May 2023 Newsletter

It’s good to talk…and to listen, and to think

Of all the many dangers of the AI revolution, one that isn’t getting enough (or any!) press coverage is the potential damage that will be caused to the art and practice of conversation.  Debate and disagreement can be messy, “inefficient” and time-consuming.  The temptation will become almost irresistible to ignore dialogue and argument, and instead to take ever-easier AI-enabled short-cuts to identify “solutions” and “ideal outcomes”.  

This is why associations should be doubling-down on their natural ability to provide “safe” platforms for informed, intelligent debate and wide-ranging discussion, where disagreements can be respectfully aired, new futures can be imagined, and fresh ideas and novel concepts can be intellectually stress-tested.  These interactions, both online and face-to-face, are the unique “special sauce” that might just enable associations to survive and thrive in a world of AI-driven hyper-competition.  

The Global Association Hub partner cities – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC – look forward to helping shape the agenda and provide platforms for conversations on critical association issues over the coming months and years, thanks to innovative new partnerships with our friends at ESAE and AssociationWorld, and via our support of education programmes at events such as the recently-held European Association Summit in Brussels.  

Let’s all keep talking, and listening, and thinking! 

Martin Sirk
Global Association Hubs International Advisor

All models are wrong (but some are useful)

Our latest article in media partner Boardroom magazine makes the argument that associations are far too conservative in the types of business models they traditionally use and the uses to which they put those models, and that there are enormous misunderstandings about the purpose and limitations of using any model. 

The added twist: for this article we used AI tool Chat GPT for the first time (a first for both for Global Association Hubs and for Boardroom), and you can now read the raw AI-outputs that provided the research material for the article.  On this occasion we didn’t employ any AI-writing or AI-modelling, but those are also heading our way fast!

New strategic partnership with ESAE

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with our friends at ESAE, the European Society of Association Executives, combining sponsorship of the inaugural ESAE Award for Event Transformation, and a series of online webinars which will stimulate high-level conversations about the most critical topics amongst European-based association leaders.  The first of these webinars was recently held on the subject of “Sustainability Engagement: from Policy to Participation”, and dates and topics of forthcoming events will be announced by both partners shortly.

ESAE has been going from strength to strength over recent years, with a dramatic increase in the number of educational and networking activities, steady institutional and individual membership growth, and a significantly higher reputation and profile on the issues that matter to the association community.  We look forward to working closely with ESAE in support their future development plans.

ESAE President Mike Morrissey commented: “We’re delighted that Global Association Hubs is entering into this new partnership with ESAE.  Our webinar collaboration will help communicate ESAE’s thought-leadership and great case studies throughout the world beyond Europe, whilst support for our inaugural Event Transformation Award will enable us to recognise association leaders who are helping to reinvent impactful events for the post-Pandemic world.”

Will you be at IMEX this year?  Make a date to see us!

Global Association Hubs partner cities will all be exhibiting at IMEX in Frankfurt this year from 23 to 25 May.  Find us on these stands to discuss your association’s plans for future meetings and other activities:

Brussels  ( Convention & Association Bureau) – E120
Dubai  (Dubai Business Events/Dubai Association Centre) – E500
Singapore  (Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau) – C360
Washington DC  (Destination DC Convention Bureau) – C160

Brussels: 17 stand partners offering expert advice on meeting venues and services, association registration and operations, special events and culture.

Dubai: 4.67m visits during first quarter of 2023 (17% year-on-year growth); 35 stand partners (including new meeting venues) anticipating 1,000+ appointments at IMEX.

Singapore: 29 stand partners representing Asia’s main association, air, sea and telecoms hub with market access to 4 billion people within a 7-hour flight radius.

Washington DC: Discover US$10.3 billion in recent tourism & meeting developments, and a pipeline of over 5,700 new hotel rooms coming on stream in near future.

To meet up with Martin Sirk, International Advisor to the partnership, who will be speaking, moderating and wandering the aisles, please email

Brussels announces: The Association Place

Scheduled to open in September this year, The Association Place is designed to become a comfortable, welcoming gathering place for the international and European association community in Brussels, a venue to meet old friends and new colleagues from other associations, access news and resources, and enjoy a great cup of coffee.  It’s Just around the corner from major EU institutional offices, so perfectly located for lobbying and intelligence-gathering visits by association visitors from near and far.

For those who attended last month’s European Association Summit in Brussels (and even if you didn’t!), you can relive the highlights of an excellent two days of education and networking via this collection of almost 800 action photos!

Stop Press – new partnership with ASSOCIATIONWORLD!

Global Association Hubs has just signed an agreement with ASSOCIATIONWORLD, the worldwide community of association executives and volunteer leaders, best known as the organisers of the BIAF, GIAF, WIAF (and more to come) series of educational forums.

The partners have committed to organise and globally promote a series of interactive online events over 2023 and 2024, stimulating debate on some of the hottest association topics.  More detailed information to follow, during and after IMEX.

Latest edition of the Business Events World

We are a proud partner of The Iceberg, publisher of Business Events World, which always has a lot of interesting things to say about the societal impact of international association meetings.  This edition’s highlight is a case study on ESTRO and their event RFP that generated a EUR 700 million cancer legacy, demonstrating the importance of thinking big when it comes to the impact of our meetings!

Women Who Advance Associations: online event 1 June

Global Association Hubs has supported this initiative since it first started four years ago, profiling amazing female association leaders and innovators in all regions of the world, so we are delighted to help promote the first WWAA online event.

Leading with Inclusion: How to Build Impactful & Resilient Associations – Global Virtual CollabSphere scheduled on 1st of June from 1.30 to 2.45pm CEST.

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