is the high reputation of Utrecht University.”

Tuberculosis Foundation

Kitty Van Weezenbeek has a career in tuberculosis (TB) related organisations stretching back over 37 years. She started her career as a provincial TB officer in the Netherlands, moving on to hold leading positions at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, and the WHO Western Pacific regional office.

As executive director of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation (KNVC) – the world’s leading TB expert organisation – she was responsible for attracting the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health to The Hague at the end of 2018. “Since KNCV’s headquarters are in The Hague and our organisation celebrated its 115 years anniversary in 2018, we decided to bid for the conference,”she explains.

Kitty Van Weezenbeek

KNCV had already established itself as a trusted partner of the event, having acted as a local host to the conference in 1932 and 1967, in Amsterdam. Van Weezenbeek was certain her foundation would make an excellent local host, prompting her to put in a bid with support from The Hague Convention Bureau. The conference’s organising team agreed and so the work to facilitate the network, introduce potential speakers and sponsors and identify suitable venues began.

“We worked together with the venues, the local authorities, including protocol departments for the presence of the Crown Princess of Japan, HIH Princess Kiko of Akishino, and Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, private sector partners, the Japanese Embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health,” reveals Van Weezenbeek.

The four-day event from 24-27 October attracted clinicians and public health workers, policymakers, researchers and advocates working to end the suffering caused by lung disease from 125 countries across the world – each presenting their own research findings. It specifically helped to generate more attention around TB in the Netherlands, which was amplified by some groundbreaking results in the field of childhood TB delivered by KNCV.

Van Weezenbeek says The Hague offered a unique and easily accessible setting for the conference: “The many direct flights to Schiphol [Airport] and the easy accessibility of The Hague to and from this airport was an important strength. The Hague is a relatively small city with excellent public transport, cosy restaurants and the seaside nearby.”

International AIDS Society

Physician-scientist Peter Reiss partnered with the International AIDS Society (IAS) to host the 22nd International Aids Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam from 23-27 July last year. A professor of medicine at the Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) and a former governing board member of IAS, Reiss has been working as a HIV researcher since the early 80s and is an advocate for HIV and AIDS education, prevention and treatment.

As co-chair of the conference, he brought together key stakeholders from Amsterdam and the Netherlands to secure their support in raising as much awareness of the event as possible. “We needed to do this jointly, so we got a group of representatives together including key NGO’s, ministries and affected patient communities together,” he explains. “Because we are a relatively small city and country the lines between people are short, and you can make a lot happen by getting the key people round a table.”

Peter Reiss

Against the background of AIDS 2018 the Dutch government committed to setting aside a rather large €10m fund for HIV prevention and making antiviral drugs more accessible for vulnerable groups particularly in regions where the disease is continuing to spread such as Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and West and North Africa.

Reiss knew getting the local communities and other stakeholders involved in the build-up to the conference would play a major part in raising its profile. Two and a half years prior to the event he helped set up a planning group formed of various sub-committees responsible for overseeing a plethora of complementary events, alongside those directly organised by AIDS 2018. “We kept an inventory of ideas and logged what people were working on so we could bring that information together and communicate it centrally so our delegates knew what was going on. It was also a great way to prepare the country for what was going to happen,”he explains.

Reflecting on the conference, Reiss says it was this collaborative approach that made it such a success: “I’d like to see the same model we used for AIDS 2018 applied to events for other life-threatening conditions, like diabetes for instance. But to make it work all parties, including the local community, need to get behind it.”

Patient-centered care

Professor Jan Hazelzet is the clinical lead of the Value Based Health Care (VBHC) programme – a healthcare model focused on patient-centered care – at Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC) in Rotterdam. “The topic of VBHC is becoming more and more popular and important from clinical, economical, and policy perspective,” he explains. “My research is focused on the added value of our care to patients and exploring what are the outcomes that really matter to patients in relation to the costs and energy needed to achieve this.”

Hazelzet is also one of Rotterdam’s official knowledge ambassadors, having previously helped to bring association events for the city. This network of ambassadors helps to promote Rotterdam as an attractive congress destination and was established by the Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau. It encompasses 87 academics, researchers and other experts connected to the Rotterdam region.

Jan Hazelzet

It was through his research into the VBHC sector that Hazelzet was able to persuade the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) to host its 2019 conference in the city from 2-3 May this year, bringing 1,250 delegates. “ICHOM is heavily involved in VBHC – it’s their reason for existence. Erasmus MC was their first strategic partner. Since the Netherlands are front runners in this field, it made sense to try host the ICHOM congress in the Netherlands, and in Rotterdam in particular,” he says.

With support from the Erasmus Congress Organization Center and
– the city’s convention bureau – Hazelzet secured the event without having to enter into a formal bid process. He and Rotterdam Partners then worked together to book the conference venue, source speakers and provide accommodation. “Everybody is still talking about the Rotterdam ICHOM conference and the far majority of the 1,250 participants were very happy and enthusiastic about the congress facilities,” says Hazelzet.

He is full of praise for his city as a host for association events: “We have excellent congress facilities and hotels centrally located, no-nonsense mentality, efficiency, a modern image and architecture, moderate prices, excellent international access and of course Rotterdam Partners with their pleasant efficacy.”

Contact – This piece was written by Boardroom editor Chantelle DietzThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.