Two of the three associations earning top honors in the second annual Incredible Impacts program are focused on the healthcare world. The awards program, run by the International Congress and Convention Association and BestCities Global Alliance, honors organizations that have found ways to ensure that their meetings leave a lasting impact on their industries and host destinations.
BestCities managing director Paul Vallee said the program is a testament to the idea that “we’re in this industry not so much to hold events, but to make this world a better place.” Vallee noted that a large percentage of applicants in the program’s first two years have been medical groups, a fact he attributes to “a clear sense of purpose” often seen in healthcare meetings.
The 2018 winners, who each receive a $7,500 grant towards future projects, are the Union for International Cancer Control for its 2017 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City; Down Syndrome International for its 2018 World Down Syndrome Congress in Glasgow, Scotland; and the Society for Ecological Restoration for its 2017 World Conference on Ecological Restoration hosted in Iguassu, Brazil.
The legacy of the 2017 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City is expected to be felt for years to come. UICC’s meeting brought together 350 global cancer and public-health leaders to discuss cancer prevention and care and to push for further governmental action by 2025. One major outcome: the Mexican Government officially appointed the National Cancer Institute of Mexico to develop and implement a sustainable national cancer control plan.
For Down Syndrome International, the Glasgow meeting raised public awareness for its community by putting together a team of adults with Down Syndrome to serve as “commissioners,” or ambassadors, for the meeting. One of the commissioners conducted a filmed interview with the First Minister of Scotland, which was shown during the meeting. DSI plans to continue its commissioner program at upcoming congresses in Dubai and Brisbane as part of its mission to have those with Down Syndrome valued as equal members of society. The meeting attracted 1,000 delegates, 120 of whom have the condition.
The third winning event, the World Conference on Ecological Restoration, was noted for its scale in a rapidly emerging field. The conference attracted 1,000 delegates from more than 60 countries, including delegates from developing countries who received financial support to attend in recognition of the fact that environmental degradation is a global problem. The conference facilitated global knowledge sharing and allowed attendees to volunteer at a restoration site near the meeting venue. The Society for Ecological Restoration also made a donation on behalf of the event to support local restorative activities.
Showcasing a diverse range of events, the winning associations demonstrated an innovative approach to ensure they left a lasting impact in their respective industries and h, as well as leaving a legacy for the industry that will go beyond their venue walls. With the Incredible Impacts Grant Programme, it is hoped the winners’ examples will be a source of reference and inspiration for other event planners in the future.