The 89th annual UFI Global Congress is three weeks out, and I am excited to be among the contingent of the North American delegates. Hosted by Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, this year’s Global Congress is the first in 10 years to take place in the Middle East. Oman is a diverse nation, situated on the Arabian Peninsula, and rich in both history and culture. The members-only event will be held 14–17 November 2022. There’s still time to register, and entry visas are not required from the U.S. and 103 other countries for stays less than 14 days.

What am I most looking forward to? Here’s my top five.

5. UFI Sports Club. At 6:45 a.m. on Tues., Nov. 15, UFI is offering a wellness option for Global Congress delegates. It’s the ideal way to break the ice and get to know your industry peers. Join the running club for a collective morning jog, or a Pilates class, whatever your fitness level! It’s a great way to meet people with like-minded interests, to spend time outdoors and to see the neighborhoods and city. I’ve participated in the UFI Running Club around the globe, and it’s always a highlight of the meeting for me.

4. Keynote – Uncovering the unseen. At 9:30 a.m. on Tues., Nov. 15, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy — an Oscar-winning filmmaker, journalist and activist — will deliver the Global Congress keynote. One of Timemagazine’s “100 most influential people in the world,” Karachi-born Obaid-Chinoy has won numerous awards for her documentaries and animated films. She was the first artist to chair Davos, and her most recent project is directing the Ms. Marvel series for Netflix. Her full bio can be read here. Obaid-Chinoy will share new ways to look at the world through an audio-visual presentation about uncovering the unseen. To get a preview of her speaking style, watch her two TED Talks.

3. Culture. This will be my first visit to the Middle East, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the culture first-hand. On Thurs., Nov. 17, UFI offers a Post-Congress Tour Programme, which is always an unforgettable experience. The tour includes a visit to the Grand Mosque, Al Alam Palace, the National Museum, Muttrah Souq and lunch at Rozna Restaurant. It’s a unique opportunity to spend time exploring the beauty and sights of Muscat City in the company of my peers before I head back home to North America.

2. Networking. The UFI Global Congress provides the most memorable networking opportunities. On the evening of Mon., Nov. 14, the Welcome Reception will take place at the Zale Restaurant & Bar at the Kempinski Hotel. On evening of Tues., Nov. 15, the Congress Dinner will be held at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, against the backdrop of a spectacular sunset over the Sea of Oman. Guests will be treated to an experience of Oman’s beautiful traditions. For more information, click here. Plus, UFI provides breakfasts and lunches on Tuesday and Wednesday at the event.

5. Connections. The UFI Global Congress is THE place to meet and connect with global industry leaders from around 50 countries and regions. I am looking forward to meeting this year’s Next Generation Leadership (NGL) award winners from VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co, RX Africa, Emerald X LLC, Eventmaker, Costa Rica Convention Center/Grupo Heroica Volio & Trejos S.A. and Clarion Events. My absolute favorite part of the event is seeing old friends and making new ones. View the participant list.