Dubai Association Conference 2019: A Dialogue for Change

August 29, 2019

Dubai Association Conference 2019: A Dialogue for Change

During the Dubai Association Conference 2017, participating associations and speakers discussed an important topic for further consideration: how to gain new insights and knowledge on the impact generated by their association’s main activities. Now, two years later, the second edition of the conference, which will be held 9-10 December at the Dubai World Trade Centre,is looking to address these questions head-on, with a focus on the larger role that associations play in global society—offering the tools attendees need to drive forward real change that will significantly bolster “the societal impact of associations.”

In our July issue, we briefly introduced the two-day conference and the first of its four pillars, which were designed to help participants develop a cohesive, systematic approach to creating long-lasting impact in their industry.

According to conference program curator Geneviève Leclerc, CMP, president of Caravelle Strategies and co-founder and CEO of #Meet4impact, the Dubai Association Centre is offering education and inspiration through the conference, to give participants –  association executives from around the world, government representatives, industry leaders, as well as university faculties and students- a better understanding of the true value generated by associations (beyond direct and indirect economic gains). They will learn how to better communicate the positive outcomes of their activities for their communities; deliver a better return on public investments; and become more ingrained in the knowledge clusters and communities where they could directly serve as drivers of positive change.

Last December, the Dubai Association Centre hosted its first Association Leaders Getaway, a four-day event that brought together 25 participants from local, regional and international associations, in addition to Dubai Government representatives, university students and academics. The goal: curate themes and topics for the upcoming Dubai Association Conference.

“Following the inaugural Dubai Association Conference, the city has witnessed a marked increase in interest from association representatives, both regionally and globally,” explains Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, in reference to the Centre’s growth of 38 percent last yearThe Association Leaders Getaway was an effort to harness this interest and create a platform for association executives to network, share knowledge and best practice, in an engaging setting, beyond the confines of meeting rooms. The Getaway was an invaluable experience for all attendees, while being a crucial step forward in our city’s evolution.”

Pillars of success

Over the course of two days, Dubai Association Conference 2019 will be built around four pillars: Impact and Legacy — Key Concepts; Designing an Impact Management and Measurement Programme; Organizational Resilience and Foresighting; and The Art of Collaboration. Each session will explore at least one of four areas of impact: Community Well-being, Business and Opportunities, Knowledge and Research, or Creativity and Innovation.

In the post-conference proceedings following the Dubai Association Conference in 2017, the importance of collaboration in building communities was one of the key takeaways. These collaborations should involve as many stakeholders as possible, even going beyond local geographies,” explained Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Associations are among the biggest contributors of economic growth and business activity globally, and they are crucial for generating the flow of innovative and creative ideas that can add value to our society.”

Through Pillar 2, Designing an Impact Management and Measurement Programme, sessions will focus specifically on impact evaluation and indicators, answering the question, “How can impact be created by associations through their programs and activities for individuals; for the organization; and for the broader community?”

The pillar will combat the challenge the association sector has faced in terms of creating an impactful methodology for impact assessment. The current issue is that there aren’t any benchmarks to serve as reference points of clear framework that demonstrate the cause-to-effect relationships that generate change.Case studies will shed light on how some associations are currently creating their own successful framework. By looking at these impact projects, representatives of each organization will be given a voice to share how they’re actively engaged in strategies that aim to create more social value for their members and the community they serve. The city of Dubai will even act as living proof of how a smart platform can lead by example in demonstrating the role of technology as pivotal in a changing world.

“From discussing how to define indicators and metrics to measuring social impact, to exploring how we can use design thinking methodology for greater impact, the sessions in this track serve to convert theory into action and provide actionable tools to participants,” Leclerc explains. “A number of business cases will be presented over the different sessions, which can be approached from various angles, but will lead to the understanding of how the association sector can develop a cohesive and systematic approach to creating large-scale impact.”

Future foresight

Associations are facing stronger disruptions than ever, and, in order to succeed in a rapidly changing environment, they need to have clarity on their long-term strategies, building on their strengths and tackling their weaknesses. This is where Pillar 3—Organizational Resilience and Foresighting—comes into play. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Resilience is a broad concept, centred on the ability not only to resist and recover from adverse shocks, but also to ‘bounce back’ stronger than before and to learn from the experience. For organizations, this entails understanding the sources of risks and opportunities, and learning to cope with uncertainty. It also involves equipping people with the competences and support necessary to take best advantage of the changing circumstances in which they find themselves.”

In this regard, “boards need to allot dedicated time to scanning the horizon and contemplating how existing or emerging trends could impact the profession or industry and the organization,” says plenary speaker Gregg Talley. “This ‘foresight’ is critical to understanding and planning and is integral to their role as volunteer leaders. We will explore what this looks like and the value it brings to associations.”

Throughout interactive sessions, participants will be broken up into smaller teams to identify what the phrase “indicators of impact” means at various levels, and design a program that aligns with their association’s purpose and changing needs of their members. By working in cross-functional teams, attendees will have the chance to solve real-life problems through collaboration and innovation.

Hazel Jackson, CEO of Dubai-based Biz Group, will serve as moderator for a plenary session called “Survival of the Fittest,” helping associations prepare for change by learning how to recognizing threats and the signals of change and plan for both the expected and unexpected. By analysing the concept of “Foresighting,” participants will learn adaptability while understanding how to implement local strategies that are scalable globally and initiate sector-wide responses to external disruptors. This pillar will also hone in on how—and why—organizations should use technology like blockchain and big data to create greater impact in their work and service delivery. As Leclerc puts it:“Our aim is to demonstrate that organizational resilience and planning for change is a core strategy for achieving impact and a powerful response to the pressure that associations are facing on their quest for relevancy.”

For further information regarding registration, please contact Mr. Junjie Si via or visit

This article, whose extended version will be available in the September issue of Boardroom,  was written by Boardroom editor Lane NiesetThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

August 21, 2019

How to Decolonize a Conference

New Zealand gave The Australasian Animal Studies Association (AASA) Conference 2019, ‘Decolonizing animals’, an original spin when it hosted the event in Christchurch, July 1-4, 2019, as Annie Potts, Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies (NZCHAS), explains.

Why bring AASA to Christchurch?

The Australasian Animal Studies Association’s biennial conference had not yet been held in Aotearoa, even though New Zealand-based scholars are dedicated members.

The New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies (NZCHAS) at Canterbury University is the only research and teaching hub in this specialized field of study in the Southern Hemisphere; we also offer the only full programme in Human-Animal Studies courses (from 100 level right through to PhD level).

This was a really important opportunity to host local and international specialists in this interdisciplinary area, to show them what NZCHAS and UC offers in terms of teaching, postgraduate and academic research opportunities, and to showcase how Christchurch is the leading city for HAS in Australasia.

Can you explain about the theme and the design of the event.

The conference theme was Decolonizing Animals. It explored how colonial politics and histories have shaped, and continue to shape, the contemporary worlds of humans and other animals. We designed, planned and ran the conference according to bicultural kaupapa (principles) with a plant-based animal-centred twist. All delegates received information about tikanga Māori (customary practices) ahead of the conference so that correct protocols were maintained throughout the event. And our vegan kaupapa ensured that this was an animal-friendly event.

The conference committee comprised Māori, Pākehā and tauiwi scholars, and we were concerned to ensure that the event was a non-hierarchical, intersectional and inclusive event – only first and last names appeared on badges, no-one’s title or ‘status’ in academia was displayed.

“Indigenous perspectives on human-animal relations were prioritized — we invited Māori keynotes from different iwi in Aotearoa, as well as keynote speakers with Mohawk and Aztec heritage from the USA and Mexico respectively.

Although AASA conferences tend to be primarily academic conferences, one of our goals was to also decolonize the academy itself, so we also invited keynotes who were animal advocates in their communities, as well as experts in indigenous plant-based practices. For example, one keynote session focusing on Latin American perspectives featured a lead campaigner against bullfighting from Colombia (Terry Hurtado) followed by an expert on indigenous plant-based food from Mexico (Wvtko Tristan) who prepared a traditional Aztec plant-based meal as part of his presentation.

“We were especially keen to make students feel welcome and to this end one of our doctoral students arranged a postgraduate workshop on Critical Animal Studies and Intersectionality which was led by one of our keynote speakers from the USA.”

So there was a host of benefits for everybody…

“Canterbury University benefited from this event in some very direct ways. As a result of this opportunity to showcase what NZCHAS offers we have now been approached by graduate students from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Central America and Mexico about undertaking doctoral research in Human-Animal Studies at UC in the future.

Moreover, we have been invited to participate in international exchanges such as the Erasmus+ teaching programme (between European universities and UC) and host international scholars at our centre who have won prestigious European postdoctoral and other academic grants. Specialist networks also emerged during the conference comprised of scholars and animal advocates from across the globe.

Since this event I have also been contacted by a publishing business in Cambridge, UK, that wants to publish a collation of papers from the conference.

August 14, 2019

Healthy Legacies for the World’s Largest Cardio Congress

It’s hard not to conjure up clichés when it comes to organising a conference in Paris. The ‘City of Light’, as it is often referred to, is one of the international meeting capitals par excellence, drawing thousands of tourists and delegates from around the world every year. A glorious city renowned for its historical heritage, awe-inspiring architecture and café culture, among many more attractions, it is also where things can get big, as they will for the European Cardiology Congress which will be held in conjunction with the World Congress of Cardiology this summer.

The numbers speak for themselves.As Europe’s preeminent healthcare and life sciences region, the Paris area hosts a multitude of research institutes, international corporations and pharmaceutical laboratories. 1,000+ life sciences organizations, 300+pharmaceutical companies, 200+biotech companies, and360+ medical technology companies… the list can go on and on. Home to Europe’s largest hospital networkand Europe’s largest hospital, the Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris and its surrounding region are a world-class research centre, with 11,800 life sciences researchers andglobally renowned institutions like the Pasteur Institute, Curie Institute, the Gustave Roussy cancer research centre, or INSERM (the French institute of health and medical research).

In this context, it’s only fitting that Paris will play host for the world’s largest cardiology congress in August 2019 because it’s a major player in the field, with a strong network of scientists, partners and collaborators, and literally dozens of research centres across the Ile-de-France region. Jointly organized by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the World Heart Federation (WHF), it willpromote excellence in cardiology research in Europe and the world at large and facilitate the exchange of knowledge – in this regard, Paris seems to be the ideal place to do so.

It is definitely a big responsibility to organise the world’s largest cardiology congress!” says Isabel Bardinet CEO of the ESC. “Clinicians and scientists will come from all over the world to learn about the latest science, innovation and research in cardiology. We expect more than 30,000 delegates to attend more than 500 sessions during the five-day conference – and there is a lot at stake, as the main spotlight for this year’s conference will be on Global Cardiovascular Health.”

The ESC decided on this theme because cardiovascular health is becoming a major concern not only in Europe but across the world. Ischaemic heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers and have remained the leading causes of death globally in the last fifteen years. Reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease is a common goal for the ESC and the WHF, so it seemed like the perfect topic for this joint congress. “During ESC Congress, we will also offer several sessions and specific activities like its Meet & Share Forum bringing together experts from many international foundations and societies to identify specific challenges and discuss solutions,”adds Bardinet.

Healthy lifestyles

Paris has been extremely active in promoting healthier lifestyles. In 2015 the city launched an ambitious Health Plan that includes promoting physical activity and reducing air pollution, two prevention topics strongly connected to cardiovascular health. “At the Congress, we will launch a new project called Heart Healthy cities,” says Bardinet “It aims to provide elected officials with scientific evidence on the link between the urban environment and cardiovascular diseases and support the promotion of measures to reduce the social and economic impact of cardiovascular diseases. The City of Paris has welcomed this initiative, that we hope to continue in other cities where ESC Congress will be held in the future.”

The Project has clearly been designed as a legacy programme. The Congress is set to have an impact not only on the people attending the event but also the community at large.Heart Healthy Cities will support the existing policies put in place by Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo and help promote healthy lifestyles among citizens,” comments Isabel Bardinet. “The ESC in collaboration with the Société Française de Cardiologie is also organising a public event over the weekend to give Parisians practical advice on how to look after their hearts.”

It is actually not the first time the ESC has chosen Paris to host the event,but it will be the first ESC Congress to be held at the Paris Convention Centre – Europe’s largest conference venue”says Bardinet. “And we are very excited to welcome our delegates in this newly designed venue in the heart of the capital.”

As a conference destination, Paris offers many advantages. It is served by extensive public transport links and Paris airports can be reached in less than three hours from every European capital, which is a great asset for delegates. “You can imagine that bringing 30,000 people into a city implies a huge logistical challenge,” concludes Bardinet. “Our needs include ensuring hotel capacity for our delegates, collaboration from transportation authorities to help visitors move around town, security issues, working with airlines and much more. We ‘implant’ a mid-sized town for five days into a major city with all that this may mean, and Paris, all across its suppliers’ chain, starting with the Convention Bureau, has been incredibly supportive.”

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher. 


August 5, 2019

A Story of Food Donation Legacies

Edmonton Convention Centre (formerly the Shaw Conference Centre) in Alberta, Canada, is one of North America’s top performing convention centres. It hosts over half a million guests annually and generates more than $30 million in economic impact. The culinary offering is a big part of the venue’s appeal, and between Edmonton’s two convention centres (Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton EXPO Centre), in excess of one million meals are produced every year.

As far back as 2008, ECC was the first local organisation to join the “Second Helping” program, working with Edmonton Food Bank and Alberta Health Services to collect surplus prepared but unplated food, to freeze it and to distribute it to individuals struggling with food security and poverty. In 2018 alone, Edmonton Convention Centre donated more than 4,000 pounds of food which equates to around 5,500 meals.

Read all about it in an exclusive story of our partners at The Iceberg.

July 25, 2019

A Podcast with Lyn Lewis-Smith

As BESydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith leads a global team of professionals in Europe, North America and Asia, all securing international meetings of strategic, economic and social benefit for the New South Wales capital. She sees the longer term outcomes of holding such events as central to Sydney’s development, making her a major voice in meetings industry advocacy.

In this first “Below the Waterline” podcast of our partners at The Iceberg, James Latham talks to Lyn about her advocacy, storytelling and political engagement. They discuss the true value of business events in diversifying economies and building knowledge economies, and the way cities themselves can be grown around the knowledge, talent and capital attracted by meetings.

July 12, 2019

Define Your Intention First

In this third installment of our #MEET4IMPACT series, founder Geneviève Leclerc explores the first – out of four –  key step needed to achieve a successful impact practice. As a purpose organisation, your association is likely constantly seeking to “make a difference” and create broader value for all of your stakeholders. But where to start? And who can we look up to for an example?

As not-for-profit organisations, associations already generate impact through their activities. But most do not properly understand the impact that they do have, and they are challenged in scaling their impact because they don’t know how it is truly generated and how it could be amplified.

There are dozens of approaches to developing a robust impact practice for not-for-profits, but at #Meet4Impact we have designed our own pathway based on commonalities drawn from various approaches. Our key insight is that significant impact can only occur once an organisation has: a)truly committed to the process by involving the highest level of governance and assigned dedicated resources; b) developed a clear and articulated vision of the impact it seeks to generate; and c) integrated impact as a core element of its management strategy and its performance assessment.


Understand the need

So you’re considering a legacy project, and want to onboard your team in this initiative. The first thing you should ask when defining your project is: What is the scope of the issue you seek to respond to? Who are the people affected by the issue? How can you help?

An easy mistake to make when considering a legacy project is to start with an organisation-centric goal, rather than one centered on the needs of our target audience. This occurs when the organisation attempts to define a project in a silo, and neglects to involve the community it seeks to serve in setting the goal. The intended impacts, otherwise understood as the change you want to generate, should seek to respond to an issue or a need and should be designed collaboratively with the community who will benefit.

Set objectives

You will want to state a broad intention in the beginning of your project as you’re seeking to understand the issue you want to address. This may be something like: “We want to increase accessible infrastructure in the city hosting our conference” or “We want to support local efforts by advocating for more funding and legislative change”. While these statements are indicative of your purpose, results cannot be measured and reported on as they are too vague. Through the DEFINE phase, the broad impact goal first should be articulated as an “impact statement” that would contain the following: What will change (as a result of your action) + in what direction (increase? decrease?) + who will benefit + where will this occur.

Once this has been defined, the initial intention has to be converted into more manageable objectives and targets that can be measured and that your organisation can claim responsibility for. These should be SMART and specify what noticeable change will occur as a result of your actions. Converting broader impact goals into measurable impact objectives is crucial in order to articulate a clear vision of your intention and is a necessary step to achieving results that you can report on.

Identify your stakeholders

A stakeholder mapping exercise is an important process in impact practice in order to identify who is being affected by or is interested in the activities of your organisation. At the core of your project are your stakeholders who will be benefit directly from the change you want to generate – for a conference legacy project, they would likely be from the local community; there are those who are interested but not involved directly, perhaps your members and funders; those who will support your project directly and help monitor your results, such as your local committee, the Convention Bureau, and a university research group, etc.

Mapping them will permit you to understand how different target audiences will benefit differently from the impact generated; manage their expectations; as well as align their contributions with your objectives. It is critical to find allies in your impact project, namely the entities who will carry out the activities and monitor the results.You have to find the connecting points between these stakeholders’ mission and activities and your project, and then motivate them to participate with a clear value proposition for them.

Build a logic model

Clarifying the issue at hand, your impact objectives and your target audiences will in turn enable you to start planning how you are going to make it happen. To scope and implement the projects we support, we build logic models based on the Theory of Change (ToC), a tool used around the world to model how an activity and its short-term results can lead to a longer-term, more sustainable impact. It can be seen as a series of causal links that support the realisation of the project and the desired impact in the end.

Through building your own logic model, you will be able to document the changes made and the process that allowed this change to take place, and therefore demonstrate and reinforce your responsibility and accountability for this impact. We will delve deeper into how to use the ToC for managing your impact projects in the next issue.


NewCities is a global nonprofit committed to shaping a better urban future. They launched a new initiative this year called “WellBeing City Awards” for which they designated four award categories in order to reflect the many facets of the notion of urban wellbeing: Public Health, Sustainable Environment, Community, and Economy & Opportunity. They convened their first WellBeing Cities Forumin Montreal on June 19-20, during which they recognised the award winners.

Need help in developing your legacy project?

Meet4impact isa global not-for-profit aiming to build a community passionate about social impact in our sector, helping organisations increase their capacity to generate impact through their activities, deliver more value on their mission and implement positive change.

Keep looking out for updates on social media following the #Meet4impact/ #Associations4impact/ #Cities4Impact keywords; check out our website; or write to us at to tell us your story.

By featuring “wellbeing” as a core issue and holding this Forum, the intention of NewCities is to increase citizens’ wellbeing globally by positioning this as an official strategic objective through the design and implementation of policies by key urban entities. To do so, NewCities reached globally by involving the local urban ecosystems of the participating cities as well as by mobilising a vast array of stakeholders of their own. They sought partners from the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors as well as from the media. They outlined their stakehoders’ roles according to their interests and strengths and clearly laid out what value each brought to the initiatives.

#Meet4Impact is working with NewCities to better understand the impact the Forum can have on global urban policy-making, how they can convert their stated intention into tangible results, and to communicate this value more effectively.

One area of desired impact was increased inclusivity. NewCities developed a list of criteria for candidates which included non-traditional indicators such as the use of innovative methods in policy making, and they created categories encouraging applications from lesser-known cities. By breaking down the concept of “wellbeing” into focus areas, it allowed them to recognise highly deserving cities around the world and bring to light amazing urban initiatives that we might not have otherwise heard of.

During the Forum, they showcased best practices through presentations from their laureates and panelists and catalysed meaningful connections to empower the global urban ecosystem. International participants were invited to interact directly with local social innovators through on-site visits of three Montreal innovative projects. They also partnered with BIXI, a bike-sharing non-profit based in Montreal advocating for sustainable mobility, whose bikes participants used while visiting with the local organisations. NewCities has designed these interactions with the community to highlight the benefits of placing citizens’ wellbeing as a keystone for urban development initiatives.

One of the tools that NewCities has chosen in order to assess the impact of their efforts is to administer a participant self-assessment survey at three different times post-event, to monitor the outcomes over time. The evaluation survey primarily focuses on empowerment and knowledge transfer and seeks to understand whether this has allowed participants to initially increase their capacity, and subsequently implement practices shared during the Forum. They will also study their impact on participating cities with a list of preselected indicators, such as the expected increase of municipal policies and initiatives that specifically promote wellbeing.

NewCities will be sharing success stories through their awardees, communicating best practices and ways to scale those initiatives. Its newly-implemented impact practice will empower NewCities to communicate more clearly to its stakeholdersthe value created by their project and learn from the findings.

July 5, 2019

Steps for Business Events Success

The Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) spent three years analysing the legacy benefits of business events, looking at nine case studies from four continents. Their finding: a disconnect between the way governments around the globe value the business events sector and the true value of conferences, congresses and international trade shows.

According to study authors and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) associate professors Carmel Foley and Deborah Edwards: “Business events have long been judged under the narrow assumption that their legacies are best measured in terms of hotel rooms and cups of coffee. Governments, in particular, have largely focused on what is commonly known as the tourism contribution, which ignores the significant scientific and research value on offer – value that directly drives economic development, creativity and innovation.”

The multi-year study, commissioned by JMIC and carried out by UTS, titled “Business Events Legacies: JMIC Case Study Project Report,” showed that this value can actually have a multiplying effect. According to the authors, the global business event industry supports broader agendas, such as building knowledge economies, encouraging industry innovation, and enhancing community well-being.“Until now, there hasn’t been a coordinated, global effort to measure and document these benefits in ways that could be used to advocate to governments and communities about the important role played by business events,” the authors said. “Ultimately, these findings confirm that the governments need to rethink the way they measure and value the business events sector.”

Some of the barriers to achieving lasting legacies? Lack of long-terms objectives or failure to look beyond organizational goals. A way to overcome these obstacles is by involving stakeholders like governments and businesses in setting legacy objectives based on agreed industry problems, issues and opportunities. By looking at a case study of the first-ever Swiss Fintech Corner setup at Sibos 2016 in Geneva, for example, participating firms formed links with large banks as a way to strengthen collaboration and long-terms goals. By inviting start-up attendees to be part of a big industry event, they also helped stimulate a more diverse discussion that led to positive outcomes that will in turn inspire future activities.

After compiling the results of the case studies garnered from scientific and industry conferences and congresses, researchers crafted six “golden rules” for business events that will help boost long-term benefits for organizations and their communities, as well as improve the way destinations and governments engage with the business events industry. The steps are simple, but powerful: Set legacy objectives and then plan for their execution. Plan for the evolution of legacy outcomes and then evaluate outcomes using the appropriate method of data collection and analysis or working with a research specialist. And, lastly, disseminate legacy outcomes widely so stakeholders can understand the full value of the event.

“What we hope and believe we have accomplished is to identify some real and measurable values and the practices that are needed to properly document them in the future,” said JMIC president Kai Hattendorf. “As the credibility of such measures increases, so will the prospects that governments will position them properly as key elements in their economic and community development strategies.”  

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

July 1, 2019

Destinations & Associations:
A Different Perspective About Legacy?

MeetDenmark has published a study suggesting that association and destination perspectives on outreach and legacy have key differences. Awareness about each other’s goals can be fundamental in finding synergies and creating greater meeting impacts and legacies together, while Both associations and destinations can benefit by looking at the world from each other’s perspective.

Perceptions of association benefits

The study showed that associations tend to think about strengthening the association brand, building membership and addressing organisational issues when asked about benefits and meeting legacies for the association. Destinations on the other hand focus more on the host community’s ability to deliver new insights, innovation and technologies to the convention and its attendees, when asked about the benefits they are seeking to deliver to associations.

According to Rasmus Jerver, Chairman of MeetDenmark and CEO of VisitAalborg the legacy research is providing Danish bureaus with new insights in at least two important ways: “First, the results are telling us what matters most to meeting organisers, what they are seeking to accomplish with their meetings. Second, it’s telling us that if we want to achieve a broader collaboration on legacies it’s not just about being creative. It means we must connect the dots on what is possible and how it’s going to help associations advance their mission.”

But the study also shows that there is common ground to build on. The perceptions align around association benefits like knowledge exchange, building audience and networks, influencing public policy and generally accomplishing the association’s mission.

Perceptions of destination benefits

When asked about benefits and meeting legacies for destinations, the associations tend to think in terms of promotional value, the destination’s ability to showcase its expertise and to enhance its regional standing. Destinations on the other hand often focus on immediate results like tourism ROI and CSR activities. As for the longer-term legacies, the destinations want to develop local industry clusters and improved practices and outcomes – for instance local public health improvements that could result from hosting a medical meeting. 

The common ground regarding benefits and legacies of meetings for the destinations revolves around strengthening local knowledge, policy improvements and public awareness as well as place branding and talent attraction.

The study was commissioned by MeetDenmark and conducted by Gaining­ Edge. According to Gary Grimmer, GainingEdge CEO, the results show that associations and destinations could both benefit by looking at the world from each other’s perspective: “The association respondents to our interviews were thinking global legacies more than they were thinking local ones, but if your mission is to improve certain types of health outcomes then your meeting destination could become your laboratory.The associations have an opportunity to gauge over time how their meetings leave legacies in a given community. It is a chance to better engage, to see what works and to transfer that knowledge over to future meetings and host communities. Every destination and convention means another case study and though they entail local ramifications, they will ultimately lead to global applications.” 


June 21, 2019

“Madiba’s Children”: Bridging the Generation Divide

During Meetings Africa 2019 held recently in Johannesburg, a noticeable change of tone was detected in the young doctors and scientists attending the Association Day presented by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). It was a clear message to established medical association leaders that “Madiba’s Children” have arrived with legacy in their hearts.

One such voice is Dr. Makhotso Rose Lekhooa of the South African Society of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, Lecturer in Pharmacology at Northwest University, and Liaison Officer of the Pharmacology for Africa Initiative. In a video interview of our partners at The Iceberg, she shared her views on inter-generational knowledge transfer at international association meetings, like the World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology.

Watch it here.

June 17, 2019

Tunnels with an Impact

It’s rare to return to the same country for a world congress, but in Italy, three times can be a charm—especially when you’re combining the archeologically rich city of Naples with a community of worldwide experts on design and construction of underground works, such as the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES) and the Italian Tunnelling Association (SIG).

For the World Tunnel Congress 2019 (WTC 2019), which took place in May, Naples proved to be the perfect “cultural mixture” of archaeology, architecture and art—themes that were highlighted in both the programme and congress title: Tunnels and Underground Cities: Engineering and Innovation meet Archaeology, Architecture and Art.

Over 2,700 attendees from more than 70 countries gathered to hear more than 180 oral presentations at the Mostra D’Oltremare Congress Center, where exhibitor numbers were up by more than 50 percent.Not only was attendance at a record high—up by 80 percent—engagement on social media was strong, with 280,000 post views.According to Rosangela Quieti, managing director, Congress Division at AIM Group International, “The rich and personalised programme, along with the appeal of the destination, are the main reasons for the boost in attendance.”

Exploring tunnels 40 metres below the historic centre of Naples and sitting at a seaside archaeological site for lunch were just the start to the WTC 2019. In addition to Tripe A sessions on Archaeology, Architecture and Art, delegates had the opportunity to head off-site and see local tunnel projects like the Greek-Roman tunnelling system, the recently restored Renaissance aqueduct system in the Galleria Borbonica, and the city’s award-winning Metro station. Attendees were also able to visit a few other significant Italian projects like Rome’s Metro construction site, the high-speed railway Naples-Bari, and the Brenner Base Tunnel, the world’s longest underground railway tunnel.

The destination played a centrepiece role in the congress, and each locale was chosen to highlight a specific aspect of the city’s culture in a way that relates to the congress’s overall theme. Lunches were held at the archaeological Pausilypon site of Seiano Caves, and attendees hopped on a historical train ride to reach the Gala Dinner, which was hosted at the Pietrarsa Railway Museum. Millennials were also given a great networking opportunity at a cocktail party dedicated to under-35 members, held on board a historic galleon at the Mergellina harbour.

Another notable new addition to the event was WTC’s participation in a Food for Good programme, whichrecovered and donated excess food to local charity organisations like family homes, soup kitchens and refugee centres. WTC2019 also chose to support the not-for-profit Arché Foundation as a charity partner, which will have a long-term impact on the local community. The main project will include building a community house with 14 flats designed for mothers in need and their children.“In line with the choice to establish a strong link with the destination, for this edition, for the first time, it was decided to leave a legacy on the destination and support local causes,” Quieti says. Like tunnels help to overcome difficult roads, Arché’s projects help people to overcome difficult times and find an easier path for their lives.”

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