ICCA and BestCities Reveal 2019 Incredible Impacts Winners

Three organizations that have made outstanding impacts in their meeting destinations will receive grants.

Three organizations - the  European Lung Foundation/European Respiratory Society, the International AIDS Society and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect - have been named winners of the 2019 Incredible Impacts Programme, a joint initiative sponsored by the International Congress and Convention Association and BestCities Global Alliance, to honor excellence within the global meetings industry. The three groups will each receive a grant worth US$7,500 toward future projects.

The European Lung Foundation, in conjunction with European Respiratory Society, was cited for the events it holds each year under it's Healthy Lungs for Life campaign during the ERS International Congress. The events raise awareness of the importance of healthy lungs, bringing together lung professionals from around the world along with patients and the media, to meet under one roof and hear first‐hand from experts and exchange knowledge. Uniquely, the group holds lung-testing events in each of the congress host cities. The events are open to the public, meaning that not only those in the health-care world, but the public, patients and nondelegates also benefit from the conference's presence in the city.

The International AIDS Society, steward of the International AIDS Conference, hosts a scholarship program designed to support individuals from resource‐limited settings to drive positive social impact; the organization aims to expand the program for future conferences and, in recognition of its efforts, was selected as a grant  recipient.

The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, a nonprofit organization working to prevent child abuse, neglect and all forms of violence against children, hosts international congresses in three regions of the world each year. At its recent Caribbean Congress, the Society focused on bridging the gap between academic research and the work of practitioners serving vulnerable children targeted by sex tourism, adding the voices of child abuse survivors and youths within the region. The organization was awarded an Incredible Impacts grant because its congresses "spark changes in policy, systems of care, and improve treatment and prevention programs," according to ICCA and BestCities.

"All three winners have proven exceptional efforts to address critical issues within their communities and host destinations, and to ensure inclusion across the globe," said ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath at a press conference where the winners were announced. "It is wonderful to see that all three winners have created awareness for critical issues such as child neglect, HIV and healthy lungs, but also managed to develop programs to include youth in their meetings and activities. Ensuring the education and involvement of new generations across all sectors will help to further progress humankind."

At the same event, Paul Vallee, managing director of BestCities, said, "This year's Incredible Impacts Program submissions have been shining examples of innovative thinking and diversity in the meetings industry, demonstrating the impact and legacy we can leave behind us - particularly with the way each of them engaged with the younger generation. Our winning associations should be congratulated on not only winning the grants, but also on being advocates and inspiring leaders to others in the field. We hope to see each association go on and create more inspiring events using the grants they've received, which will continue to shine a positive light on our industry."