How to win international congress bids

Expert Opinion
How to win international congress bids

A global reputation and an ability to handle long-term, complex activity are the critical factors for scientists when considering a destination’s candidacy for hosting an international congress, according to leading Czech conference ambassador, professor Julius Špičák.

Professor Špičák was instrumental in bringing the International Congress of World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) to Prague in 2020.

The Czech capital has won the right to hold the congress after its annual edition in Istanbul, Turkey, in September 2019.

The work on Prague’s candidacy lasted more than a year, says the professor, who was the local ambassador for the city’s bid for the event.

Professor Špičák has been actively involved in the organisation of congresses and conferences since 1990 and the WGO 2020 Congress is expected to be the second largest congress event in the field of gastroenterology.

Professor Špičák was recently honoured for his work at this year’s Prague Ambassador Awards Evening, held by Prague Convention Bureau.

The WGO 2020 Congress will take place in the new O2 universum centre, which was still under construction during the bid process.

The fact that the congress centre was still under construction during the bid process did not matter so much, the professor says, noting: “We won the candidacy because we have a reputation and that the WGO believed we were able to handle it, including financially. It is a big challenge.”

The professor cut his teeth organising the national Congress of the Czech Gastroenterology Society in Karlovy Vary back in the 1990s. Although he considers his breakthrough congress came with the ESGE International Congress which included a live broadcast of endoscopic methods in 1993.

He has taken risks and put his reputation ‘live’ and believes that pushing the boundaries and succeeding has stood him and the city in good stead. “We went to the unknown and succeeded. The broadcast technology was all Greek to us, but in the end it met all the requirements, and we had a great international response, from which we are still benefiting,” the professor says.

Professor Špičák emphasises that a capacity for long-term, complex activity to be one of the key factors for any scientists thinking about joining the candidacy process. “It is not possible to co-operate on a candidacy without the worldwide reputation of the team,” he adds. “The team has to publish regularly, communicate, has to be organisationally capable and mainly – to have a fierce will to do this job,” he notes.

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