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ICCA and BestCities announce 2019 winners of Incredible Impacts Grants

The Incredible Impacts Programme, now in its third year, run collaboratively by ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance, has selected three winning associations as leading examples of excellence within the global meetings industry.

The programme sees associations trailblazing in the field making submissions that detail the unique qualities and legacies left by their conferences. An independent panel of industry experts selected the winners of this year’s Incredible Impacts grant as:

• European Lung Foundation in conjunction with European Respiratory Society

• International AIDS Society

• International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

The three associations from across the globe will each receive a grant worth US $7,500 towards future projects, in recognition of their hosted events excelling in areas such as legacy development, diversity and accessibility.

Showcasing a diverse range of events, the winning associations demonstrated an innovative, inclusive approach to ensure they left a lasting impact in their respective industries, as well as in the field of meetings and events that will go beyond their venue walls.

Making a difference to the local communities of where the conference is held, to engaging youths and other diverse groups in meetings, and influencing societal or governmental change are ways that conferences can leave a legacy.

With the Incredible Impacts Grant Programme, it is hoped the winners’ examples will be a source of reference and inspiration for other event planners in the future.


European Lung Foundation in conjunction with European Respiratory Society (ELF/ERS):

The ELF/ERS hosts events under it’s Healthy Lungs for Life (HLfL) campaign, which is launched each year during the ERS International Congress and is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of healthy lungs. The ERS Congress brings together lung professionals from around the world along with patients and the media, to meet under one roof and hear first-hand from experts and exchange knowledge.

Uniquely, the ELF/ERS hold lung testing events in each of the Congress host cities. The events are open to the public, meaning that not only those in the healthcare world, but the public, patients and non-delegates also benefit from the conference’s presence in the city. Leaving a legacy that saves lives, the ELF/ERS aims to have an impact on societal issues such as decision making, community well-being and social progress through their events. Delegates are also encouraged to hold their own Healthy Lungs for Life events across the globe.


International AIDS Society (IAS):

The International AIDS Society (IAS) leads collective action on every front of the global HIV response through its membership base, scientific authority and convening power. The IAS is the steward of the International AIDS Conference that, as the world’s largest conference on HIV and AIDS, sits uniquely at the intersection of science, advocacy and human rights, bringing together scientists, policy makers, healthcare professionals, people living with HIV, funders, media and community. The conference proudly hosts a scholarship programme designed to support individuals from resource-limited settings to drive positive social impact.


From young people, to activists and media, the IAS aim to expand their scholarship programme for future conferences. This will enable increased attendance of people who are most able to transfer knowledge acquired at the conference into the work they undertake in their communities.


International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN):

The ISPCAN, a non-profit organisation working to prevent child abuse, neglect and all forms of violence against children, hosts International Congresses in 3 different regions of the world each year. With their recent Caribbean Congress, they focused on bridging the gap between academic research and the work of practitioners serving vulnerable children targeted by sex tourism, by adding the voice of child abuse survivors and youths within the region. The Caribbean Congress was so important because Jamaica has recently developed a national action plan to address violence against children. ISPCAN congresses spark changes in policy, systems of care, and improve treatment & prevention programs.


All ISPCAN congresses also engage youth with a forum of their own design, from which they used social media channels and media attention to tell their stories. Involving youth helps in the process of driving social and governmental change, critical for the lasting legacy of the Congress and bettering the region.

ICCA CEO, Senthil Gopinath said: “ICCA is delighted to have been partnering with BestCities to communicate the importance of the impact of associations and their meetings on all aspects of society: from health and science to advocacy and human rights.


All three winners have proven exceptional efforts to address critical issues within their communities and host destinations, and to ensure inclusion across the globe. It is wonderful to see that all three winners have created awareness for critical issues such as child neglect, HIV and healthy lungs but also managed to develop programmes to include youth in their meetings and activities. Ensuring the education and involvement of new generations across all sectors will help to further progress human kind.”


Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said: “This year’s Incredible Impacts Programme submissions have been shining examples of innovative thinking and diversity in the meetings industry, demonstrating the impact and legacy we can leave behind us – particularly with the way each of them engaged with the younger generation.”


“Our winning associations should be congratulated on not only winning the grants, but also on being advocates and inspiring leaders to others in the field. We hope to see each association go on and create more inspiring events using the grants they’ve received, which will continue to shine a positive light on our industry.”

“We’re also pleased to hear that IAS’ next conference on HIV prevention science (HIV R4P) is taking place in Cape Town in 2020, and ELF have their upcoming annual Congress this year in Madrid.”


Full case studies on the Incredible Impacts winners can be found on the ICCA Knowledge Hub on and on the BestCities website at