When the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) was planning its 57th ICCA Congress held in Dubai Nov. 11-14, the organization wanted to make an impact on its host destination that would extend well beyond its stay. So ICCA partnered with Dubai Business Events, the city’s official convention bureau, to help support a local blindness-prevention charity, the Noor Dubai Foundation. The organization is dedicated to providing eye and vision care for those living in low-income regions around the world.
More than 1,150 senior-level meeting and event planners from more than 75 countries went to Dubai for the congress, where, through various CSR initiatives, they had the opportunity to give to Noor Dubai as it seeks to give the gift of sight to thousands in need.
“With an international reach, Noor Dubai has been making a direct impact on people’s lives and is proud to partner with ICCA for this significant initiative,” said Dr. Manal Taryam, CEO of the Noor Dubai Foundation. “The contribution received from ICCA Congress participants will greatly improve the social and economic conditions of people in need of eyesight improvement.”
More than 200 attendees participated in a Charity Run ’N’ Walk, the proceeds of which went to Noor Dubai, while organizers also made donations in lieu of speaker fees or as gifts. In total, ICCA raised more than $6,000 at the congress, all of which will go to Noor Dubai’s local and international initiatives, including its mobile eye camps in developing countries across Africa and Asia. The mobile eye camps provide screenings, distribute glasses, and can conduct eye surgeries for those in need. In addition to raising funds, congress delegates collected 591 pairs of glasses for donation; these frames will be re-lensed before being distributed through Noor Dubai Foundation’s mobile eye clinic.
“Partnering with Noor Dubai Foundation and ICCA on these initiatives has helped to ensure that we were able to live up to our promise ahead of the congress that it would leave a robust legacy,” said Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing. “Through the Charity Run ’N’ Walk, donations and collection of glasses, delegates were able to easily get involved, which was a key consideration for Dubai Business Events and the Local Host Committee.”
Kazim added that ICCA proves business events are more than just economically beneficial and their impact can extend far beyond tourism. He was so inspired by the ICCA Congress, in fact, that it’s something Dubai hopes to bring into its ongoing meetings strategy. “We are looking forward to working with other associations and organizations to ensure they are able to embed powerful CSR programs and initiatives into their events,” he said. In the meantime, ICCA’s impact will not be forgotten.
These CSR activities helped to further elevate and add to the success of the congress, which was taking place in the Middle East for the first time and attracted the largest ever attendance for an ICCA Congress outside of Europe. With a strong core educational element, a special program to allow delegates to explore the city’s innovation and knowledge base, and a series of social events, it was well-received by participants who came from around the world.
“We truly believe that a small gesture goes a long way towards making a positive change,” Taryam said, “and we are grateful to ICCA and the local host committee not only for their support to Noor Dubai’s local and international outreach programs, but for also creating the much-needed awareness for people to realize the importance of the gift of vision.”