hen Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin skipped the meeting on climate issues at the G20-summit, they demonstrated to the rest of the world: We're more important to ourselves! Irrespective if their and the other sherpas produced a compromise paper the next morning: it's all about the messages and images the delegates sent out to the world. They fan both the flames of violence as well as peaceful protest movements such as "Haltung, Hamburg". This initiative wanted to give a democratic response to G20. Among the Hamburg notables is Thorsten Kausch. The former director of the Hamburg Convention Bureaus is one of the co-founders of the popular movement #HHaltung: "Together with all Hamburgers, we want to take a peaceful and very visible stand for cosmopolitanism, tolerance and democratic fundamental values.“
We obviously first need to be worried about the loss of our values and our prosperity for us to finally get moving and making ourselves heard. The "March for Science“ was held in 600 cities. Participants demonstrated against populism and for the freedom of science and research. I can only repeat what Martin Stratmann, president of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, said in Munich: "The freedom of science is a fundamental right – as is freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Current events on the Bosporus or in the USA concern us all." The freedom of science and its human information carriers is essential for any international congress – and the concept and purpose of the convention industry.
It's high time that the event industry made itself heard in accord with scientific institutions and associations. An ever-increasing number of meeting professionals is joining the "Pulse of Europe" movement, among these notably Peter Cramer of MICEboard, who invited the citizens' initiative to the IMEX. Even IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom carefully deviated from unpolitical protocol at his show; who would have thought the British would vote for Brexit and the Americans for Trump? Bloom: "In a divided world, our industry must bring people together."
And it must do that wherever there's a need for reconciliation, for example in the USA, our foremost post-war ally. At ibtm america, there was no "elephant in the room". Whether from Boston, Berlin or Bangalore, we talked about climate agreement and protectionism, populism and fake news, terror and security... because: it concerns us all!