Corrado Peraboni, UFI President 2018.

UFI has been present in Latin America for quite some time now – our first member from the region, Corferias, joined us back in 1956 and hosted the Global Congress in Bogota in 1975, and then again in 2014. We now have 42 members in the region from eight different countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador and Mexico. While this covers the most important exhibition markets, there are still several countries missing, and we hope to include these soon.

Since the end of last year, UFI now has a Regional Manager based in Bogota, Ana Maria Arango. She is currently preparing for the first Latin American Conference, which is fast approaching. It will take place from 18 to 19 September 2018 in the World Trade Center, Mexico City, and is collocated with the 21st AMPROFEC Congress, Mexico’s most important exhibition industry event, which runs from 19-23 September. With support from regional association members AFIDA, AOCA and UBRAFE, this event will bring together industry colleagues from all over Latin America. It is an important step in UFI’s journey in this part of the world, and I hope you can join me there.

While we’re on the subject of sustainable development for our association in Latin America, let’s also talk about sustainability in general. It was ten years ago now when UFI set up a Working Group for this very important issue that affects us all. Sustainability doesn’t just consist of traditional environmental factors, but also of social and economic factors. These three pillars, which are all closely linked, need to be developed together in the future.

UFI has recently recognised six companies for their best practices in sustainable exhibiting, and we will tackle sustainability during this year’s Forum on Sustainable Development in Orlando (USA), from 6 to 7 August 2018. Speakers from, FREEMAN, GES, IMEX, RAI Amsterdam, and SANDS EXPO will present their initiatives and best practices, sharing their advice and expertise.

I’d like to finish with a quote from Chinese philosopher Laozi reflecting on the environment and human nature: “For I am abstracted from the world, the world from nature, nature from the way, and the way from what is beneath abstraction.”

I wish you all a lovely time – and a great summer, if you’re on the northern hemisphere!