14th Round Table Europe – 18 & 19 November 2021


Cyril Ritchie

President of UIA

Keynote: 'Associations in the World: Speaking Truth to Power'

Associations are essentially groupings of citizens who have joined together to promote a good cause (human rights, environmental protection, aid to refugees, gender equality, good health and a thousand more) or to eliminate an evil (human trafficking, recruitment of child soldiers, racism and far too many more). Many associations are academic, scientific, technical, professional or legal, setting and raising national and international standards.

Associations thus exert - increasing ? - influence in public affairs both nationally and internationally, and their voices must be heard in the corridors of power: whether in parliaments, ministries, municipal councils, corporate board rooms, or United Nations conference halls.

The UIA President's Keynote will explore the What, Why, How and When of all the above.

Workshop: 'The United Nations and Civic Associations'

The United Nations System, now in its 76th year, has achieved and made possible vastly more good in the world than its founders imagined in 1945. A few illustrations would be Rights of the Child, the Law of the Sea, International Telecommunications coordination, World Heritage protection, the advancement of women, safeguarding biodiversity, peacekeeping...

The United Nations - or rather its member governments – have also fallen short in too many areas: preventing armed conflicts and genocide, reversing climate change, short-circuiting health crises, getting all girls into primary schools...

In all the above, the role of Civic Associations (NGOs, CSOs, CBAs, PVOs, MGoS...) has been permanent but often undervalued or simply overlooked, whether in operational fieldwork or in advocacy for better solutions. The Workshop will describe these often nebulous contributions towards achieving a more just world, and examine how to enhance results-oriented participation.


President of UIA – Union of International Associations (since 2017)

First Vice-President of CoNGO – Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (since 2018), formerly President (2011-2018)

Honorary President of the Council of Europe Expert Council on NGO Law (since 2018), formerly President (2008-2018)

Senior Policy Advisor of WFC – World Future Council (since 2012)

Chair of ELCI – Environment Liaison Centre International (since 2000)

Titular of the World Order of the Smile (since 1979)

President of ICSFD – International Civil Society Forum for Democracy (2006)

Chair of WOCSOC – World Conference on Civil Society (1999)

Executive Director of ICVA – International Council of Voluntary Agencies (1964-1978 and 1990-1991)

Nina Gabatan

Manager for Membership and Business Development, World Steel Association

Workshop: 'The road to membership retention is engagement.'

In this session, Nina will share their process in worldsteel on how they engage and retain members.

  • How well do you know your members: leaders, influencers, followers and gatekeepers?
  • Value proposition versus members’ expectations
  • Being agile
  • Membership Report Card: an annual engagement report to members


    Nina is an associations’ professional for over 15 years. She is Manager Membership and Business Development in World Steel Association (worldsteel), a not-for profit industry association based in Brussels, Belgium. It represents about 85% of global steel production and its membership has presence in all regions and in more than 50 countries around the world. In her position, her focus is membership engagement and retention.

    Nina has an Executive Master’s in international Association Management from the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management in Brussels as well as an MBA degree in Strategic Management from the Maastricht School of Management (The Netherlands) in partnership with the Washington University (USA). She also has a diploma in Marketing Management (The Netherlands), and a Bachelor’s in Science degree in Commerce (Philippines).

    Her previous experience includes finance and budget management, marketing and development work for small and medium industries and NGOs, as well as customer service management and business planning.

    Nina enjoys meeting and working with people from different culture and background. The exposure helps her gain valuable perspectives and to be grounded.

  • Sara Polak


    Workshop: 'AI as the next revolution and evolution of society'

    AI as the next revolution and evolution of society. The need for a multidisciplinary approach and the importance of education around AI in order to scalably apply it in society.


    Sara is an Oxford-educated archaeologist and anthropologist, with a PhD in human cognition and music. For the last 6 years she has worked in tech companies across the UK, USA, and New Zealand. She is now spearheading the Czech artificial intelligence initiative as a part of prg.ai, bringing together industries, academics, the state, and startups to harness Czech Republic's AI talent and build it into a global AI hub. One of her main focuses has been Neuron soundware, who are revolutionising manufacturing through using audio signals to predict whether machines are going to break or not, leading industry 4.0 in predictive maintenance. Having come from archaeology, Sara’s passion is to help institutions and individuals navigate our next social evolutionary stage, which will be dominated by AI-based technologies and revolutionise the way we organise and function as an economy, state, society, and community. She is now doing that as a part of Startup Disrupt and a co-founder of Innovation Disrupt House to ensure latest innovations get adopted scalably in society.

    Marc Mekki

    Innovation Coach at Inspire Limitless

    Workshop: 'Innovation through Design Thinking '

    What would be the impact for your business or organisation if your management teams could unleash a powerful reservoir of latent creativity and resourcefulness to propel productivity, morale and bottom line to new heights?

    In a volatile and changing world where disruptive startups, climate issues, regulation and geo-politics can wreak havoc on traditional business models, can you really afford NOT to wield the tools and techniques that even the world’s most powerful companies leverage to survive and thrive? From corporations like Apple and Nike to small museums, non-profits and NGOs, Design Thinking has helped shape some of the greatest products and services of the last 40 years.

    The price for inaction in the 2020’s is becoming untenably high while the dynamics of work are changing in front of our eyes on what seems like a daily basis.

    Design Thinking will empower your teams and give them the confidence to excel no matter what the world throws at us next.

    This session offers an engaging introduction to this powerful methodology and mental framework.

    View a video introduction to this session


    Marc is a speaker, author, coach and advisor on digital innovation, design thinking and the future of travel. Having spent the last 20 years taking up entrepreneurship challenges in China, Europe and the Middle East, Marc is well placed to offer actionable advice and to co-strategise on innovation, change management and creative thinking. Since 2009 Marc has been invited to speak, train and coach in Europe, Asia, Middle East, and South America for organisations like Amadeus, ICCA, Dorchester Collection, Meet in Flanders and many more. He is a contributing author for Boardroom Magazine, Arabian Business and Association Meetings International on innovation and futurism. Marc holds a Design Thinking certification from MIT Sloan School of Management.

    Workshop: 'Hybrid events: Everything you need to know'

    The COVID-19 pandemic crisis greatly accelerated so many trends that were already underway. For example, organizations learned that remote work really can work, employees have found that they enjoy working remotely some or all of the time, and new technologies have been developed and will continue to be developed that make remote collaboration easier and easier.

    As the world slowly opens up again, businesses and event planners are exploring how conferences, congresses, and meetings can best serve this global post-lock down world. One thing is sure, the business world is not going to return to how it was pre-pandemic with a default to in-person meeting for everything.

    The aim of this workshop is to discuss the challenges and opportunities for associations when converting their congresses to hybrid. What should be the role of CVB in a virtual and hybrid world of meetings? Prof. Radomír Kužel will share his fresh experience from the organization of the 25th Congress of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), which took place in Prague in August 2021 and attracted 1200 virtual and 500 onsite delegates.


    Prof. Radomír Kužel

    International Union of Crystallography

    Author or co-author of more than 150 publications in international journals and reviewed proceedings and more than 100 other contributions in journals and conference materials with about 2500 citations, H-index according WOS - 30. About 15 invited lectures at international conferences and meetings.

    2006-2013: Member of the Executive Committee of the European Crystallographic Association (ECA)

    2014-2021: Member of the Executive Committee of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr),

    2004-2014: Member of the EPDIC committee Member of the Size-Strain conference committee since 1995

    Since 1992 – Secretary of the Czech and Slovak Crystallographic Association (CSCA).

    2011 – 2017 Chair of the Regional Czech and Slovak Committee of the IUCr.

    Since 1994 – Editor-In-Chief and technical editor of the journal: Materials Structure in Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Technology, published by the CSCA (ISSN 1211-5894).

    Chairman of the IX. European Powder Diffraction Conference (EPDIC), Prague, September 2004, 350 participants

    Secretary of the 18th European Crystallographic Meeting, ECM-18, Prague (1000 participants)

    Chair of the 25th Congress of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), Prague, Hybrid Congress with 1700 participants (500 onsite and 1200 virtual participants)

    Bas Schot

    The Hague Convention Bureau & Hybrid City Alliance Co-Founder

    Bas Schot works as Head of Convention Bureau and member of the Management Team of The Hague & Partners for more than 5 years. Before that, Bas worked for 18 years as a Professional Congress Organizer (PCO) at various international agencies in the management of association congresses around the globe. Bas currently manages a team of sales managers, marketing communication employees and a sales support and coordination team on a daily basis.

    Roman Muška

    Prague Convention Bureau & Hybrid City Alliance Co-Founder

    Roman started his career in the MICE segment 25 years ago as Project Manager working for an international DMC & PCO. Since 2011 he served as the Country Manager of a global PCO - AIM Group International in Prague. In 2013, he became a member of the Prague Convention Bureau Board of Directors and in 2015 its first Vice President. Since January 2016 he became fully involved in the Prague Convention Bureau as the Managing Director.

    Ryan Brubaker

    UIA – Union of International Associations

    "Achieving goals, finding partners: UIA’s Global Civil Society Database"

    UIA provides tools and data to help associations with their outreach, event planning and more. Ryan will present a number of UIA's tools, including a live demo of 'Open Yearbook' and 'Open Calendar', explain the history and future plans of the Global Civil Society Database, and will answer questions about how associations can best take advantage of these free resources.


    Ryan has worked as a web and database developer at UIA since 2011. He is responsible for the user interface of UIA's databases, the ongoing development of its website and the visual identity of the organization. He also provides regular training sessions on the use of UIA's Yearbook of International Organizations and International Congress Calendar digital publications. Before joining UIA, Ryan ran a communications design studio crafting online identities for associations and small businesses.


    Questions about the Round Table, or about joining us as a partner?

    We are happy to hear from you!

    Clara Fernández López, clara@uia.org