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In light of the war in Ukraine, international meetings industry associations have shown unconditional support for the Ukrainian people and its meetings industry. Numerous organisations have immediately suspended business with all companies in Russia and condemned acts of aggression from Russian forces.

Below are the responses from the leading meetings industry associations.

ICCA President’s Message

James Rees, ICCA President, wrote: “Dear ICCA members across our global community. I am sure you will be extremely saddened to see the escalating hostilities unfolding in Ukraine in recent days.”

“It is particularly hard to witness such devastation in countries where we normally work together, in partnership, so our thoughts at this time are with our members, friends and colleagues in both Ukraine and Russia who are being directly affected by this action.”

“ICCA is an association that advocates for all of our global members, prizing knowledge exchange and internationalisation; where differences are challenged through debate and discussion. We call on governments on all sides to do everything possible to end hostilities and meet to negotiate a peaceful resolution to this conflict.”

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Photo Credit: ICCA

MPI and IMEX Group

“Meeting Professionals International condemns the acts of aggression from Russian forces and urges an expeditious end to the conflict with Ukraine. In a show of support for the people of Ukraine, MPI will immediately suspend business with all companies in Russia. In addition, any plans to formalize a chapter in Russia will be paused.”

The statement goes on to say that, while disheartening, it’s critical to respond in this manner to violent acts to help ensure a peaceful resolution.

“We remain concerned for the well-being of our community and our MPI members in Russia and Ukraine who were already seeking to climb out of the shadow of this pandemic and are now experiencing these unprecedented challenges.”

Leaders of the IMEX Group announced today that they would suspend Russian state enterprises from participating in IMEX in Frankfurt 2022, May 31-June 2.

“We do this with a heavy heart, understanding that the world is in an unprecedented situation,” CEO Carina Bauer and Chairman Ray Bloom said in a joint statement. “Our hearts go out to everyone who is affected and especially the people of Ukraine. All of us wish for a speedy and peaceful resolution to this conflict.”

Read more about IMEX Group’s ban on Russia here.

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Photo Credit: IMEX Frankfurt

UFI

Monica Lee Müller, UFI President, wrote: “The meetings industry is there to bring people together — our marketplaces and meeting places are the platforms where businesses, people, nations come together to talk to each other, to discuss and agree on deals, and to overcome obstacles and solve problems. When people meet, they solve problems. In a world confronted with many unprecedented challenges, in politics, with natural disasters, and the pandemic — more than ever, we need peace, not conflict.”

ECM

Petra Stušek, ECM President, stated: “We feel heartbroken witnessing such conflicts between cities and countries we have been working with for years, building on knowledge and cooperation.”

“We are strongly condemning unilateral attacks on Ukraine, affecting the architecture that has given Europe peace and stability over many decades. We call on Russia to stop the violence and come up with a peaceful resolution of the fight. In those troubled days, more than ever, ECM is highly determined to keep its community strong and united, as destinations, as professionals, as friends and colleagues throughout its cities and nations, all over the European continent.”

“All together, we are aiming to start again together a future of collective impact with tourism as an integral part of the shared DNA that unites our cities, communities and cultures in meaningful change.”

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Photo Credit: Vid Rotar

CANNES LIONS

Statement from LIONS in support of the people of Ukraine and other affected members of the community: “We stand together with our friends in Ukraine, and our many partners and community members in Russia who strongly oppose the actions of the Russian Government.”

“Despite our desire to celebrate creativity from wherever it comes, we have made the decision not to accept submissions or delegations from Russian organisations into Cannes Lions or its associated awards programmes. As an immediate action, Ascential and LIONS will make a significant donation to humanitarian charities working in the affected region.”

“In addition, while we recognise that this is only a small gesture, we will welcome free of charge any and all Ukraine creatives who are able to attend Cannes Lions. Refunds on awards submissions for Ukrainian agencies will also be honoured. Our thoughts go out to the people of Ukraine and other affected members of the community at this extremely difficult time.”

SITE

The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) added its voice to the avalanche of global voices that are speaking out in condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

SITE believes that travel rewards channel extraordinary benefits to the individuals who qualify for them, the corporations who sponsor them and the destinations in which they take place. By celebrating diversity, highlighting equity, promoting inclusion and fostering cultural immersion and exchange, travel acts as a powerful agent of tolerance, peace and unification.

SITE professes that belief again today as the peace and security of our world have been attacked and call for an immediate end to hostilities and support for those affected. As an association, they are committed to actively exploring how our global community can best use its collective strength to provide help, assistance and resources where they are needed.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Ask your government to support Ukraine with defence ammunition and impose economic restrictions on Russia:
◦ Join peaceful protest in your city: https://www.stopputin.net/
◦ Sign a petition: https://lnkd.in/daDhr-48
◦ Guide to write an official letter to your authorities: https://lnkd.in/dPSS_Brw
◦ Guide to reach your government on social: https://lnkd.in/dWV5XpmJ

Help Ukrainian refugees, volunteer and host: https://lnkd.in/dH7bAXgV

Donate, list of verified organisations: https://lnkd.in/duPtiyRj

On 4 March 2022, the organisers of Conventa Trade Show hosted a special online event, dedicated to sharing first-hand information about the situation in Ukraine. Watch the online event below.