July Newsletter

Summertime*, and the livin’ is…..easy?!?!

Traditionally this is a time for recharging and relaxing, catching up with old friends and discovering some good books, enjoying a glass of chilled wine and a much-needed slower pace of life.  A time to take your mind off the pressures, daily annoyances and strategic challenges of work and the office.

This year feels decidedly different.  Wildfire smoke clouds the backdrop to some of Europe’s most idyllic beach restaurants as heat and drought records fall like nine-pins; airlines and airports are frantically trimming schedules to match their yo-yo-ing operational capacity; the Pandemic may not be as deadly but it refuses to cease being massively disruptive (despite our policymakers’ best efforts to declare it “over”); the Ukrainian war festers ominously on, with second- and third-degree impacts still to emerge; the dreaded R-word, recession, is featuring more and more in economists’ projections and inflation seems determined to transport us back to the 1970s; political crises and social unrest are ubiquitous. The overall sense of future danger and uncertainty has never been more pronounced.  

We NEED our Summer downtime this year, not for routine social relaxation, but because the coming year or two are going to be some of the most challenging we will face in our lifetimes, and that requires some deep thinking and serious mental preparation.  International associations are going to be vitally important – as guardians of scientific objectivity, as cultural conduits, as champions of diversity, equity and inclusion, as support systems for members, and as drivers of societal progress and solution-engines for some really tough problems.  It’s not going to be enough to simply serve the professional and business needs and wishes of individual members!

As always, the Global Association Hubs partner cities – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC – stand ready to work with all our association friends on these tough strategic challenges.  Associations are a critical component in our destinations’ DNA, and we know that a great association ecosystem drives inward investment, attracts young talent, supports start-ups, and makes for a more vibrant, intellectually stimulating, and more liveable city.  We’re all also REALLY great destinations for a vacation or short break!  Feel free to ask us about this as well as why we’d like to support your strategic development goals and International events. 

*Yes, I’m sorry, association friends in the Southern Hemisphere: I know you’re currently in the depths of winter!  That’s one of the challenges of writing for a global audience (or managing any global association, for that matter!): we struggle to overcome Northern Hemisphere perceptual bias!

Martin Sirk
Global Association Hubs International Advisor

Summer vacation reading, anyone?!

Our media partner Boardroom is on their well-earned Summer break (they’ll be back in August), but their archives hold a treasure trove of Global Association Hub articles, featuring unexpected perspectives, deep insights, alternative viewpoints, and the voices of some of the smartest association leaders on the planet.  Here are a few to keep you company on the beach:

We’re going to need a bigger dictionary!
How language shapes our thinking, and how associations can use this insight to innovate and adapt.

Agility or sociality?
How associations can unleash their most under-valued super power, and why we should stop trying to copy corporate business models.

Everybody’s an expert on everything
Why associations need to step up and become worldwide guarantors of facts, truth, and scientific understanding.  It’s definitely not something we can rely on governments to take responsibility for!

Failure to continue thinking globally is a recipe for failure
Now more than ever, associations need to fight against nationalism and tribal thinking, and champion why global interactions and understanding are so vital for societal progress.

Just say stop!
Perfect for sitting at the beach – ideas to help you work out what to stop doing once you get back to the office.  Featuring the collective wisdom of two dozen international association leaders!

Brussels celebrates and rewards local association champions

Brussels Events Ambassadors Evening

It wasn’t a night of guitar riffs, but of melodies introducing the new 14 congress and conference organisers appointed as Brussels ambassadors during a dinner orchestrated at Forest National, an event and music hall that is also celebrating its 50th anniversary.  The fifth annual Brussels Events Ambassadors Evening honoured the many events that were organised successfully in the challenging years of 2020–2021, including subjects as varied as fashion, medicine, and hydrology, among others.

Watch the video to see what a night it was. OR Read the press release here.

10 winners for 10 MICE events in Brussels

A campaign to emphasise Brussels’ potential for meetings was launched at the perfect time, with the arrival of spring and the relaxation of event regulations. The contest, which ran from the middle of March to the middle of April this year, was aimed at over 300 organisations, each of which intended to host a business-to-business event in Brussels in 2022.

With a choice and availability of a food option for a maximum of 100 persons, the competition organised by for B2B event organisers in the MICE sector had the purpose to partially cover the catering costs for their initiative. 

Read about the 10 winners here!

Dubai Expo 2020 legacy takes shape

From the moment Dubai set out to bid for the World Expo in 2020 and through to its eventual hosting through six months across 2021 and 2022, legacy was always emphasised as a priority. And now, with the successful event in the rear mirror, that legacy is beginning to take shape with the plans being made for what will be known as Expo City Dubai.

Opening on 1 October, the district, which aims to be a destination for business and innovation, will feature a number of Expo 2020 Dubai’s flagship pavilions and technology offerings.  80% of the Expo’s infrastructure and buildings will be retained, with 123 LEED-certified buildings, creating an inspiring showcase for sustainable practices.

Part of the wider Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, the district will be home to the world-class Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC), which will play host to global and regional conferences, events and activations, adding to Dubai’s already extensive range of outstanding meeting venues. 

Further burnishing the site’s legacy will be its hosting of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties – or COP 28 – in November 2023. It is expected to welcome over 45,000 participants daily, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts and representatives of civil society organisations.

Washington, DC: the Connected Capital

DC’s intellectual strengths and other association-related resources are expertly summarised in this latest publication by M&IT magazine.  DC offers sustainable venues and transport, intellectual centers of expertise and influence in every field from healthcare to finance, from high-tech to culture.  Read more by clicking here or on the title of this article.

Singapore hosts Global Health Security Conference 2022, consolidates #1 ICCA ranking in Asia-Pac

Global Health Security Conference 2022
Singapore played host to the 2nd Global Health Security Conference on 28 June to 1 July, where 850 international health security leaders and experts from about 80 countries discussed critical issues ranging from global preparedness for epidemics and pandemics, climate change, to the importance of globalisation in elevating equity across nations over 4 days.

Organised by the Global Health Security Network, some key highlights were: 

  • Multilateralism and the Future of Global Health Cooperation, with an in depth discussion of the World Bank’s establishment of the Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF). 
  • Gender Equality and Women’s role in achieving global Health Security.
  • Collective signing of the Singapore Statement (, that underlines the commitment to develop and ensure global equity of knowledge and resources

    For more details on speakers and outcomes, please click here.

Singapore #1 in Asia-Pac in 2021 ICCA ranking

Singapore is ranked in the Top 4 International Meeting Cities in the 2021 ICCA Rankings, and maintains its position as the top Asia-Pacific Meeting City. 

The International Congress and Convention (ICCA) has adapted its ICCA ranking metrics to be in line with the evolving meetings industry. Countries were traditionally ranked based on the number of meetings held on-site, but are now measured across a new Destination Performance Index, which includes metrics such as digitalisation, virtual and hybrid meetings, as well as business continuation, all of which are well known Singaporean business advantages.

ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition 
Nashville, 20-23 August 2022

It’s coming up fast!  We hope to see you there.

Global Association Hubs partner cities will be present at ASAE’s flagship event this August, and we are organising a wide-ranging strategic global discussion as part of the education programme: “Looking over the Horizon: Exploring the Future of Global Associations”.  

Global Association Hubs partner cities – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC will be there in force.  Will you be joining us?  Hosted buyer and visitor registrations are open.

The Iceberg presents: Business Events World issue 97

This edition of Business Events World, issued by our media partner The Iceberg, is packed with information on sustainability challenges and solutions, and intellectual capital initiatives around the world.

Please sign up for this monthly newsletter for regular stories and case studies on the positive societal and economic impact of association meetings.  The Iceberg has led the way in advocating for an understanding that business and scientific events are so much more important than the bed-nights and hospitality jobs that they create, driving healthcare improvements, economic growth and innovation, and, of course, progress towards a peaceful world.  Nothing could be more important at the current time.

Please click on the article title to access the full newsletter.

“You are not who you were” 
As a final piece of Summer reading, we thoroughly recommend this Blog post by Dean West, Founder and President of Association Laboratory Inc, one of Global Association Hubs’ research partners.  The latest edition of his “My Seat at the Bar” Blog is filled with pithy wisdom and helpful advice, especially relevant for international association leaders wrestling with today’s wild business environment.

See more useful resources »

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