September 2022 Newsletter

A time for experimentation but also dependability

As association leaders and event organisers prepare to flock back over the coming weeks to IMEX America in Las Vegas, IBTM World in Barcelona, and smaller gatherings such as MICE Asia in Singapore and WIAF in Washington DC, the world could be forgiven for thinking that the business of associations and their meetings is reverting back to pre-Pandemic “normality”.

I hope that isn’t the case! Almost every association CEO I have interacted with over the last two years has stressed their desire to radically re-engineer their strategic approach to meetings, education, community and business relations: in short, they wanted to experiment and reinvent their own ideal future.  It would be an enormous wasted opportunity (and danger!) to simply dust off the old business models and assume that what worked before will be perfect for tomorrow.

But experimentation in mission-critical activities entails great risk and uncertainty, and that’s the time when it’s most important to work with dependable, reliable, empathetic partners, especially in the case of the destinations which host your events or provide the site for your offices and operations!  The Global Association Hubs partner cities – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC –  can provide precisely the kind of dependability that enables associations to stretch their creative wings, and we look forward to continuing to play a major role in the evolution of the international association sector.  It’s going to be a bumpy but incredibly interesting journey!

Martin Sirk
Global Association Hubs International Advisor

Boardroom article:
The Limits and Limitations of Empowerment

How far is your association willing to go to truly empower management, staff, and volunteer leaders to create a reimagined positive future?  In our latest Boardroom article, with input from some innovative association friends, we argue that genuine empowerment is risky, scary, and entails a deliberate partial abdication of power and sometimes even the sharing of institutional sovereignty, but can unlock incredible advantages for those associations which are bold enough to adopt an empowering business philosophy!

Associations call for binding Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

In an act of almost unprecedented collaboration, nearly 200 global and national medical and healthcare associations have signed up to a joint letter demanding that governments around the world take immediate action to protect the lives of current and future generations by addressing the root causes of the Climate Crisis.

Headed by the World Health Organisation, association leaders are demanding such a treaty incorporates the following policies:

“1. End expansion of any new fossil fuel infrastructure and production by immediately ending activity and investment across all new or expanded fossil fuel exploration, extraction, and building of infrastructure, in line with the best available science.

2. Phase out existing production and use of fossil fuels in a fair and equitable manner in line with the 1.5C global climate goal. To address existing inequity, we call on high-income countries to provide financial, technological and other support to low- and middle-income countries in the move away from fossil fuels, ensuring the transition reduces poverty rather than exacerbating it.

3. Fast-track real solutions and ensure a just transition for every worker, community, and country creating a healthy and sustainable future for all.  A just transition must respect Indigenous rights and the rights of local communities.”

The letter compares this issue to the battle against the negative health impacts of another global scourge: “Like the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the proposed Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would be an evidence-based international agreement to control a category of substances well-known to be harmful to human health. The health risks associated with fossil fuels are numerous.”

When associations come together in this way we have the capacity to drive tremendously positive societal change, reaching beyond the narrow concerns of national policymaking.  Hopefully this is just a start, as other healthcare organisations consider their position on the Climate Crisis and think how they can also contribute towards this new advocacy initiative.

Singapore hosts Global Association Hubs at MICE Show Asia 2022

Rebuilding Global Meetings and Events for a New Era
Martin Sirk, Global Association Hubs International Advisor will be moderating this high-level education session at MICE Show Asia 2022 (running alongside ITB Asia and Travel Tech Asia shows), taking place 19-21 October in Singapore’s world-class convention venue Marina Bay Sands, with a distinguished international panel:
*Sanjay Seth, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, BCD Meetings & Events
*Amelia Roziman, CEO, Business Events Sarawak
*Teresa Matheson, Head of APAC, Egencia
*Tracey Edwards, Global Strategic Lead, Event Travel Management
*Stephane Talboom, VP Sales & Marketing, K.I.T. Group.

All international association friends in Asia-Pacific will be most welcome to attend!

Dubai’s environment for cutting-edge technology associations just became even more attractive!

Great news for all international air technology and aerospace associations: the Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub is this month opening its new Suppliers Complex, designed to attract even more SMEs and start-ups into this incredible high-tech ecosystem.

In equally important news for associations involved in metaverse business or technological solutions, Emirates NBD, a leading regional banking group, has launched a global accelerator programme for metaverse start-ups, in partnership with Microsoft and the Dubai International Finance Centre Fintech Hive, the largest financial tech hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Is your association involved in robotics and advanced manufacturing? Then you need to learn about the recent launch of the Dubai Robotics & Automation Program, which aims to swiftly elevate Dubai into the top 10 cities in the world in this sector.

And in further high-tech news of great relevance to those working in the field of urban development and sustainability, Dubai has announced an ambitious new project to create the world’s largest Urban Tech District, certain to attract a huge number of specialised, leading-edge companies and organisations.

These sector-specific initiatives all fit together under an all-encompassing strategy for Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) this month launched the Dubai Research and Development (R&D) Program. The initiative aims to support key economic sectors and create new opportunities for growth by providing a comprehensive framework for research, development and innovation across the emirate.  All of which is great news for associations interested in technological solutions for the world’s biggest challenges!

Washington International Association Forum (WIAF) takes place 19-20 October 2022!

Washington, DC plays host to the first North American edition of this custom-designed high-level education programme for international associations, following in the footsteps of the well-established GIAF in Geneva and BIAF in Brussels.  All these events are organised by Brussels-based organisation ASSOCIATIONWORLD.  There are spaces available for up to 50 international association senior executives.

To register and for more information on content and speakers, click on this link!

Brussels redesigns online resources for associations

Comprehensive, clear, easy-to-navigate, custom-designed

When your city possesses the largest and most complex international association eco-system on the planet, and offers the widest range of association-related services, it’s not easy to organise that wealth of information!  Over the last two years, Brussels official marketing agency VisitBrussels has undertaken a massive redesign of all their online resources, including customised pages of information for international associations.

Please head to the association homepage to discover:
*Why Brussels?
*Setting up your office in Brussels – step-by-step
*Association service providers index
*Free support services from VisitBrussels index
*Event organising guides
*Fact sheets on managing your association in Brussels:
           Labour laws

And for Europe-based associations wanting to discuss mission-critical management, development and marketing issues, and to help shape the agenda for the 2023 European Association Summit, the Brussels Insights Webinars will be returning on 13 October for a new cycle of events!

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

Global Summit
International issues enjoyed their highest ever profile at last month’s annual ASAE meeting, much to the delight of the international associations in attendance.  In addition to half a dozen high-quality specialised education sessions and well-attended networking functions, ASAE organised their first-ever half-day Global Summit involving over 100 international association leaders and ASAE Board members and senior executives, with an inspiring keynote presentation by Thomas Debass, Head of Partnerships at US Department of State, and “state of the world” overviews from research companies and global association leaders.  Global Association Hubs provided in-advance feedback and advice on the programme and event design, and moderated one of the round tables.

“Looking over the horizon: exploring the future of global associations”
Global Association Hubs organised our own packed-out, highly interactive session in the main education programme, exploring critical long-term association issues in the areas of technology, economics/politics, risk, ESG/DEI/SDGs, and new business models for global development, moderated by International Advisor Martin Sirk, and involving Tommy Goodwin from Exhibition and Convention Alliance, Magda Mook, ex-Chair of ASAE’s International Section and CEO of the International Coaching Federation, and Mike Morrissey, Chief Executive of European Cancer Organisation and the current President of ESAE, the European Society of Association Executives.

We look forward to ASAE building on this solid foundation to include an even greater emphasis on global issues at future Annual Meetings.

See you at IMEX America, Las Vegas, 10-13 October 2022

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.

Book appointments to meet with us at these booths:
Brussels – VisitBrussels – E2228
Dubai – Dubai Business Events – E1519
Singapore – Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau – F1107
Washington DC – Destination DC – C4225

The Iceberg presents: Business Events World issue 98

This edition of Business Events World, issued by our media partner The Iceberg, is packed with information on strategic challenges and solutions for international associations and their meetings, 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.

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