In previous blogs, I have discussed the moral compass and how it has a role to play in event management. As Event Managers, I believe we have a moral obligation to select destinations that embrace equal human rights and that offer equality based on race, gender, sexuality and religion.
I can be sure that with each event I do, there will be a cross section of different demographics within the delegation and I feel it’s my responsibility to ensure that these demographics are not jeopardised whilst on site.
It is so sad that in 2017 there are many popular event destinations where laws and opinions go against the very doctrine of human rights yet hide behind glossy facades. As Event Planners, we may feel comfortable visiting such destinations. Personally, I find it uncomfortable. I believe that we should promote destinations that embrace the values and beliefs of equality, rather than putting delegates in destinations where their lifestyle, beliefs, gender or sexuality could be illegal or suppressed.
The world is changing. The new US President is in office and he sends shudders down my spine. His recent executive orders that have stopped seven countries from travelling to the US, albeit temporarily, has far reaching consequences and adds to my moral compass dilemma.
The USA has long been a favourite destination for events. But, with this new travel ban in place, should we now consider the USA as a destination ‘not to consider’. Delegates at events come from all walks of live and your delegate demographics will be diverse. What would you do if one (or many) of your delegates were unable to travel due to this travel ban? Or, what would you do if they were stuck out in the USA because Trump has decided to ban more countries?
One of my first questions in planning an event to the USA will now be, ‘Where do your delegates come from? What are their passports?’ With Trump in power, anything is possible! Where will these restrictions end? We are on a slippery slope where history could easily repeat itself. Once we restrict and refuse based on fear and xenophobia, what comes next?
Now more then ever, I believe we should use a moral compass checklist to review the safety for delegates before submitting an event proposal. We may think we do this already but a little bit of research could truly help to avoid putting delegates at risk.
- Once you have a brief with the event aim and objectives, does your client have a preferred destination or a set of shortlisted destinations?
- What are the demographics of your delegation? You may not get complete accuracy but an overview of age, gender and nationalities is important (you can assume you will have LGBTQ delegates)
- Based on your delegate demographics, it’s time to research the destinations. This includes:
– Checking the Foreign Office website. Are there any travel warnings?
– Check Amnesty International’s website. This website will help you search by country, identifying possible issues that may affect delegates. For example, is being gay illegal or do woman have reduced rights? https://www.amnesty.org/en/)
– Where will delegates be going? Will they be staying in a city or travelling outside – if so what safety issues need to be considered?
– Are there any passport restrictions? What nationalities are unable to travel?
- Then check departure access points based on possible delegate locations. Which airlines travel to the destination? Are the flight times suitable to allow delegates to safely travel too and from the airport? If a flight arrives home at midnight, will delegates have a safe way of travelling home?
- Once you have compiled your findings, think – Is this a destination that delegates will feel safe in, be considered legal in and if something does go wrong, what are the ramifications?
It may well seem like a lot to review, but this checklist will help ensure that you plan responsible events that embrace equality and ensure the safety of all of your delegates.