Global Association Hubs Newsletter – October 2021

(Re)Open(ing) for Association Business!

At long last, there’s a mood of cautious optimism in the air!  I recently spoke with representatives from our partner cities Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC, sharing updates on their local COVID19 situation and their plans for future (live face-to-face!) activities with our international association friends.

In Brussels, any size of association conference is now able to meet, without mask or social distancing, but with proof of PCR-negative test or full vaccination or recent infection and full recovery. And VisitBrussels has just announced the first edition of the Brussels International Association Forum, taking place face-to-face on December 6 and 7!

Dubai feels “as busy as normal”, with no limits on size of conference or trade show, but at least 4m2 space per delegate required, and strict protocols including vaccination and PCR tests. EXPO 2020 is pulling in large numbers of international visitors, and we’re looking forward to next year’s Dubai Association Centre’s conference on the theme “Resilience & Reinvention” (details to follow in our November newsletter – for now please note the date: 21 February 2022).

Singapore’s vaccination rate is amongst the highest in the world, allowing the island nation to further open up events, now up to a maximum attendance of 1,000 delegates, featuring rigorous safety protocols with careful monitoring of their effectiveness.  The latest big news is that Safe Travel Corridors have just been extended from 2 to 11 countries, including USA, UK, major EU countries and Korea.

In Washington DC, more and more large-scale, masked-when-inside, national association events are taking place, but the big recent news was the announcement that European travel to the USA would open up early in November for fully vaccinated travellers.  That will allow large international delegations for the first time since March 2020, something eagerly awaited both in DC and outside the US! 

All four cities will be represented at IMEX America in Las Vegas at the beginning of November, and I’ll be attending personally: we’d love to reconnect with our association friends and start planning for future partnership activities and events, so please let us know if you’ll be attending!  

Martin Sirk
Global Association Hubs International Advisor

Boardroom & ASAE present: How associations can thrive in the new global paradigm

Look no further for strategic discussion topics for your next Board meeting!

For those who missed this experimental Global Association Hubs article published last month by our media partner, Boardroom magazine, it’s an attempt to capture every key point from a wide-ranging debate on association reinvention for the post-pandemic era!  Instead of listening all the way through a 60-minute recording, you can speed-read our bullet points in just five minutes!

New ways to think about: risk, revenue sources, community, events, governance, “global” and much, much more!  With thanks to my co-conspirator Tommy Goodwin from Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance for the original ASAE event design and co-authorship of the article.

EXPO 2020 Dubai kicks off six months of celebrations and collaborations

The largest event to ever take place in the city commenced on 1 October and will continue through to 31 March 2022 under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’

Expo 2020 Dubai is underway, with a star-studded opening ceremony kicking off six months of unique experiences and entertainment, as well as a rich programme of business events. With 191 participating nations, the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region is expected to welcome millions of visitors from around the world.  

The new Dubai Exhibition Centre within the EXPO 2020 site is at the heart of the business events programme, and will be a key venue for many years into the future, hosting trade shows, association congresses and conferences, and a wide range of other meetings and groups, .

Taking place under the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 Dubai’s sub-themes are Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, with each of them having a dedicated pavilion to inspire visitors to preserve and protect our planet, explore new frontiers and build a better future for everyone.

CMW presents: Destination DC – the connected capital

Where economics, culture and academics unite: this new Conference & Meeting World supplement showcases Washington DC’s special attributes as a host destination for international association meetings, and also illustrates why it is the favoured choice as an international or regional HQ.  For advocacy and embassies, advanced industrial and cutting-edge intellectual sectors and think tanks, there is only one North American choice for a comprehensive association-friendly eco-system.

Brussels International Association Forum – BIAF

The organisers of the recent successful Geneva International Association Forum have teamed up with Visit Brussels to organise the first BIAF on 6 and 7 December 2021, an opportunity for senior executives from around Europe to share insights and experiences with their peers in Europe’s association capital, whilst listening to stimulating keynotes and technical experts on a range of the hottest association topics.

BIAF is designed to complement VisitBrussels’ longstanding European Association Summit, which takes place each Spring.  BIAF will take place annually each autumn.

Click on the article title to access more details about the programme and how to register.

Partnership is the name of the game in Singapore!

Singapore regularly takes the lead in coordinating and facilitating Asia-wide partnerships and collaborations, and is always interested in discussing such partnership initiatives with international associations.  

Two recent examples:
An initiative to bring back business events throughout the region, involving AEO (Association of Event Organisers), SISO (Society of Independent Show Organisers), UFI (the Global Association of the Events Industry) and SACEOS (Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers), with the active involvement of STB and Alvin Tan, the Minister of State in Singapore’s Ministry for Trade and Industry.

Another particularly relevant initiative for international trade or manufacturing associations is the recently announced Southeast Asia Manufacturing Alliance, coordinated and led by Singapore’s Economic Development Board and Enterprise Singapore, linking Singapore’s strengths as an innovation and communication hub with Indonesia’s, Malaysia’s and Vietnam’s strengths as manufacturing locations, with the aim of dramatically improving region-wide logistics efficiency.

Latest edition of Boardroom magazine now available for download!

Global Association Hubs’ media partner has a topical theme and a great range of articles in the most recent digital edition of their magazine:  Association membership in times of disruption! 

Association Laboratory Inc new workshops available:

The highlight this autumn is an online event revealing the results of Association Lab’s Diversity/Equality/Inclusion (DEI) Benchmarking Study, which will take place on 10 November at 1100-1230 EST.  Registration is free of charge for any international association executives.

Newsletter readers can also sign up for modules in the Fall Webinar Series, on such subjects as Member Acquisition; Building a Consistent Member Experience, and Keeping your Board Strategically-focused.

IMEX America, Las Vegas

9-11 November 2021

We look forward to seeing our US and international association friends at IMEX America in Las Vegas this November!  Find us on the following stands:
VisitBrussels – E2113
Dubai Business Events – E1403
Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau – E2103
Destination DC – D3816

Global Association Hubs International Advisor Martin Sirk will be on the show floor and in the meeting rooms from Smart Monday until the end of Thursday: contact him via                    

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