Dubai Association Conference 2024: Value Amplified through Associations

7th March 2024

The curtains have drawn on the Dubai Association Conference 2024 (DAC 2024), leaving behind a trail of inspiration, collaboration, and transformative ideas. Held on February 26-28, 2024, the 4th edition of the event was an important gathering for international and local associations. Hosted at the Sheikh Maktoum Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre, this conference built upon the success of previous editions, which explored the societal impact of associations. Now, in 2024, the focus shifted from theory to practicality, allowing participants to assess and measure the impact and value of associations firsthand.

With the help of an actual set of scales on stage and under the theme “Value Amplified: Associations Empowering Change,” attendees were called to vote on how association business events (and association activities at large) may create or destroy value. Examining six dimensions (intellectual, social, financial, governance, cultural and natural), we tipped the scales heavily on the plus side: despite the negative (often environmental) impacts, events offer knowledge transfer and innovative ideas, cultural awareness and collaboration opportunities.

Over a day and a half of educational sessions with experts giving presentations on the main stage or in smaller learning labs, discussing in panels, and walking among the attendees to engage with them close up, DAC2024 gave a chance to everyone to share challenges and successes and learn from peers. Covering a variety of topics, from societal impact and financial wellness to artificial intelligence and nurturing human resources for success, the conference left the approximately 200 delegates with more understanding on what associations can offer on a local as well as a global level.

In one of the plenary panel discussions, Boardroom’s own Deputy Director, Vicky Koffa, shared insights on how associations create positive societal and economic impact. Communicating this effectively (either through conferences, policy making or public initiatives) helps members realize the value created by their association and increases membership interest and engagement.

Participants were armed with tangible takeaways:

  • Beyond strategies and metrics lies the essence of success — human relationships. Trust, empathy, and genuine connections form the bedrock of thriving associations. When we invest in our colleagues, we unlock solutions to challenges that seemed impossible.
  • From streamlining administrative tasks to enhancing member experiences, AI is here to stay. Associations can harness its power to make informed decisions, personalize interactions, and drive efficiency.
  • Whether it’s advocating for social justice, promoting sustainable practices, or driving innovation, associations find strength in pooling resources, sharing knowledge, and fostering partnerships.

“Only few leave an impact, and this year’s DAC was one of them. The well-thought agenda, topics, speakers, moderators, workshops, organizers, venue and different activities, scored high. I have taken many action items that will help our association mission: investing in AI tools to empower our association, increase the younger generation involvement, exploring the different membership options and categories, the pros and cons of hybrid events, and more. I’m looking forward to next year’s conference and would love to see more local experience as well,” said Zehra’ Al-Hilali, President of the Arab Resuscitation Council (ArRC).

During his closing remarks, Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at Dubai Chambers – one of the organizations that founded DAC – shared his vision for the key role associations will play in achieving Dubai’s ambitions: “With the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) as our roadmap, Dubai Chambers is working to create a sustainable future for all economic sectors. We focus on international relations, and associations are at the center of that. By connecting the world to the region, association events can unlock untapped value, which is key to accelerating our goals. The outcome of this year’s conference has proved just that.”

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