Dear colleagues, dear friends,

Besides the programme on the various stages, a lot was going on at our recent Global Congress in Las Vegas. Alongside all the networking and matchmaking, UFI’s working groups and chapters met, committees were in session, and all our leadership circles met as well as, of course, all of us in the General Assembly. I would like to highlight UFI’s work on advocacy here today, and how it ties into the work through our Associations Committee and the chapters.

If you follow UFI Info regularly (which I hope you do), you will have seen that throughout and after the pandemic, UFI has really grown in the advocacy space. We work with global institutions like ISO, OECD, and UNFCCC. We co-fund advocacy offices in Brussels (EEIA) and Washington DC (ECA). We hold one of only three seats on the Board of the “Joint Meetings Industry Council” – the umbrella organisation for the whole global events industry. We drive projects like “Global Exhibitions Day”, and have a vital role in the “Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative”.

The pandemic has clearly shown that we need to be much more active on advocacy, and I am proud to report that UFI has answered that call. At the same time, I don’t blame you if all these names and institutions appear to be rather confusing.

So, we have worked to make things easier for everyone to understand and to activate. In time for the Congress, UFI launched a new, dedicated advocacy online portal on  Sorted under initiatives, issues, and institutions, it gives an excellent overview of UFI’s work in my view. You can read more about it elsewhere in this edition of UFI Info.

The advocacy portal also links to initiatives and programmes managed by the almost 70 national and international exhibition and event industry associations who are all also part of UFI. They are all organised in the Associations Committee – essentially an “always on” working group and network that connects management and leadership of associations from all over the world through UFI.

This Associations Committee has grown consistently through the years and is a great example of the way UFI facilitates global collaboration and connections. I wrote in this place a month ago that I deeply believe that we are better when we work together – the work done here is a great example of that.

UFI’s leadership backs this and is committed to fostering these collaborations, which is why we created a dedicated position for advocacy and alliances in the team at the beginning of this year. Now, as 2023 comes to an end, I’m very happy that I can report back to you this progress that we are seeing already.

To all of you, very best wishes for a good and successful 2024. Happy holidays!