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Sparking connections: Sydney Speaker Series and Washington IDEAS Forum

What do Bumble, the Australian Ambassador to the United States, the CIA and a restraunteur have in common? They were all among a diverse group of speakers on the program for the 2016 International Sydney Speaker Series in the United States (US), which included participation at the renowned Washington IDEAS Forum.

Promoting the advantages of meeting in Australia’s global city, Business Events Sydney (BESydney) and International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) hosted some 30 clients at a VIP reception at the Australian Embassy in Washington on 27 September.

Guests were then invited to attend the Washington Ideas Forum, 28-29 September, which attracts some of America’s most intriguing leaders in policy, business, technology and culture. Keynote speakers for 2016 included David Chang, celebrity chef and Founder of the Momofuku Group; Whitney Wolfe, CEO and Founder of Bumble; and John Brennan, Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

This year’s US Sydney Speaker Series aligned with the Forum as part of Sydney’s dedicated client offering aimed at helping associations meet the challenges in the rapidly changing global environment. The International Sydney Speaker Series was launched last year with keynote speakers Frans Johansson, innovation expert, and Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

“Wi-Fi, Google Maps, the world’s first quantum bit and 3D-printed jet engine, and the manufacturing of human flesh and bone on a 3D printer are just a taste of the globally significant innovations that have emerged in recent decades from Australia or have been made by Australians living abroad,” said the Hon. Joe Hockey, Ambassador of Australia to the US, speaking to leading association CEOs and influencer guests at the Sydney Speaker Series event. “These global innovations have all stemmed from successful research and development initiatives generated through partnerships – collaboration between our education institutions, industry, private sector and government bodies.

“We recognise the value of international conferences – beyond the tourism dollars – and how events can drive great benefits to the country through opportunities for international collaboration, knowledge exchange, and trade and investment. These events can influence the future.”

BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith said,“Sydney Speaker Series has helped us to connect with key decision makers in market, drive conversations to better understand their objectives and roadblocks, and hopefully we will see these efforts transformed into future partnerships.” ICC Sydney Director of Business Development Beverley Parker said, “ICC Sydney is a vibrant hub of innovation located in the heart of Australia’s largest city centre – its contemporary design, state-of-the-art technology and multipurpose spaces provides the perfect meeting place overlooking the spectacular views of Sydney. Opening this December, we will be the new host to international meetings providing a vibrant new beacon for associations to meet, collaborate and connect with colleagues."

Sydney’s focus in helping associations to address their challenges, coupled with a proven track record of delivering on client’s objectives, has been fruitful with BESydney announcing a strong pipeline of close to 110 events secured for the city up until 2023. In key sectors such as professional services including Fintech, health and science and engineering, these events include eight Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) conferences such as IEEE Sections and POCO 2017, as well as Sibos 2018, the 10th World Chambers Congress 2017, 2018 World Congress of Accountants, 2017 International Bar Association and OpenStack Summit 2017 to name a few.

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