Organisers widen delegate profile as AWC goes online only

This year’s Associations World Congress (AWC) will now be held entirely online.

The event was scheduled to take place in Cascais, Portugal, in hybrid format, but the worsening coronavirus situation in mainland Europe has scuppered those plans.

Originally lasting three days, the event will now take place over five days from July 5-9, with around 140 speakers – more than double the number originally destined to be heard.

In another development, the event is now open to all associations – even those operating at city or state level – in a move Damian Hutt, from organisers Association of Association Executives (AAE), hopes will deliver a more international audience. Previously, attendees have been predominantly European. The aim now is to attract more from Asia, North America, and the Middle East.

The event will cover a wide range of topics including Association Leadership, Events Strategy, Membership, Education, Marketing, Publishing & data, and Media.

The content will be live in all time-zones and be available ‘on-demand’ about 15 minutes later.

Hutt hopes more than 1,000 delegates will attend the virtual event.

Meanwhile it is hoped Cascais – original hosts for 2020 – will finally welcome delegates in 2022, when the event will shift to a permanent hybrid format, with three days live and a total of five days online.

Despite opening the event to a much wider pool of potential delegates – AAE recently added 18,000 organisations to its database – Hutt was not expecting a huge lift in in-person delegates next year.

The event normally has around 500 registrants and 250 people attending physically.

“I think we have to be realistic,” said Hutt. “I imagine, even next year, we’re going to have social distancing and possibly mask wearing indoors, and there will be people for whom that simply doesn’t appeal.”

Last year’s event was held virtually in December.







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