Amsterdam, The Netherlands.- Continuing a strong tradition of giving back to the local community in each host destination, delegates at the 57th ICCA Congress in Dubai raised a total of €5,555 and collected 591 pairs of glasses for local blindness prevention charity Noor Dubai Foundation through a number of initiatives. All donations from the event, held from 11-14 November with more than 1,150 senior meetings industry professionals and association meeting planners from over 75 countries in attendance, will go to supporting the Foundation’s key local and international projects.

In collaboration with each local host committee, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) aims to incorporate a strong, meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) element to every edition of its flagship event, offering delegates several ways to contribute to and raise awareness of a global cause affecting each host destination. For this year’s Congress in Dubai, its efforts were supported by Dubai Business Events, the city’s official convention bureau, which helped to identify a local charity to collaborate with.

The second ICCA Charity Run ‘N’ Walk, which took place on Monday 12 November, saw 200 delegates taking part and supporting Noor Dubai Foundation through financial donations. To further maximise the Congress’ impact on the charity’s cause, ICCA also made a donation in place of speaker and Local Host Committee gifts. The total amount raised, €5,555 (AED 23,118), will go to supporting Noor Dubai Foundation’s international outreach programmes, its mobile eye camps, in developing countries across Africa and Asia. The mobile eye camps allow the Foundation to provide screenings and diagnosis, conduct surgeries and distribute glasses to those in need of vision aids.

Another major part of ICCA’s corporate social responsibility tradition is the Gift of Love project, set up in 2013 to allow delegates to leave a physical legacy behind after they leave each host destination. This year, delegates were encouraged to bring along old glasses and donate them on-site via a dedicated collection box.

This initiative was a tremendous success, with ICCA delegates donating 591 pairs of prescription glasses and sunglasses to support the Foundation’s work. All pairs will be re-lensed in partnership with Dubai optical and eyewear company Al Jaber Optical, before being distributed to those in need through Noor Dubai Foundation’s mobile eye clinic campaigns run across the UAE.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: «Partnering with Noor Dubai Foundation and ICCA on these initiatives has helped to ensure that we were able to live up to our promise ahead of the Congress that it would leave a robust legacy. Through the Charity Run ‘N’ Walk, donations and collection of glasses, delegates were able to easily get involved, which was a key consideration for Dubai Business Events and the Local Host Committee.

«The power of business events can extend far beyond economic impacts on key sectors and knowledge developments and contribution to tourism. We would like to thank all ICCA members and delegates for their efforts, which will have a meaningful impact of numerous lives. We are looking forward to working with other associations and organisations to ensure they are able to embed powerful CSR programmes and initiatives into their events.»

Dr Manal Taryam, Board Member and CEO Noor Dubai Foundation, said: «Noor Dubai Foundation strives to ensure that all individuals living in low income regions have access to eye healthcare. With an international reach, Noor Dubai has been making a direct impact on people’s lives and is proud to partner with ICCA for this significant initiative. The contribution received from ICCA Congress participants will greatly improve the social and economic conditions of people in need of eyesight improvement.

«We truly believe that a small gesture goes a long way towards making a positive change; and we are grateful to ICCA and the Local Host Committee not only for their support to Noor Dubai’s local and international outreach programs, but for also creating the much-needed awareness for people to realize the importance of the gift of vision.»

Dennis Speet, ICCA Interim CEO, said: «ICCA is committed to leaving a long-lasting legacy behind in every host destination we visit with our annual Congress, and I am proud to say that we have achieved this yet again at our 57th Congress in Dubai.

«We could not leave this legacy without the support of the ICCA community; their tremendous support of our CSR initiatives is key to their success. I am extremely proud of our Congress delegates and would like to thank them for their continued dedication to helping us make an impact on each host destination.

«In addition, I would like to extend a special thank you to Jane Vong Holmes, treasured partner and friend of ICCA, for coordinating our beloved Gift of Love project for another year.»

To learn more about the work of Noor Dubai Foundation and the projects ICCA Congress delegates are helping to support, visit their website.