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ICCA Presidential Message // December 2017

Dear ICCA Members

Perhaps it's just that time of year again when we look back on a year gone by and wonder where the time went and if we could have done more, done better or simply do what needed to be done, before we start again with another year.  Or perhaps it’s the challenging political global climate, technological revolution and so much uncertainty that raises so many unanswered questions.

And so, I find myself constantly re-evaluating the smaller, simple but most important matters in my life.  Getting the basics right within myself and being aware of the environment we live in and the privileges and blessings we receive each day.  The disparity between rich and poor, educated and uneducated, has become increasingly greater in our world and this troubles me.

Having most recently had the privilege of working with the Catholic Church in South Africa arranging a mini world youth day pilgrimage the words presented by Ursula Collings, Chairperson of the Diocesan Pastoral Council for the Archdioceses of Durban at the MWYD for 2017 at the opening mass celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, profoundly resonated with me.

1. We live in times when we see many humans, but not enough humanity;
2. We live in times when smart phones bring you closer to those who are far, but distance you from those who are close;
3. We live in times when we open Facebook, more than we open the Holy Bible;
4. We live in times when a single mother can look after 10 children, but 10 children can't look after a single mother;
5. We live in times when our contact lists are huge, but our relationships are poor;
6. We live in times when our possessions are more, but our appreciation is less;
Indeed, we live in a strange world. “

Our continued discussion within the business events industry is currently focused on the imminent changes and disruptions anticipated and also the inclusion of the youth and next generation.  While we deliberate and contemplate these overwhelming changes and the impact that they will have on us as individuals, the communities that we serve and the business that we do, I get the sense that we are all adrift out at sea! Because once again the disconnect between the developed nations and developing nations, privileged and disadvantaged continues to grow and should not be ignored. 

With the advent of broad automation replacing repetitive human functions, the increase in productivity and profit margins are set to improve. Whilst at the same time loss of employment and financial insecurity to large numbers of the people is alarming. 


But instead of trying to find the solution to the complex challenges within our world, perhaps we can: “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible” as quoted by St Francis of Assis.  Do therefore not base your work and contribution only on our strengths and capabilities. Disabilities, limitations and disappointments do not disqualify us from achieving greatness and finding solutions. When perhaps the dilemmas we currently face seem overwhelming be reminded of the following people in history who faced adversity

  • Deafen him and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Have him born in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have Martin Luther King
  • Call him a slow learner, “retarded”, and write him off as uneducable and you have Albert Einstein 
  • Imprison him for 27years and you have Nelson Mandela

Having recently returned from an ICCA Middle East chapter meeting and having paid a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, my attention was caught not only by the magnificence of the structure but by the following quote:

“The word impossible is not in the leaders’ dictionaries.  No matter how big the challenges, strong faith, determination and resolve will overcome them.”  His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Yours in ICCA - towards a positive, inclusive and collaborative future