UIA Associations Round Table Europe, 2022


Cyril Ritchie

President of UIA

Keynote: "Politics, War, Peace, Associations….."

WOW, that’s a plateful, even for a UIA Round Table.

Today’s world seems ever more uncertain. What are the relationships that exist, don’t exist, or should exist between, on the one hand, the year-round life and programmes of altruistic / professional / environmental and other on-the-ground Associations; and on the other hand the realities of politics, war and apparently-unattainable peace? Are Associations adequately structured – and funded – to be informed of and responsive to harsh ‘real world’ conditions and constraints? What two-way (or ten-way) communications mechanisms are needed to keep the association boat afloat on the choppy waters of fake news and/or shrinking civil space and/or political populism?

The Keynote will pose questions to which only individual Associations can respond, but will underline some cardinal principles of association ethics.


Union of International Associations: President since 2017 - Bruxelles

Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO): President 2011-2018; First Vice President 2018-2025 - Geneva, New York, Vienna

Council of Europe Expert Council on NGO Law: President 2008- 2018; Honorary President from 2018 - Strasbourg

World Future Council: Senior Policy Advisor since 2012 - Hamburg

Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI): Chair since 2000 - Nairobi

Titular of the World Order of the Smile (since 1979) – Government of Poland

International Civil Society Forum for Democracy (ICSFD, 2006): President - Doha

World Civil Society Conference (WOCSOC, 1999): President - Montreal

International Council of Voluntary Agencies: Executive Director 1964-1978 and 1990-1991 - Geneva

Glen Hodgson

Founder & CEO, Free Trade Europa

“Technology and Challenges for Think Tanks”

This session will look at the rise of social media, the increasingly crowded information space where everyone can be a publisher/influencer and the threat that this poses to established think tanks. The presentation will also highlight the elements that think tanks need to look at and focus on to meet this trend head-on, cut through the noise and remain relevant. The principle message will be that think tanks need to adapt to the new reality while their content, communications channels and delivery need to adapt too.


With over twenty years’ experience in communications, public affairs and lobbying, Glen is the founder of the think tank Free Trade Europa. Glen also leads a stakeholder initiative on the platform economy in the Nordics.

Glen was previously responsible for the Nordics, Baltics and Central & Eastern Europe within an international communications agency. Prior to this he worked for the European institutions as well as governments, blue-chip international companies, start-ups and NGOs as a lobbyist, strategist and communications advisor.

Glen was also the Secretary General of a European trade association for five years. Today, Glen is a respected commentator on European affairs, as well as a frequent presenter, moderator and panellist at European policy events. Glen is also a trainer and coach on technology, migration, labour force, transport and sustainability policy as well as communications techniques for the public and private sectors.

Lars Crama

Keynote: "It takes a village to raise a startup"

Lars will share his first hand learnings from leading the public-private collaboration Up!. Launched in 2019, the program now supports over 1600 startups in scaling up their impact. In co-creation with a network of more than 60 partners, providing better access to talent, international markets, capital and networks. He looks forward to a conversation with UIA participants about building strong ecosystems.


Lars spent fifteen years leading high growth Scale-up and Fortune 500 ventures across four continents. In 2015, he left traditional business to invest in networked organizations on the intersection of innovation and positive societal impact instead.

Since then, he has built an innovation advisory collective, an angel investor cooperative, a circular business incubator and a co-created startup festival. He also finds time for several non-executive roles, including the Supervisory Board of Rotterdam Partners.


Ivo J. Franschitz

Founder & Owner of ENITED business events

"Becoming a SMART association"

Stay connected and remain relevant for your current & future members, your stakeholders and your global community of common interest, at large. The biggest challenge for every association is to be and remain relevant in their respective field of expertise, in an extremely fast-moving world of information & knowledge, with instant accessibility and while facing the individuals' scarcity of time. In this 40-minutes workshop/discussion, we will take a closer look into the necessary transformation and its journey to become a SMART(er) association.

The need to transform the association into a community platform of knowledge & experiences, making use of business events as catalysts for their development & growth, leading to a more sustainable future. And creating business events as live communication stages, where people come together in inspiring surroundings, experience new ideas and innovations, and engage in the design of solutions.

STEP I – Level-up your methods of engagement.
STEP II – Dare to break some old habits.
STEP III – Set the new framework of engagement with the destination.

It's about defining the NEXT normal in the international association world.


“I live what I do and I love what I do. To me, being passionate about something means not being satisfied with the first result that comes along. It means aiming at the best result.”

Ivo J. Franschitz owns a Master degree in International Marketing from the Vienna University of Economics and his early career milestones include Senior Marketing & Management positions in the Tourism and Business events industry.

Currently he holds a Board member position with EMBA (Event Marketing Board Austria) and with LiveCom Alliance, as well as being an active member of ICCA and of 27NAMES. His qualifications include an ISO certification (Certified Event Expert).

Yash Gurbani & Cyrus Walther

International Association of Physics Students

"The future belongs to the young: What brings young members into international associations and unions?"

The youth is arguably the future of every association and union around the world and probably also fundamental for the growth and continuity of your association. But what moves the youth? What is the drive young people have to join an international association? Does your association or union have these aspects that catch their attention?

In our workshop, we invite you to a guided discussion about finding value for young people in your association and we encourage you to acquire the point of view of this generation. With audience interaction and case studies from our association, we highlight the importance of events and outreach in seeking young members. Lastly, with insides from an association whose members solely consist of young people, we will not shy away from presenting to you how we get our own members involved. We are looking forward to seeing you there.


Cyrus Pan Walther is the President of the International Association of Physics Students, representing the global community of Physics students and their interests. Completing his studies at the Technical University of Dortmund, his professional focus lies in machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence. Through his former position as the Events Manager, he obtained a skillset based on the landscape of International Student Associations. Focussing around creating value for members and fostering international connections, membership engagement belongs to his core focal points. Combined with his position as the Vice-Chair for Physics and Industry in the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), he is advocating the process of identifying and obtaining valuable resources for young members in associations of all kinds.

With an experience of five years of working with student associations, Yash Gurbani is passionate about science education, advocacy, and outreach. Currently, a graduate student studying Physics at Heidelberg University, he is interested in research areas like computational physics and complex systems. To represent physics students from his home country and give them an international platform, he worked on founding the Association of Indian Physics Students and now has been serving as the Outreach Manager of the International Association of Physics Students (IAPS) since 2021. He organizes events to promote science and has also worked on advocacy initiatives to promote equality, diversity, and well-being in physics students. He is also a representative in the Affiliate Commission 5 of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). An aspiring educator and researcher, he wishes to pursue his curiosity and share the joy it brings with others to make a meaningful change in the communities he is a part of.

Håkan Johansson

Lund University, Sweden

"Who rules civil society? Is there ‘an elite’ dominating European civil societies?"

National governments and international organizations engage civil society organizations in debates on pressing societal challenges, but who has actually a seat at the table? Drawing on research on civil society elites in Italy, Poland, Sweden, the UK and the EU level, this round table will offer some answers into questions like: What demographic backgrounds and types of capital open up for an elite career in civil societies? How can elite mobility between political, business and civil society be understood? What legitimacy losses is at stake as power and resources are centralized at the top of major civil society organizations?


Håkan Johansson is a professor at Lund university, Sweden. He has been widely engaged in studying civil society and social movements and has published on EU civil society, Europeanization of domestic civil societies and the limitation of civil societies’ democratic potentials. Currently he leads a research program titled “Civil society elites? Comparing elite composition, reproduction, integration and contestation in European civil societies” which addresses power and resource inequalities within civil societies for instance by studying elite biographies of civil society leaders (see wwwi.civilsocietyelites.lu.se).

Catherine Kalamidas

Rotterdam Partners

“The Dreamers & Doers: Rotterdam as a Living Lab for the Future of Events”

In this session we will take you back in time and show how the lessons of the past influence the decisions of the future. From Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, to the rebuilding of the city after WWII, to the regeneration of today’s Rotterdam: a future facing city, finding opportunities in challenges. We will look at how the goal of the Convention Bureau of Rotterdam Partners is goal to align the mission of incoming congresses and events with the city’s ambitions, contributing to the resilience of the city, and building a Rotterdam for generations to come.


Catherine Kalamidas joined the Rotterdam Partners CVB in 2016 and has since collaborated with Rotterdam’s triple helix of government, industry and academia to strategically acquire international congresses which align with the future ambitions of the city and its institutes. Her focus sectors include Life Science & Health, Agri-food, Digitalization & Sustainability. She has been active in the international events industry for more than 20 years, initially developing & organizing high level congresses in the maritime industry, and later serving as Director of Operations for an international PCO, leading the activities of the European Space Agency Conference Bureau. Catherine is on the Education Committee of the ICCA France Benelux Chapter and is a member of the Meetings Industry Steering Group of City Destinations Alliance.

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.