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Business Events Sydney welcomes another 10 top Australian academics and business leaders to its Ambassador Program

Another 10 Australian luminaries – including two University Vice Chancellors – have joined forces with an already prestigious group of bright minds who are passionate about profiling Sydney’s intellectual capital and achievements to the world. 

These new industry leaders were invested as Business Events Sydney (BESydney) Ambassadors at a gala event on Wednesday 19 November in Sydney.

Amongst them, Professor Caroline McMillen, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle and Professor Annabelle Duncan, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the University of New England join the 78 other Ambassadors from Australia and around the world in the BESydney program. 

The 10 new investees were formally welcomed to the program by New South Wales (NSW) Deputy Premier Troy Grant in a ceremony that honoured both their individual and collective contributions to NSW’s success on the global stage.

“BESydney’s Ambassadors are recognised as global achievers. Their professional achievements set them apart and it is a privilege to take part in recognising their valuable contribution. It is no secret we want to make NSW Australia’s business capital, and programs such as this directly contribute to NSW’s reputation and profile as a centre for commerce, creativity and culture,” said Mr Grant.

“We know business events are more than tourism drivers. They are conduits for connecting industry, academia, government and the private sector. And, when bright minds come together, amazing things happen. Creativity happens. Discovery happens. Innovation happens. The world moves one step closer to solving a global problem.”

BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith highlighted the Ambassador Program as having played an essential role in BESydney’s international success, helping Sydney to win some of the most prestigious global events for the city.

Over the past decade, BESydney has secured events worth an estimated economic impact of $1.7b to NSW. The organisation has also confirmed 18 events with an estimated economic value of more than $145 million, for the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) at Darling Harbour, which is scheduled to open in December 2016.

“Competition is fierce, particularly from the Asia-Pacific region, for international conferences and events. The bid process has long lead times – like bidding for the Olympics or the World Cup – and each proposal is highly targeted and focused on the strengths of our industry sectors and leading talent, which together makes NSW a highly respected place for business.

“We’re creating the opportunities of the future for collaboration and innovation across a plethora of sectors. This is exciting. And tapping into the networks, knowledge and expertise, the assistance provided by our ambassadors is priceless. They are vital assets for our organisation as we compete globally for the world’s most sought-after business events.

“We are thrilled that so many internationally renowned leaders, based both in Sydney and abroad, are willing to help BESydney and the NSW Government with our vision to be global leaders in the business event sector and contribute to the future of our State, driving innovation and productivity, which in turn brings millions of dollars of economic and social benefits to the city and State,” Ms Lewis-Smith said. 

Guests were treated to a special performance from Jemma Rix, who plays the lead role of Elphaba in the long-running musical Wicked, while the keynote speech was delivered by Professor Stephen Simpson, ARC Laureate Fellow, School of Academic Sciences and Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre.

Professor Simpson spoke of the Charles Perkins Centre’s world-first model to foster innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration to solve today’s complex problems – a model that could be applied to all industry sectors.  

Launched in 2009, BESydney’s Ambassadors provide access to networks and expertise of global leaders spanning the fields of medical research, information technology, arts and culture, engineering, business and science. 

It has been identified by the NSW Government as having a key role to play in its economic development strategy. Over the past couple of years, BESydney has worked closely with the NSW Government to align the events it pursues with the sectors that have been identified as the state’s competitive strengths. Of the 18 events secured for ICC Sydney, the majority fall into these priority areas.

The BESydney Ambassador Dinner and Investiture is a gala evening held each year to formally recognise and celebrate the inspiring individuals that help to make the Ambassador Program, now celebrating its fifth anniversary, a success.

Other Ambassador investitures included:
• Professor Glenn Wightwick, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President Research at UTS
• Professor Benjamin Eggleton, ARC Laureate Fellow and Director CUDOS, ARC Centre of Excellence in Photonics
• Dr Paul Rowland, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Engagement) University of Western Sydney
• Professor John Mattick, Executive Director of the Gavan Institute
• Professor Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at Macquarie University
• Mr Ron Burton, Past President of Rotary International
• Professor Sue Thomas, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Research), Charles Sturt University
• Ms Lucinda Corrigan, Director of Rennylea Pastoral Company Pty Ltd.

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