IMEX Future Leaders Forum 2019

“I think the Covid-19 crisis has shown how agile business event professionals – and the next generation of planners – can be. We’re making creative and clever use of technological innovations to deliver engaging hybrid events that provide yet another valuable way to connect and share experiences,” Brian Mushakwe, winner of the International University Challenge, offers a young planner’s perspective on how the current crisis has shaped the sector.

Brian, from Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe, won the International University Challenge, part of the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum. He caught the judges’ attention with his presentation ‘The Events Hotspot Conference’ which showcased his home country of Zimbabwe through speakers, diverse venues, locally sourced food and community involvement, and with great use of technology. One judge even remarked that Zimbabwe’s Convention Bureau should hire him asap!

His presentation to the judges, who included Miranda Van Bruck, Creative Director of The Content Studio and Rebecca Johnson, Sustainability Consultant at the Global Destination Sustainability Index, was part of a virtual version of the International University Challenge, usually held live at IMEX in Frankfurt. Shortlisted students from around the world submitted video presentations to accompany their written proposals. Brian and four other finalists are now set to attend IMEX in Frankfurt next year, and Brian will receive his award at the show’s Gala dinner.

The International University Challenge is part of the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum, a unique and free opportunity open to final year students of hospitality, event or tourism management courses, which offers expert insight into the meetings industry, learning from and connecting with inspirational industry experts and fellow students. The Forum took place online for the first time this year, as part of IMEX’s new virtual experience, PlanetIMEX. Since its launch in 2003, over 8,000 students have attended the Forum, many going on to enjoy successful and enjoyable careers around the world. The Forum is run in partnership with MPI (Meeting Professionals International) and global meetings and events company MCI.