The countdown is on to BestCities Global Forum, an annual gathering of industry thought-leaders, international associations and destinations that are members of BestCities Global Alliance. Taking place December 2–5 in Madrid, Spain, the event is firmly rooted in legacy and inclusivity, with the new Madrid Challenge encouraging partner destinations and associations to commit to a more sustainable and socially equitable future.
Following an 18-month hiatus of in-person meetings, Global Forum offers immersive learning and knowledge-sharing that emphasizes the interpersonal connection we’ve missed for so long. Sessions are centred on legacy and impact, with a discussion of options available for associations to collaborate with social entities and generate a legacy in host cities. One such opportunity is integrating people with disabilities, or people who belong to disadvantaged groups, into legacy building to bring about positive social change.
This year, a central part of the Forum is the Madrid Challenge, a collaborative effort between partner destinations and associations. On the first day of the Forum, destinations will be invited to sign up for BestCities’ Commitments to a Sustainable Future, a collection of recently revised Alliance standards that strives to make a positive impact in the world. BestCities destinations are audited against the Commitments annually, to ensure accountability and encourage actionable change.
Associations can participate in the Madrid Movement in several ways, such as incorporating legacy into their RFPs. Further details and actionable items will be solidified in the lead-up to the Forum, with feedback from associations solicited during events such as IMEX America, where BestCities and International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) will co-host a legacy workshop. BestCities has also collaborated with Strategic Thinkers to gain further insights for the challenge components for associations.
In addition to the Madrid Challenge, partners and associations can take immediate steps toward positive change by participating in 'Engage for Good', a Forum activity that raises funds for the Spanish Red Cross. Delegates will earn points for event engagement, such as logging into the attendee app, posting to the digital EventStream wall, and joining the Madrid Challenge. Points earned will be channeled into financial support for the Spanish Red Cross, and the most engaged participant will be recognized and honoured with a special prize.
Celebrating a transition back to in-person events, Global Forum is packed with group explorations, such as a visit to the Spanish Red Cross; meals at popular eateries such as the Haciendas Club, renowned for its farm-to-table philosophy, and Posada de la Villa, a tapas joint established in 1642; and guided walking tours of Madrid. Paired with the onsite Madrid Challenge, interactive legacy education, and support for a local charity, these activities are a key reason delegates won’t want to miss Global Forum in Madrid.