The Meetings Industry Speaks with One Voice in Support of Ukraine

11th Mar, 2022

The IMEX Group has suspended the participation of all Russian state entities and companies - which includes the national convention bureau - in the upcoming IMEX Frankfurt trade show in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Along with the German trade show, many other voices were raised in condemnation of the ongoing war and in the call for the restoration of peace and order in Eastern Europe. 

IMEX Group leaders, President Ray Bloom and CEO Carina Bauer, revealed the news in a joint statement on their official Linkedin page, confirming that this decision is a direct result of the ongoing military aggression. “Sadly, today we have taken the decision to suspend Russian state enterprises from participating at IMEX in Frankfurt 2022, as a direct result of the current political situation”, they said. “We do this with a heavy heart, understanding that the world is in an unprecedented situation. Our hearts go out to everyone who is affected and especially the people of Ukraine. All of us wish for a speedy and peaceful resolution to this conflict.”

The venue hosting the trade show, Messe Frankfurt also released a statement addressing this situation: “Messe Frankfurt is looking with great concern at the tragic developments in Ukraine these days. Our company creates internationally neutral communications and trade platforms where people of all nations come together. Our corporate principles stand for peaceful co-existence and trade relations of the same kind – because this is a prerequisite for a functioning international economy and for a functioning international coexistence as a whole.”

The Bavarian capital's convention centre, Messe München, was also adamant in censuring this conflict in Eastern Europe: "We are following the current developments in Ukraine with great concern. The violation of international law by Russia with its warlike actions worries us greatly. Our thoughts are with the people in the crisis regions affected. As a sign of solidarity and cohesion, we have raised Ukrainian and European flags in front of the western entrance of our exhibition grounds (see below)."

ICCA President's Message:

In an official statement posted on the association's membership section, ICCA president James Rees also wrote to members calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

"I am sure you will be extremely saddened to see the escalating hostilities unfolding in Ukraine in recent days. It is particularly hard to witness such devastation in countries where we normally work together, in partnership, so our thoughts at this time are with our members, friends and colleagues in both Ukraine and Russia who are being directly affected by this action.

"ICCA is an association that advocates for all of our global members, prizing knowledge exchange and internationalisation; where differences are challenged through debate and discussion. We call on governments on all sides to do everything possible to end hostilities and meet to negotiate a peaceful resolution to this conflict," Rees said.

A message from Bea World:

Joining this wave of solidarity are the organisers of the Bea World Festival who have decided to suspend participation in the international prize dedicated to live events and communication from all companies based within the borders of the Russian Federation until "common sense and diplomacy prevail":

"Ours is a position against the current government of Russia, and not against the professionals of the Russian event industry - says Salvatore Sagone, organiser of Bea Festival - with many of whom I am tied by years of collaboration, respect, and authentic friendship. I can also say that most of the Russian event community is against this absurd war. I still have in mind the images of joy and brotherhood that have characterized recent editions of the Festival, which has always strived to build bridges between different cultures and languages. Today, however, it is necessary to be on the side of those who suffer from an unjustified war and against those who choose weapons and oppression as an instrument of confrontation. Accordingly, we feel close to the Ukrainian people with whom we share the pain and grief they are unjustly suffering. We are ready to welcome Russian agencies and companies back to our Festival as soon as peace is restored and the independence of Ukraine respected." 


MPI Statement on Russian-Ukraine Conflict:

"Meeting Professionals International condemns the acts of aggression from Russian forces and urges an expeditious end to the conflict with Ukraine. In a show of support for the people of Ukraine, MPI will immediately suspend business with all companies in Russia. In addition, any plans to formalize a chapter in Russia will be paused.

MPI is disheartened that an action like this is necessary, yet understands it is critical to ensure these violent acts are met with responsible action to help lead towards a peaceful resolution.

We remain concerned for the well-being of our community and our MPI members in Russia and Ukraine who were already seeking to climb out of the shadow of this pandemic and are now experiencing these unprecedented challenges."

European Cities Marketing President's Message:

“We are strongly condemning unilateral attacks on Ukraine, affecting the architecture that has given Europe peace and stability over many decades. We call on Russia to stop the violence and come up with a peaceful resolution of the fight. In those troubled days, more than ever, ECM is highly determined to keep its community strong and united, as destinations, as professionals, as friends and colleagues throughout its cities and nations, all over the European continent.

“All together, we are aiming to start again together a future of collective impact with tourism as an integral part of the shared DNA that unites our cities, communities and cultures in meaningful change.”

SITE statement on the situation in Ukraine:

"Our SITE chapter in Poland, led by chapter president Grazyna Grot-Duziak, is already actively supporting refugees from Ukraine who have crossed the border into Poland with transport, accommodation, food, medicines, cleaning products, medical and legal assistance, even making their own homes available for mothers with children.

They are routing financial donations through Polish Humanitarian Action, an aid organisation that has been responding to human tragedies caused by wars and natural disasters for over 25 years – “seeing in each of these crises the fate of another human being”. We have also identified two Ukraine-focused, aid organisations with 501 (c) 3 status in the US – Nova Ukraine and United Help Ukraine. Details of all can be found in the links below. We encourage all SITE members and chapters to help in whatever ways you can.

Finally, though nowhere near enough, our thoughts are with all of the individuals and families impacted by these events. We stand in solidarity, with all of you, in hope for a free and flourishing future."

Statement from PCMA on War in Ukraine:

"The unprovoked and unjustified attacks on the people of Ukraine prove that we, as a society, have more work to do. Social injustice — war — has no place, anywhere. Our global communities must be resolute in driving economic good to solve complex issues. We stand united against war and acts of evil against innocent civilians.

"We support people that believe in and live in a peaceful society. Our prayers are with all who are grieving, and it is our hope that peace will prevail quickly. PCMA is committed to contributing to the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. If you are interested in supporting the urgent need for food, water and shelter, please visit"

International associations in times of conflict by the Global Association Hub:

"(...) International associations have been taking early action, supporting their Ukrainian members and providing verifiable news-on-the-ground channels from and into Ukraine (so vital in an era of weaponised disinformation), encouraging Russian scientists and other influential figures to speak out against the war (many of whom have already done so), and encouraging acts of kindness and practical support, such as UITP, which is widely promoting the offers of free travel by its public transport members across Europe to all Ukrainian refugees, both between and within cities.

Just as COSPAR (The Committee on Space Research) provided an influential and de-escalating back-channel during the Cold War between US and USSR scientists, and through them to their countries' policymakers, every international association today should be thinking about how their own networks can help to influence Russia in the direction of peace. Each application of association soft power will help, no matter how small. It can't be business as normal until this conflict is resolved. The role and societal value of associations are even more important during such dreadful times," said the GAH International Advisor, Martin Sirk.

Statement on Ukraine by Destinations International:

"(…) Due to the Russian government’s unprovoked acts of violence, Destinations International will not engage in further business in Russia until a peaceful resolution takes place. We have made the decision to terminate the membership of our one member in Russia, the Saint Petersburg Convention Bureau, effective immediately.

Last week, we donated to World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organisation led by D.C. chef, José Andrés, that has been on the ground in Ukraine feeding displaced people since the outbreak of violence. We encourage our over 600 members and our partners throughout the world to show their support of the people of Ukraine in any way possible, including making charitable donations to World Central Kitchen or any other organization making a positive impact in Ukraine."

(News in progress)

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