UFI Executive Committee Agrees on New Measures in View of Ukrainian Situation

Representatives of UFI members from Russia have been temporarily suspended from UFI events and activities; UFI will also launch a designated donation

11th Mar, 2022

UFI condemns the military actions by the Russian leadership and calls on the Russian leadership to implement the UN resolution. The association continues to highlight and support humanitarian actions undertaken by UFI members.

The Executive Committee of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, met in an extraordinary session to discuss the association’s continuing response to the military actions ordered by the Russian government in Ukraine.

The committee has reviewed the actions taken by UFI since the onset of the attacks, beginning with the initial statement on the first day of the Russian military action, and the subsequent focus on humanitarian assistance. The committee acknowledged and applauded the work of many UFI members across the region who have provided shelter and support for refugees. From converting venues into refugee shelters to bringing supplies from across Europe, the level of aid and solidarity from businesses and individuals in the industry has been outstanding.

On 1 March, UFI made a call for donations to better support the work of institutions helping on the ground – the International Red Cross, UNIFEC, and UNHCR. Now, the committee has decided to launch a consolidated call for donations through the association.

As a global trade association, UFI statutes state that the organisation is non-political; however, the very concept of international coexistence is based on the foundations of human collaboration. With this in mind, the Executive Committee states the following:

“UFI’s mission is to drive collaboration within the exhibitions and business events industry. As such, our association, along with all collaborative international organisations, relies on a foundation of respect for all individuals and adherence to a rules-based order. The military actions launched by the Russian government in Ukraine contradict our most fundamental principles. They cannot be allowed to stand. The UN General Assembly, in a rare emergency session, has passed a resolution that lays out a path forward to end this aggression and restore peace in the region, with an overwhelming majority.”

Based on this resolution, the Executive Committee has made the following decisions: 

  • UFI condemns the military actions ordered by the Russian leadership, and calls on the Russian leadership to implement the UN resolution;
  • UFI will temporarily suspend access to UFI events and activities for representatives from Russian member businesses;
  • UFI has no ongoing sponsorship arrangements with Russian businesses, and will not enter into any new agreements;
  • UFI has no events or on-site activities planned in Russia, and will not award any UFI events or on-site activities to Russia;
  • UFI will continue to highlight and support the humanitarian actions undertaken by members to support the people who suffer from this conflict.

In line with the UFI Statutes, the full Board of Directors will review and adapt, if necessary, this set of provisions at its next session in eight weeks, ahead of the UFI European Conference in Poznan, Poland.

Commenting on the decisions on the Executive Committee, UFI Managing Director and CEO Kai Hattendorf states, “I am grateful for our association’s leadership, coming from twelve countries/markets from all over the world, to come to this clear response - balancing our association’s non-political stance while standing up for humanity. UFI stands for humanity, and therefore we #standwithukraine.

At the core, our industry is about people, and UFI is here to connect people. We also understand that we must differentiate between the actions of the Russian leadership and the Russian people.

Right now, we must focus on ending the inhumane activities. Right now, we must focus on emergency humanitarian support, to help as many individuals as we can, as an industry. Only then can we use the role of events to help to heal the human, the cultural, and the economical wound, that will persist long after the violence has ended.”

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