BestCities names new Chair, new Young Leaders grants and destination for next Global Forum

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BestCities names new Chair, new Young Leaders grants and destination for next Global Forum

BestCities Global Alliance made three announcements at Day 1 of IMEX in Frankfurt, 21 May, and include Cape Town becoming the new Chair of the consortium’s board.

The Alliance also announced its Global Forum 2019 would take place in Copenhagen and that it would be launching a Young Leaders grant programme.

Corne Koch, Head of Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau, was elected to Chair the Board of BestCities. She takes over from Jeannie Lim of Singapore who had served a year in the role.

The BestCities Board is comprised of Koch and senior representatives from the other 11 BestCities destinations – Berlin, Bogotá, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Dubai, Houston, Madrid, Melbourne, Singapore, Tokyo, and Vancouver.

“For the past five years I have been privileged to be part of a passionate community who share a vision of delivering exceptional service to its clients, while at the same time being a responsible and relevant body. I have been part of the work done in designing a new strategic intent for the Alliance that addresses customer experience, connecting communities and providing innovative thought leadership,” said Koch.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities Global Alliance welcomed Corne Koch as the new Board Chair: “Looking ahead, Corne will play a key role in driving forward the strategic direction of the Alliance, as we continue to work with our global community to create positive impacts. We are committed to creating stronger and lasting legacies, and we are excited about what Corne will bring to her role, with her extensive experience from over 15-years in the industry.”

BestCities Global Alliance also announced that Michael Drake, Director of Sales, Meetings & Conventions of Tourism Vancouver, has taken up the position of Treasurer of the Board and Executive Committee. Iris Lanz, Director Conventions of the visitBerlin Berlin Convention Bureau, will join the Executive Committee.

The Inspiring Young Leaders programme, meanwhile, will see the first two organisations to be awarded the Inspiring Young Leaders grant of $1,000; they are the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG) and the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME).

ISUOG plan to use their grant to fund its ‘Young Investigators’ event at their 29th annual congress in Berlin in October 2019. This event brings together promising junior researchers and leading senior research leader in similar fields, allowing them to connect and engage. ISME will use their grant to fund the attendance of African students to ISME’s 18th international symposium, taking place in Cape Town in 2020.

Jane Cunningham, BestCities Global Alliance, said: “We are delighted to award our first inspiring young leaders grants to these two progressive organisations.  Knowing these grants will engage with young people in Berlin later this year and Cape Town in 2020 will have a great impact on future association members in these communities.”

Sarash De Wilde, ISME, said: “As a non-profit in the field of ecology we often struggle to get young researchers from developing regions to our conferences and connecting with their international peers – which is a truly priceless opportunity for evolving future careers.

“This award will help us connect students from developing regions and allow them to attend in our upcoming conference in Cape Town, South Africa. I speak on behalf of those who will now get to attend when I express my gratitude for the priceless experience we’ll be able to offer young researchers in the field.”

Sarah Johnson, ISUOG, added: “We’re so pleased to be supported by the Best Cities’ Inspiring Young Leaders grant to continue this work at our forthcoming World Congress in Berlin, allowing our most promising new researchers to build their professional network and learn more about our industry.”

Meanwhile, Exploring the Congress of the Future – Fortifying Impact will be the core theme underlying this year’s BestCities Global Forum, taking place in Copenhagen 8–11 December 2019.

Working in collaboration with the Danish Design Centre and the futurologists of Public Futures, BestCities and CCB will develop future scenarios that congresses of 2040 may encounter.

The Global Forum programme will be hosted by David Meade, lecturer and researcher in International business and Strategy at the University of Ulster.

For more information on BestCities and its upcoming events including the BestCities Global Forum in Copenhagen (8-11 December 2019) visit

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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