ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance Present the 2022 Incredible Impacts Winners

11th Sep, 2022

Legacy. Improving lives. Changing the world by changing the communities we live in. We can all play a part in building a fairer, healthier, and better society. The Incredible Impacts Programme – a joint initiative by the International Congress & Conference Association (ICCA) and BestCities Global Alliance is committed to legacy building. With this in mind, they are celebrating three outstanding Associations who’ve set the industry standard in the last 12 months and driven real change through passion, education, creativity, and fun.

As we move into a post-pandemic world and rediscover the power of what can be achieved when we come together in a shared space, this year’s Incredible Impacts winners are some of the most innovative we’ve seen since launching the awards 6 years ago. And what’s more, we are delighted to announce our winners will be speaking about their initiatives and experiences at the ICCA 61st Congress in Krakow November 6th – 9th 2022.

Lesley Williams, Managing Director, BestCities Global Alliance said: “We are truly inspired by the winners of this year’s Incredible Impacts program, all of whom have demonstrated leadership in advancing positive societal impact. These associations are united by a commitment to transformation and making a difference to peoples’ lives. Their work is an important reminder that meetings have the power to spark dialogue, shift perspectives and achieve systemic change.”

All the nominees deserve credit – and the judges faced a difficult task – but the three winners were dedicated to delivering change from the very heart of their geographical and cultural communities. From protecting our most precious natural resource to delving deep into the human brain, to using the beautiful game to improve health and well-being… these three excellent examples of public engagement merit widespread recognition.

The winners are:

  • International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

How do you bring the mystery and the intricacies of the human brain to life? And in doing so, remind people that good brain health equates to good health in general? You plan a series of interactive city-wide events bringing together experts, artists, students, and the general public. Glasgow went ‘brain mad’ across May and June when schools and the public discovered what makes the grey matter tick. Kids were encouraged to build brains – "ït’s like a marshmallow”- delegates were encouraged to explore brain installations, and Glaswegians empowered to become advocates for brain health and lead healthier, smarter lives.

Dr. Lorraine M. Work, Reader, School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health, College of Medical, Life & Veterinary Sciences - University of Glasgow commented: "In bidding for the BRAIN & BRAIN PET 2022 conference we wanted to leave an impact from the meeting for the people of the host city, Glasgow. Through support from the ISCBFM, charity (Brain Health Scotland, Alzheimer’s Research UK, British Heart Foundation) and an army of volunteers from the Universities of Glasgow, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Strathclyde we were delighted that we were able to achieve this legacy. The school “build-a-brain” workshops, in collaboration with Professor Stuart Allan & Dr Lizzie Burns, reached 600 primary school pupils, and our Brain Health Awareness Day allowed around 1500 people to learn more about their brain and how to keep it healthy. Feedback on the events was overwhelmingly positive and recognition of our achievements through an ICCA/Bestcities Incredible Impacts Awards allows us to look forward to future meetings to ensure a strong public engagement focus while also enabling us to build on the successes of our school workshops more widely."

  • International Water Resources Association (IWRA) 

Our most precious resource – water - is under threat and growing pressure from everywhere and anywhere around the world. IWRA’s innovative World Water Envoys Programme sought out five global ambassadors to represent their local communities operating on the front line of water security issues. From sanitation and homebuilding in the Dominican Republic to the safe access to surface and groundwater in New Delhi and Nepal. From water access rights in Zimbabwe to agrochemical pollution on The West Bank… five bold youth voices came to the fore. Five individuals stepping up and sharing their stories during a major international water event - IWRA's World Water Congress - and detailing their remarkable efforts to find adequate responses to these local challenges on a global stage.

Ignacio Deregibus, IWRA Deputy Executive Director: "This is, undoubtedly, a unique, special recognition for the efforts of those that contributed to the World Water Envoys Programme. Particularly, early career and young water professionals from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, as ambassadors of their local communities - during IWRA's World Water Congresses - to showcase and look for responses for the water security issues they currently face. These voices and their actions require constant support, equal opportunities, and more prominence in discussions for the efficient and effective use and management of the world’s most precious resource. This is central to IWRA’s mission, and to the future of our planet."

  • The University of the Faroe Islands - Football is Medicine 

The Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic - where 10% of the population is a registered footballer – and the perfect place to host an event showcasing the many benefits of playing soccer. Experts from all aspects of sports medicine, nutrition, and training delivered a compelling programme detailing how football can be used to enhance and enrich the lives of people everywhere. This is the world game as societal game changer; shaping physical and mental responses to recovery, ill-health, and well-being by using football as a way for us all to live happier and healthier lives. 

Magni Mohr, Professor, University of the Faroe Islands and University of Southern Denmark said: “The Football is Medicine initiative has grown into a large international platform solidly supported by scientific research and with several strong sport concepts targeting children, adults, the elderly and various patient groups. The FIM-20 conference in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands had an immense impact on Faroese society, but we truly believe that the FIM-concept can have global impact on health promotion and well-being. We have now joined forces with the World Health Organisation and hosting the next FIM event in Doha, Qatar in October, is an initiative that arose from the Faroese conference.”

Senthil Gopinath, Chief Executive Officer, ICCA: “Each year the Incredible Impacts Winners surprise, delight and inspire. This year has been an exceptional year, especially as the Associations industry has moved out of pandemic mode and taken our first steps to being together as a collective community in a physical sense. The sheer scope of ambition, integrity and creativity displayed by our winners shows how hard one has to work to cut through and engage effectively with an audience. Our winners certainly cut through and the legacy of what they bring to their own communities and us as a wider audience, will resonate for a very long time.”

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