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Winners of Incredible Impacts 2018 grants announced

The Incredible Impacts Programme, now in its second year, run collaboratively by ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance, has selected three winning associations as leading examples of excellence within the global meetings industry.

With 12 inspiring entries, an independent panel of industry experts selected the winners of this year’s Incredible Impacts grant as:

  • Down Syndrome International
  • Society for Ecological Restoration
  • Union for International Cancer Control

The three associations from across the globe will each receive a US $7,500 grant towards future projects, in recognition of their hosted events excelling in areas such as legacy development, sustainability and accessibility.

Showcasing a diverse range of events, the winning associations demonstrated an innovative approach to ensure they left a lasting impact in their respective industries, as well as leaving a legacy for the industry that will go beyond their venue walls. With the Incredible Impacts Grant Programme, it is hoped the winners’ examples will be a source of reference and inspiration for other event planners in the future.

Down Syndrome International:

Down Syndrome International (DSI), hosted their World Down Syndrome Congress in July 2018 in Glasgow. The congress brought together a range of professionals and researchers from health and social care, education, employment and human rights. People with Down syndrome and their families were also present for an inspiring experience of education with the aim of removing some of the stigmas surrounding the condition.

Their mission through the conference is to improve quality of life for people with Down syndrome worldwide and promote their inherent right to be included and accepted as valued and equal members of society. The congress had an outstanding impact by raising public awareness for the community, attracted over 1000 delegates, of which 120 were people with Down syndrome, and recruited a team of commissioners (adults with Down syndrome) as ambassadors for the event, with one member conducting a filmed interview with Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, used to close the ceremony. DSI plan to continue their commissioner programme for future congresses in Dubai and Brisbane, utilising their experience and expertise to pass this on to the next host city.

Society for Ecological Restoration:

The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) hosted a unique global forum striving to develop and advance the world’s knowledge and understanding of our ecosystems. The World Conference on Ecological Restoration hosted in Brazil in 2017 brought together the foremost experts in the rapidly emerging field for a week of networking and knowledge sharing on the latest scientific advances, environmental policy questions and innovative methods for returning ecosystems to health and vitality.

The conference attracted 1,000 delegates from more than 60 countries, creating a massive impact across the globe by promoting worldwide knowledge transfer, and facilitated paid-for attendance from delegates in developing countries, in recognition of the fact that environmental degradation is a global problem and those countries are the hardest hit. The week-long conference also gave attendees the opportunity to spend the day volunteering at a restoration site near the venue, planting trees and collecting native seed. The SER also made a donation on behalf of the event to support local restorative activities in the area to offset the conference’s footprint.

Union for International Cancer Control:

This association brought together key decision makers from around the world to define compelling messages to support the call to action against cancer. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) hosted their 2017 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City. With a theme of ‘Cities Driving Change,’ they convened 350 global cancer and public health leaders to discuss solutions in cancer prevention and care into further national action by 2025.

The high-level policy meeting was dedicated exclusively to furthering global cancer control and encouraged timely debate on emerging issues related to cancer. As an outcome of the 2017 event, it’s impact motioned for policy changes in the country, with the Mexican Government officially appointing the National Cancer Institute of Mexico to coordinate the development and implementation of a sustainable national cancer control plan in the country.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said: “This year’s Incredible Impacts Programme submissions have been shining examples of innovative thinking and global good practise in the meetings industry, demonstrating the impact and legacy we can leave behind us.  

“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.

“We’re also pleased to hear that two of the winning associations, Down Syndrome International and the Society for Ecological Restoration are planning a future congress in one of the BestCities partner cities, Dubai and Cape Town respectively.”

ICCA Interim CEO, Dennis Speet said: “It is heart-warming to see that these associations have gone the extra mile and have taken steps beyond the organisation of their events to make an incredible impact. We congratulate the winners and are looking forward to welcoming and awarding them at the ICCA Congress in Dubai!”

Incredible Impact funds will be held in trust and released directly to grant recipients by Meeting Escrow Inc., an independent provider of secure payment and escrow solutions for the meetings industry worldwide.


For further information, interviews or imagery for BestCities contact:

Daniel Glendinning at Wire, on or +44 (0)141 648 9610


For further details on Incredible Impacts:

About ICCA
ICCA -the International Congress and Convention Association- is the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry.
ICCA represents the main specialists in organizing, transporting, and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises over 1,100 member companies and organizations in almost 100 countries worldwide. ICCA specializes in the international association meetings sector, offering unrivalled data, communication channels, and business development opportunities.

About BestCities
BestCities Global Alliance is an international network of 12 leading convention destinations around the globe. They are distinguished by the commitment of the members' convention offices to offering special standards of service. Members include Berlin, Bogotá, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Houston, Madrid, Melbourne, Singapore, Tokyo and Vancouver.

By working together, BestCities adds a unique value to its member cites. This ‘Alliance thinking’ not only brings a level of creative client solutions no individual partner city could deliver on their own, but in turn helps BestCities’ members achieve their own objectives, better than they could alone. @BestCitiesGA.