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Photo Credit: IBTM World

IBTM World 2022, which will take place at Fira, Barcelona, from the 29th of November to the 1st of December, has revealed the first details of its Association Leaders’ Forum, which is scheduled for the day before the official start of the event on the 28th of November.

The Association Leaders’ Forum, curated by Stylianos Filopoulos, International Associations Expert, will consider the role that associations can play in our changeable world. Through the sharing of case studies, interactive sessions and round table discussions, the tailored programme will explore issues such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion, socioeconomic instability, well-being, and creativity, and discuss how associations can leverage these challenges and opportunities to increase the impact of their future events.

Stylianos comments: “The Association Leaders’ Forum is a cultural melting pot, where association leaders from around the world come together in the forum’s safe space, to exchange best practices and learn from each other. This year we take a step forward and transform the forum into an innovation lab, where people will listen to amazing stories from thought leaders and will have the chance to experience innovative event formats.”

“We will discuss trending topics from well-being to diversity and from rising costs to new business models and we will try to see how events can build legacies in fluid and uncertain times. Be ready for some serious play.”

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Photo Credit: IBTM World

Designing the future of in-person events through Lego Serious Play

One of the highlights of the Forum is the Presidents’ Talk, which will open the programme and bring together all five Association Executive Society leaders. This interactive session is an opportunity for association professionals to hear how different global associations innovated and solved problems in the design and delivery of their own international events, as well as a chance to discover different cultures and celebrate diversity and points of convergence.

In partnership with MeetDenmark, the programme features an innovative session to help design the future of in-person events through Lego Serious Play. This interactive session will enable delegates to share ideas and learn what in-person events of purpose-driven organisations will look like in the future. It will also enable them to experience new and innovative formats through play and reflect on the impact of event gamification.

David Thompson

Event Director of IBTM World

David Thompson, Event Director, IBTM World, said: “The Associations Leaders’ Forum is an integral part of IBTM World, and this year as we come together to reflect on how culture impacts events, the forum is a fantastic opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with different global cultures. Stylianos has produced an unmissable programme which explores all the issues facing associations today.”

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Photo Credit: IBTM World Barcelona

Michelle Mason, American Society of Association Executives President / CEO, said: “On behalf of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), I’m thrilled to join other global association leaders for the 2022 Association Leaders’ Forum and IBTM World in Barcelona this November. There is a tremendous need for knowledge-sharing and collaboration on the common issues and challenges we’re facing as a global sector, and the more we dialogue with each other at innovative conferences like IBTM World, the better we’ll be prepared to advance this diverse and vibrant community.”

Mike Morrissey, President of the European Society of Association Executives (ESAE) and CEO of the European Cancer Organisation said: “At the European Society of Association Executives, we really value the IBTM World Association Leaders Forum where we can exchange with all stakeholders to ensure great events and engagement for members and delegates at association events. Last year’s event was inspiring, particularly collaborating with association leaders from across the world, including our friends and partners at ASAE. We look forward to seeing many ESAE members participating in Barcelona again this year!”

Mungai Nfi, the new President of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE), said: “Every day, association members and leaders go above and beyond to help enhance communities’ rights. Associations at their heart are about impact. We all face unprecedented change and the associated mental and emotional challenges, we need to take renewed care of our teams, leaders, volunteers, and members. Associations are uniquely positioned to provide that care, community, and support.”


IBTM World 2022 will focus on culture creation as its theme, bringing together attendees to discover how modern business challenges are creating opportunities across the industry, and exploring the convergence of events and business culture. The theme of ‘culture creation’ will permeate the event, from the tailored association programme to the inspirational Knowledge Programme and networking events.

Find out more at https://www.ibtmworld.com/en-gb.html.