Fostering Transformation in Bogotá

 As the political and economic capital of Colombia, Bogotá is one of the most dynamic cities in Latin America with 7.6 million inhabitants. The commitment to lead through transformative initiatives that call for the integration of society is mandatory, even more so now that Colombia is at a crossroads in its history as the nation is leaving behind more than 50 years of internal conflict. Attracting international events that have an impact is part of an overall strategy of change.

Words Rémi Dévé, with the Bogotá Convention Bureau

Working from the heart will always make a difference. If one is able to find a connection between people’s deepest desires to be part of something bigger, then transformation will take place. Events, no matter the sector, are always created with a larger purpose.

Associations can play an active role in this reconciliation process, consequently their events have that power of transformation and can align both members’ and delegates’ needs and those of destinations wanting to grow. Their events can activate a citizen movement, motivate people to create a link, involve the vulnerable population affected by conflicts, connect people to a larger purpose, and make them a reality in the short term.

In this context, Bogotá, led by its Convention Bureau, bid in 2015 and 2016, for two events that accomplished what the city and the country needed. The first event, One Young World Summit (OYW), engaged young people as key actors in different movements around the world, in the hope for them to participate in a historical moment of Colombia and have them “help create the country’s future”.  The purpose of the second event, the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, was to raise the level of dialogue around peace and contribute to the peace building process of the country.

Both events, which were held in Bogotá in 2017, help to:

Activate citizen movements: citizens were involved not only during the bid process but also during the event. For example, OYW and the city were hot topics on social media for the whole duration of the event and more than 47,000 persons from 7 countries were engaged in the Nobel Peace Prize Summit through livestreaming.

Involve the vulnerable population affected by conflicts: both events had an active participation of people affected by the conflict, including speakers who shared their story, but also attendees and volunteers.

Create a legacy: At the moment, OYW is measuring the impact of the projects regarding their contribution to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. On the other hand, the Permanent Secretariat of the Nobel Peace Summit, together with the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, is continuing the conversation with different foundations and the civil society.

Increase the level of dialogue around the meetings industry in the country: now, actors that are not directly related to the meetings industry, are aware of the power of events and how they can be used to achieve different types of purposes.

Create a strong network: at a destination level, creating ties between different actors (not only within the meetings industry) makes city bids more competitive thanks to the added value that all the actors can bring to the table.

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