Winners of Incredible Impacts 2018 grants announced

The Incredible Impacts Programme has selected three winning associations, each showcasing excellence within the global meetings industry.

The programme is now in its second year and run collaboratively by ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance. With 12 entries, an independent panel of industry experts selected the winners of this year’s Incredible Impacts grant as:

  • Down Syndrome International
  • Society for Ecological Restoration
  • Union for International Cancer Control

The three associations from across the globe will each receive a US$7,500 grant towards future projects, in recognition of their hosted events excelling in areas such as legacy development, sustainability and accessibility.

Showcasing a diverse range of events, the winning associations demonstrated an innovative approach to ensure they left a lasting impact in their respective industries, as well as leaving a legacy for the industry that will go beyond their venue walls.

The programme organisers hope the winners’ examples will be a source of reference and inspiration for other event planners in the future.


Down Syndrome International:

Down Syndrome International (DSI) hosted their World Down Syndrome Congress in July 2018 in Glasgow. The congress brought together a range of professionals and researchers from health and social care, education, employment and human rights. People with Down syndrome and their families were also present for an inspiring experience of education with the aim of removing some of the stigmas surrounding the condition.

The congress had an outstanding impact, attracting 1,000 delegates, of which 120 were people with Down syndrome, and recruited a team of commissioners (adults with Down syndrome) as ambassadors for the event, with one member conducting a filmed interview with Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, used to close the ceremony. DSI plan to continue their commissioner programme for future congresses in Dubai and Brisbane, utilising their experience and expertise to pass this on to the next host city.


Society for Ecological Restoration:

The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) hosted a unique global forum striving to develop and advance the world’s knowledge and understanding of our ecosystems. The World Conference on Ecological Restoration hosted in Brazil in 2017 brought together the foremost experts in the rapidly emerging field for a week of networking and knowledge sharing on the latest scientific advances, environmental policy questions and innovative methods for returning ecosystems to health and vitality.

The conference attracted 1,000 delegates from more than 60 countries. Attendees were able to spend a day volunteering at a restoration site near the venue, planting trees and collecting native seed. The SER also made a donation on behalf of the event to support local restorative activities in the area to offset the conference’s footprint.


Union for International Cancer Control:

The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) hosted their 2017 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City. With a theme of ‘Cities Driving Change’, they convened 350 global cancer and public health leaders to discuss solutions in cancer prevention and care into further national action by 2025.

As an outcome of the 2017 event, its impact motioned for policy changes in the country, with the Mexican Government officially appointing the National Cancer Institute of Mexico to coordinate the development and implementation of a sustainable national cancer control plan in the country.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said of the grant awards: “This year’s Incredible Impacts Programme submissions have been shining examples of innovative thinking and global good practice in the meetings industry, demonstrating the impact and legacy we can leave behind us.

“Our winning associations should be congratulated on not only winning the grants, but also on being advocates and inspiring leaders to others in the field. We hope to see each association go on and create more inspiring events using the grants they’ve received, which will continue to shine a positive light on our industry.

“We’re also pleased to hear that two of the winning associations, Down Syndrome International and the Society for Ecological Restoration, are planning a future congress in one of the BestCities partner cities, Dubai and Cape Town respectively.”

ICCA Interim CEO, Dennis Speet added: “It is heart-warming to see that these associations have gone the extra mile and have taken steps beyond the organisation of their events to make an incredible impact. We congratulate the winners and are looking forward to welcoming and awarding them at the ICCA Congress in Dubai!”

Incredible Impact funds will be held in trust and released directly to grant recipients by Meeting Escrow Inc., an independent provider of secure payment and escrow solutions for the meetings industry worldwide.

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