Global Development Annual Meetings
In 2003, our client (who has a policy not to be identified in case studies) ran initiative focused on a wide range of challenges in global development.
High-risk, high-reward proposals are solicited on a range of challenges. Applications are open to anyone from any discipline, from student to tenured professor, and from any organization, including colleges and universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-profit organizations, and for-profit companies.
Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded, and successful projects have the opportunity to receive follow-on funding of up to $1 million.
Each year, applicants are invited to a meeting which brings together funding and research partners throughout the organization's network.
Event Dynamics has worked with the client to plan and host meetings in:
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2019)
Berlin, Germany (2018)
Washington DC, United States (2017)
London, United Kingdom (2016)
Beijing, China (2015)
Seattle, United States (2014)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013)
Ottawa, Canada (2012)
New Delhi, India (2011)
Seattle, United States (2010)
Arusha, Tanzania (2009)
Bangkok, Thailand (2008)
Cape Town, South Africa (2007)
NUMBER OF DELEGATES
Over the years, the number of delegates has grown from 400 to more than 1,400.
Plenary sessions with keynote speakers
Breakout group discussions
On-site management and coordination
- Post-event wrap-up
BUILDING A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP
A chance meeting led to an invitation to help organize the 2007 meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. This would be the first of many meetings to be held outside the USA. Event Dynamics was selected as the meeting planner based on our extensive experience in Africa, with a particular emphasis on South Africa. Since then, we have partnered with the client to plan and manage meetings around the world.
Each year, our team works with the client to vet proposed locations which are identified based on a number of factors including relevant projects in progress in the country as well as cooperation from local governments. Each meeting runs for three days and features high-profile keynote speakers, usually from the host country. Delegates attend scientific tracks covering a wide range of topics including vaccines, child and maternal health, malaria, climate change, and more.
Our team has been honored to be part of an annual event dedicated to bringing together the world's best minds to solve the hardest challenges. Over the year, there have been a few challenges and many high notes.
A breezy day in Cape Town
For example, for our first meeting held in Cape Town, we planned an off-site dinner in the grounds of the famous Castle of Good Hope, a pentagonal fortification built between 1666 and 1679. It is the oldest surviving building in South Africa.
Cape Town is famous for it's ferocious south easterly winds known by locals as "The Cape Doctor". These winds are usually prevalent in November. However, on the day of our event in October, the weather service issued a south easter weather advisory. The presence of this weather system would make an outdoor event at the castle impossible. Our team quickly identified a new indoor venue for the dinner at the Castle and made all the necessary arrangements to ensure a successful and safe event. Needless to say, the Cape Doctor stayed at home that day.
Mini hurricanes in Thailand
In 2008, we planned the meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. Based on the success of the off-site dinner in Cape Town, we decided to continue to include a dinner at a culturally interesting event in the program. The Royal Navy Hall was selected because the princess of Thailand was a VIP invitee. The Hall was a distance from the main meeting venue. Our challenge was to ensure that we could get the delegates to the dinner in a timely fashion considering the extremely heavy traffic between the two locations. The best option was to transport delegates by boat down the river to the Royal Navy Hall. Mother nature, however, had other plans. Around lunch time on the day of the dinner, we received a weather report of mini hurricanes coming up the river.
Our team immediately moved into problem-solving mode. We lined up buses as a backup and a local partner arranged a police escort to help us navigate through the traffic. Fortunately, the storm passed and we were able to use the boats. But the storm did cause some damage. The Royal Staff had lined the pathway up to the event entrance with orchids which were blown away by the wind.
An incomplete venue in Tanzania
Hosting an international meeting in the countryside seemed like a great idea when our team did a site visit to a mountain lodge outside Arusha, Tanzania two years ahead of the 2009 meeting. During our visit, we made it clear that we would be needing all of the 70 guest rooms that were under construction to accommodate our delegates. We received assurances that the rooms would be ready. Three months before the scheduled meeting, we did a final site visit which included a tour of the new rooms. As we were touring a long line of rooms, our Kenyan partner realized that as we exited a room, the staff were moving furniture out of the room and placing it in a room we had not yet seen to give the impression that all the rooms had been furnished. And many were still not completely furnished on our arrival three months later. Delegates found that furniture was missing, televisions did not work and in many cases, there were no lamps.
Given our experience during our final site visit, we set the expectation with our client and with delegates that the hotel would not be completely ready to host the event. This meant that delegates took the challenges in their stride and could sit back and enjoy mountain views and a lush garden setting which went a long way to creating a perfect environment for conversation and collaboration. Delegates particularly appreciation the setting outside the city which also allowed them to get a closer experience of rural life.
A river of petals in New Delhi
There have been many, many highlights over the years. One that stands out for our entire team was the off-site dinner we hosted at the Sanskriti Museum of Everyday Art, Terracotta and Textiles near New Delhi. The open air museum is housed within Sanskriti Kendra complex at Anandagram, an artist village complex spread over eight acres. The museum houses a collection of what is called "Everyday Arts", where artisans turn the functional everyday household object like toys, nutcrackers, cups, saucers, spoons, and home shrines, articles of worship, into the works of art.
The off-site dinner at the museum was truly memorable. Delegates were able to explore the property and discover the art. A particular highlight was an unexpected gesture by locals. They lined a dry riverbed running through the property with rose petals. Everyone agreed that the rich culture of India on display at the museum was the star of the evening.
Another highlight for our staff and delegates was the event we hosted at the newly opened The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC in 2017. Visiting the museum was particularly meaningful for US-based delegates and educational for international delegates who had the opportunity to learn more about the history of slavery.
A few final highlights worth mentioning (other than the opportunity to see Angela Merkel, Richard Branson and Bill Gates speaking) include the off-site dinners we hosted at Villa Riso in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and at historic Tempelhof Airport in Berlin in 2018.
Villa Riso is a historical mansion where the Lei Aurea document was drawn up, which abolished slavery in Brazil. The document was signed by Princess Isabel in the Villa Riso library in 1888. Built in the 1920's, Tempelhof has been used to test some of the world's first aircraft, house World War II prisoners, and give the people of West Berlin a vital lifeline to the outside world during the Cold War.