This year has been extraordinary for global politics and it often feels we are in some strange brave new world. Irrespective of your political belief, no one really thought we would be facing a post-Brexit world for the UK. Equally, very few believed that Donald Trump would now be President of the United States.
These landmarks in global politics have in part been fueled by economic and racial fear, a fear to embrace diversity and a multi-cultural society. Although this blog is not aimed to be a political rant or represent political opinion (as everyone has the right to their own opinion), we are entering uncharted political waters.
In my opinion, fear is fueled by the ‘NIMBY’ syndrome. Diversity, racial acceptance and change is great, as long as it’s ‘not in my back yard’. As Event Managers, we often embrace an eclectic portfolio of event destinations, embracing local culture whilst celebrating diversity. We encourage our client and delegates to try new experiences whilst always trying to find that next ‘new thing’. It is this passion that makes great Event Planners.
If many have the ability to embrace diversity from afar, how come some are unable to embrace it in their own back yard? Delegates are taken all over the world, yet on home soil, some want everything neat, ordered and unchanged. A lot of us, of course, embrace change, but with Brexit and the US election, almost half the population showed that change and diversity are not welcome, therefore fueling the NIMBY syndrome. Let’s experience all this exciting change; we just don’t want it on our doorstep thanks! It’s a strange conundrum.
I am all for sourcing destinations that embrace diversity, challenge delegate thinking and offer stimulating experiences that teach, inspire and motivate – whether it’s a small boardroom meeting or large AGM. But, in so doing, we look for destinations that embrace rather than marginalize. Here is where we use a moral compass and my confusion sits.
A moral compass isn’t a tool, nor a concept. Rather, it’s about understanding the needs of your client and equally the needs of your delegates. For example, is it morally right for us as Event Managers to promote a destination that defines LGBTQ guests as criminals? There are plenty of event destinations that class homosexuality as illegal yet we are more than happy sending delegates there. Equally, destinations with less than acceptable human or gender rights are often top of the list as ‘must see’ event experiences.
Sending your guests to a destination that represses freedom and jeopardizes the values of some of your delegation needs to be questioned and assessed in my opinion. We partner with the client, allowing them to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a destination, giving them the right to select based on the needs of their delegates. If a destination is considered suitable, then this is absolutely fine, but it’s important we highlight a balanced analysis on each destination using the moral compass.
I find it extraordinary that the moral compass isn’t used as much as it should in our drive and search to find that next unique location. Perhaps this has helped fuel the current political arena we face? By using destinations that repress, we send a clear signal that its ok to marginalize and segregate. We show that the NIMBY syndrome it at work in these destinations.
Of course, the event industry didn’t create our new brave new political world. But I do think the way some events operate reflects a viewpoint that has led to this situation. I am struggling to find a conclusion to this blog – to tie this all together into a punchline. And, I can’t. All I can do is continue to strive for equality and freedom and help to educate on destinations that embrace a negative NIMBY culture.