UFI European Conference Comes to an End on a High Note

11th May, 2022
More than 170 expert industry professionals from 25 countries attended the event characterised by a sense of optimism about the future of the industry.

The 2022 UFI European Conference took place over the course of three days, putting the spotlight on important industry topics and challenges faced by exhibition and event industry professionals. UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, identified key themes of discussion, including post-pandemic recovery, new business models, the talent crisis, net zero and other sustainable questions. The event, which took place in Poznan, Poland, was hosted by Grupa MTP and offered a blend of keynote sessions, interactive workshops, networking and social activities.

The Conference opened with guest speaker Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO of Web Summit (pictured on the right), who discussed his take for the future of live events. During the interview he predicted: “I think we will keep running live events, but we are also always making solutions, technology, that can make the events even better.”

Other speakers included Misa Labarile from the European Commission, who talked about the new green & digital transition in the EU; Heiko Liemer from Bosch, who presented his support for live events as an exhibitor during a conversation with IAA Mobility Director Christine von Breitenbuch, and AMR International’s Denzil Rankine, who discussed how companies can transform at scale and speed. The conference was moderated by international speaker and moderator DanRam.

The format of the conference continues to evolve to better serve delegates, this time including a speed networking session, organised in collaboration with London-based industry recruitment agency Expocast, and the first live Exhibition Think Tank workshop.

UFI also welcomed to Poznan the six recipients of the association’s 2022 Next Generation Leadership grant, who have begun their nine-month leadership programme, culminating in the 89th UFI Global Congress in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman in November of this year. 

Hosts Grupa MTP gives back to the community

The conference host Grupa MTP, like many venues in Poland and across Europe, addressed the current crisis in neighbouring Ukraine, sharing how they have been providing support for refugees. CEO Tomasz Kobierski presented, with Natalia Urbanksa-Guss of Inspire Foundation their humanitarian initiatives in Poznan. Many delegates followed the host’s appeal and brought personal donations to Poznan. On Thursday, 200,000 euros worth of supplies arrived at the venue in six cargo truck convoy from Fondazione Fiera Milano in Italy.

Announcing the support, Fondazione Fiera Milano says: “The initiative gives continuity to the solidarity response that Fondazione Fiera Milano wished to give to the appeal launched by the Warsaw Fair through UFI (UFI - The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry)… in line with its mission which includes support for territories and communities…. The response of companies and organizations has been prompt and generous: since the start of the solidarity initiative, a total of over 100 tonnes of basic necessities have been collected including food and hygiene products, diapers, glasses, plates and disposable bowls. In addition to blankets, sleeping bags, toys.”

Grupa MTP, in celebrating their 100-year anniversary, invited delegates to recognise the occasion with a number of initiatives, including planting trees in the “UFI Pocket Garden” in the heart of their fairground.

Underlining the strong collaboration between the city of Poznan and Grupa MTP, city leaders joined the regular UFI Sports Club activities. Board member Marian Gorynia participated in the traditional UFI Running Club outing, while, at the inaugural UFI Cycling Club, the Mayor of Poznan, Jacek Jaƛkowiak, led delegates on a bike tour around the city.

Nick Dugdale-Moore, UFI Regional Director, Europe, says: “We were delighted to welcome our members and the wider community to Poznan for the European Conference. The power of meeting in person was plain to see as delegates were visibly happy to be able to reconnect after a long period apart to network, learn and share ideas. It was quite emotional and humbling to learn about how our hosts Grupa MTP and other members in Poland and around Europe have been supporting refugees from Ukraine, but despite this, there is a sense of optimism for our industry as we emerge from the pandemic. Thanks to everyone who came, and a special thanks to our hosts Grupa MTP for allowing us to share their 100-year anniversary with them in style.”

Tomasz Kobierski, CEO, Grupa MTP comments: “We were delighted to welcome the UFI community to Poznan, to meet in person once again after such a long time apart.   For us it was an extra special occasion as we were marking our 100-year anniversary, and we hope that our guests enjoyed our hospitality and got to know our beautiful city, while learning and making new business connections at the conference.  We are ready and waiting to welcome you back to Poznan soon!”

The UFI European Conference takes place annually in May or June. In 2020 and 2021, due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, the conference was held digitally. It has previously been hosted in Birmingham (2019), Verona (2018), Cologne (2017), Basel (2016) and Istanbul (2015). It is open to both UFI members and non-members and attracts a growing number of industry leaders from organisers, venues and service providers.

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