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Sarawak Celebrates Business Events at 59th ICCA APRH Congress

Kuching, 5th November 2020: The Asia Pacific Regional Hub congress for the 59th International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has just ended with a remarkable response from the Asia Pacific business events industry, making Sarawak the first ever ICCA Asia Pacific regional hub to champion for the legacies of conventions, globally known as legacy impacts.

The 3-day educational affair began on 1st – 3rd November 2020 and was centred around the theme of ‘Tribe Legacy ICCA’ featuring over 25 regional and international speakers including Gary Grimmer of GainingEdge (Australia) who spoke on the importance of convention legacies in today’s business events world and Soren Birkelund Pedersen from Inspiring Denmark (MeetDenmark) whose key message was on legacy planning and implementation to influence tangents and outcomes from legacies.

One talent who stole the spotlight at the Asia Pacific regional congress was Sarawakian musician, artist and community influencer, Alena Murang, who captivated the audience with her oral tradition and storytelling inspired by her Kelabit heritage. Borneo Convention Centre Kuching’s CEO, Eric Van Piggelen, shared the outcomes of a retrospective legacy case study made on the ICCA Congress Kuching 2016 and Associate Professor Dr. Margaret Chan disclosed her case study on the 1st International Conference on Education in the Digital Education (ICEdDE) 2019 and its potential to influence policy makers on endorsing innovative teaching practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The regional congress theme speaks very closely to the aspirations of the Sarawak Government, which are to reduce social exclusion, economic disparities and our carbon footprint. Business events have been specially selected to lead the way for Sarawak’s sectoral, economic, political and community development under the Sarawak Economic Action Council,” stated Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah, Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture cum Minister of Youth and Sports. “The congress is fortifying Sarawak as a knowledge hub in the field of legacy which we strongly believe will be the next big topic in the global business events industry”.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Mr. Hii Chang Kee, stated that “Sarawak is fortunate to have a set of excellent speakers from all over the world to make the Asia Pacific congress relevant for the industry. Our deepest gratitude goes to our strategic partners ICCA and GainingEdge for the solid support throughout the congress; associations and industry partners who played a vital role in securing and shaping the outcome of the congress.”

One of the feature speaker for the congress was Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak)’s Acting CEO, Amelia Roziman. Under her session ‘Soft Power of Conventions’, Amelia also revealed the results of a year-long legacy impact study of 12 participating conventions that were held in Sarawak in 2019. “What we discovered was that the traditional way of assessing a convention’s return of investment – head counts and hotel room nights – is out of the door. The new lens is on how conventions can transform our current economic and social system into one that delivers human wellbeing and social justice.”

“Out of the 4 legacy pillars of sector, economy, governance and community, the findings have shown that every convention made a significant contribution with an impact to Sarawak’s 7 Key Focus Areas to be measured against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Another focal point is on the congress-led Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project called ‘Gift of Love: Batang Ai Community Library” whereby a library was constructed at Nanga Ukom longhouse to help shape the livelihoods of children and young adults for the 7 longhouses communities. The library is a continuation of the legacy created back in 2016 for the 55th ICCA Congress held in Kuching and is also a pilot project for the newly developed legacy impact measurement instrument to study its effectiveness in helping children remain in school.

The library is a collaboration between Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), 55th ICCA Congress Local Host Committee and exclusive sponsor, Sarawak Energy Berhad. Supporting partners include Librarians’ Association of Malaysia and Sarawak State Library; the latter furnishing a quantity of 500 books for readers aged 5-15 years old in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

The opening ceremony is scheduled to be held on the 27th November 2020 at Nanga Ukom longhouse, Batang Ai, with the attendance of Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture cum Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah. Individuals, associations and corporate organisations are encouraged to donate story books and educational books in English and Bahasa Malaysia. Details can be found on BESarawak’s Facebook page – @businesseventssarawak.

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