Leaving a Positive Footprint

Author: Rémi Dévé       

ESSKA

Surgeon and professor C. Niek van Dijk hands the ESSKA Congress scepter to Congress President Jon Karlsson in Glasgow. (Video screen grab)

Editor’s Note: This sixth edition of Boardroom Spotlight — a series produced in partnership with Boardroom, a Brussels-based magazine covering the work of globally based associations — takes a look at how one global association’s conference left a legacy in its host destination. It was produced in collaboration with the European Society of Association Executives (ESEA).

Legacy is one of the many buzzwords thrown around with increased frequency in today’s society, especially in the not-for-profit and association sectors. The economic legacy left by an event, such as the visitors it brings or the revenue accumulated for the host organization, must not be underestimated, but there are other legacies to consider.

An interesting case study is the ESSKA (European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy) biennial Congress held in Glasgow, May 9–12, 2018. The event attracted more than 3,200 international delegates from 101 countries, contributing £5m (US $6.4M) in direct benefits to the city.

This in itself can be considered a legacy to be proud of. However, for ESSKA, legacy was also about creating links to the local community and showcasing the appeal of Scotland as a destination of choice to a new, multinational audience. From the start of the bidding process in 2012, ESSKA leadership was impressed by Glasgow’s commitment to sustainability and legacy. Glasgow’s ethos is that events always should leave a positive footprint behind.

Like many associations, ESSKA organized numerous parallel activities during the congress that involved local communities — some of which even extended beyond Glasgow’s city limits. For the first time, Glasgow Convention Bureau worked with the Glasgow Science Centre to host a special event for members of the public, featuring Professor C. Niek van Dijk, a world-renowned surgeon who has treated international dancers and athletes, such as Cristiano Ronaldo. Professor van Dijk shared stories and insights from his career in the hope of inspiring Glasgow’s next generation of medical minds.

“This was the first time that we have engaged with members of the general public during one of our congresses, which really helped to raise our profile within the city and open up our congress to new audiences,” said ESSKA’s executive director, Zhanna Kovalchuk. “Given that it was Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People,’ we also hope this will have motivated those considering a career in medicine to find out more about our specialty.”

Thirty-five ESSKA delegates took advantage of Glasgow’s prime location as the gateway to Scotland by participating in a four-day cycling race to raise money to support research led by the ESSKA Foundation. The 377-km (234-mile) “Cycle for Science” challenge took delegates on a tour through the Scottish countryside before returning to the city just in time for the opening of the congress. It was a memorable experience for those involved — locals and visitors alike — and, at the same time, left a pos- itive legacy for the Foundation. “ESSKA is a great example of how we, along with our partners across the city, can work with conference organizers to take the subject matter of the conference outside the walls of the convention center and into the local community,” said Aileen Crawford, Glasgow Convention Bureau’s head of conventions.

Following the success of this legacy left in Glasgow, ESSKA is ensuring that its future events will likewise leave a positive legacy, working closely with convention bureaus from conception to delivery of the project. ESSKA strives to create deep, sustainable relationships with academic, professional, and other communities, and appoints local ambassadors for support in creating and nurturing such networks — not just during events, but in the long term.as well. The next ESSKA Congress will take place in May 2020 in Milan, Italy

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