• Sessions delve into hot topics for associations, including unlocking value, community building, dealing with disruptions and the impact of AI
  • Over 250 delegates and participants from around the world are attending the event

Dubai: The fourth edition of the Dubai Association Conference has kicked off with over 250 delegates and participants from around the world convening at the Dubai World Trade Centre today (27 February) to discuss issues and trends relevant to the association sector, including the impact of artificial intelligence, attracting and retaining members, dealing with disruptions, and community building. Among the attendees are thought leaders from the global association sector, as well as international and local association executives, government officials, and industry partners.

Among the key opening sessions was a fireside chat featuring Hoor Al Khaja, Senior Vice President, International Operations at Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, and Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at Dubai Chambers. In a discussion moderated by Nikki Walker, Global Vice President of Associations & Communities at MCI, they explored the growing role that associations are playing in global society and their importance in achieving the objectives laid out in the Dubai Economic Agenda ‘D33’, as well as their thoughts on innovation and sustainability, among other topics.

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, said: “A key priority of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 is to firmly place Dubai in the top three global urban economies within a decade, and the city’s association sector, spearheaded by DAC, is playing a crucial role in strengthening the emirate’s position as a global hub for business, trade, and investment.  With the rapid pace of change, innovation and disruption across all industries and professions globally, associations and the culture of collaboration they embrace, as well as their focus on sustainability and innovation, aligns with our own priorities in Dubai.

“By facilitating the establishment of professional associations and trade bodies in the city, DAC is boosting Dubai’s global competitiveness and nurturing a knowledge-based economy in line

with the objectives of D33, and we invite associations to join, explore and leverage the immense opportunities being unleashed.”

His Excellency Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, commented: “Dubai Chambers is committed to supporting international associations and maximising their economic and social impact, both in the region and globally. As an important pillar of the emirate’s present and future, associations will play a highly significant role as we embark on the next phase of economic, environmental, and social development. The continuous growth in DAC memberships has contributed to a large and vibrant association community in Dubai, attracting new businesses and FDI to the emirate and positioning Dubai as a key regional hub for the global association community.”

Taking place under the theme ‘Value Amplified: Associations Empowering Change’, the event began with an evening welcome reception featuring guided networking, at the Grand Hyatt Dubai yesterday (26 February), crafted and facilitated to enable delegates to meet new contacts. Today’s opening session, ‘Member Magnetism: Attraction and Retention’, delved into real-life examples of associations that have successfully adapted and redefined their offerings for members and a broader audience.

Other key sessions on day one included ‘Dealing with Disruptions’, which spotlighted how associations can enhance their resilience in today’s evolving business landscape. ‘Navigating an Association in Dubai’ saw DAC members share their diverse experiences, while ‘Strength in Unity: Crafting Vibrant Communities’, explored how to upgrade member experiences through trust, support, connections, empathy, and awareness.

The conference will conclude tomorrow (28 February) with sessions delving into the tangible advantages of artificial intelligence for associations, unleashing leadership potential, trends for the future of work, and achieving association goals.

Speakers providing their insights as thought leaders in the association and meetings sectors at the conference include: Mike van der Vijver, Conference Facilitator, MindMeeting; Geneviève Leclerc, Co-founder and CEO, #Meet4Impact; Martin Sirk, CEO, Sirk Serendipity; and Amy Hissrich, Vice President of International Affairs, ASAE. Meanwhile international and local association leaders and executives also sharing their knowledge and expertise include: Hoda Barakat, President, International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property National Group (AIPPI-UAE); David Macadam, Chief Executive Officer, MECS+R; Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General, International Association of Public Transport (UITP); and Philip K. Bell, President, Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA).


About Dubai Association Centre

The Dubai Association Centre (DAC) has been established by the Dubai Chambers, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and the Dubai World Trade Centre to offer assistance for the establishment of non-profit, apolitical and nonreligious professional associations and

trade bodies in the Emirate of Dubai. DAC offers a formal environment for associations to establish in Dubai allowing practitioners within a common industry or profession who are registered in the Emirate to form a member-based association.

Furthermore, DAC provides the framework for international associations to open a regional representative office in Dubai in order to conduct business in the UAE and beyond. As a result, associations are now able to benefit from economies of scale, experience in the association marketplace, flexibility and adaptability, buying power and centralised facilities of the Dubai Association Centre.

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Dubai Business Events

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Iman Dawod

Senior Communications Manager
Email: iman.dawod@bpggroup.com