At the time of writing this article (February 27th), the invasion of the Russian army on the territory of Ukraine is underway. I am making this annotation because at the time of publishing the article the situation may change, I hope for the better for Ukraine.
Like everyone else, I am shocked by Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine, which began on a massive scale on February 24, 2022. Until the end, I was under the illusion that this would not happen. But we have a war in Europe and a lot also depends on us.
The war is fought on many levels, including on the Internet. Verified information about the situation in Ukraine can be found on Twitter accounts:
- President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskkyy @ZelenskyyU
- Journalist Illia Ponomarenko @IAPonomarenko
- The Kyiv Independent @KyivIndependent
- Outriders [PL] @outrid3rs
One of the main hashtags has become #standwithukraine.
From the very beginning, I have been observing the MICE industry and their communication in social media and also started spreading verified news about the Russian invasion. As Poles, we think with our hearts and we can organize ourselves quickly in difficult times. In Poland, the response and support for Ukraine were immediate and enormous. As you may know, Poland is located just next to Ukraine and also has a border with Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast). Most Ukrainian refugees flee to the Eastern part of Poland. Update: 20th day of the war:
2 000 000 people fled from Ukraine to Poland!
Below I will focus on the international MICE market. In the beginning, many organizations, representatives of the MICE industry in other parts of the world, did not publish anything in the first days and/or continued communication as if nothing was happening. I was a bit disappointed with this lack of clear messages, but luckily over time, clear positions began to emerge and appropriate decisions were made.
Unprecedented Times Require Unprecedented Measures
Finland Convention Bureau
One of the first messages published by the convention bureaux was the position of Finland. On February 25, the Finland Convention Bureau published a letter from the Finnish government condemning the military actions of the Russian state in Ukraine and calling for the suspension of Russian hostilities.
Lviv Convention Bureau
Lviv Convention Bureau urges us to WAKE UP and also reminds us of using the right wording. It’s time to speak accurately about UKRAINE! It is not Crisis in Ukraine but Russia`s war against Ukraine.
“Now you can not feel safe. Your country, your city may be next. Don’t be silent! Put pressure on Russia through diplomatic and economic levels. Provide financial, organizational and military assistance to Ukraine.”
On their LinkedIn, they share ways you can help Ukraine as a foreigner! Some of the examples:
- Humanitarian help
- Join a protest in your city
- Host Ukrainians
- Localize and share these posts in media
- Influence authorities and sign petitions
Support Ukraine – spontaneous Zoom meeting
On Friday I watched and joined a Live LinkedIn meeting (streamed from Zoom) initiated by Fab Capodicasa, Shawn (Yih-Hsiang) Cheng, Sean Specie, and Ronald Lim. More details about Support Ukraine LIVE event soon. A dedicated Discord group has been created to share ideas.
Read also on my blog:
- Convention bureaux on social media
- Influencers in the MICE industry
- Twitter for eventprofs
- Disability and inclusion in meetings and events
Sport events and cultural events
Over time, sanctions and exclusions began to appear. One of the first organizations was the European Broadcasting Union – EBU, which decided to exclude representatives of Russia from the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Executive Board of the EBU made the decision following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU. The Reference Group recommendation was also supported by the EBU’s Television Committee. The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute.
Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its members. The EBU is an apolitical member organization of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service. We remain dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage.
London’s Royal Opera House cancelled a season of performances by Moscow’s famed Bolshoi Ballet. More and more Russian cultural events are being cancelled all over the world.
FIFA and UEFA
We all know the history of the Polish Football Association, the Polish national football team, Sweden and the Czech Republic football federations. Their actions supported by football players and other national football associations led to the exclusion of Russian football teams.
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Pressure works. Robert Lewandowski RL9 wrote on his social media:
It is the right decision! I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues. Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.
FIFA and UEFA suspended Russia from all football matches. All Russian clubs and national teams are suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice.
Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people.
FIFA and UEFA suspend Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions.
Full statement: ⬇️
— UEFA (@UEFA) February 28, 2022
Additionally, UEFA has decided to end its partnership with Gazprom across all competitions. The decision is effective immediately and covers all existing agreements including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and UEFA EURO 2024.
Earlier, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Formula 1 and all teams decided to suspend the Russian Grand Prix 2022 at the Autodrome in Sochi.
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
On February 28, one of the most important technology fairs, Mobile World Congress began in Barcelona. Before the start of the event, the GSMA organizer announced the exclusion of Russian exhibitors from the fairs. The Russian Pavilion will not exhibit the country’s mobile products. Source: Reuters
Eventtech and media
In solidarity with Ukraine MICEBOOKHUB.com has removed all Russian guides from their destination guides on the hub https://micebookhub.com/destinations/europe
Additionally, MICE Book launched MICEbook Talks Ukraine.
Engamio and international eventprofs created the #SupportUkraine initiative and created a website you can express your support for Ukraine and make a donation to the Ukrainian Red Cross (one of the actions discussed on Zoom meeting mentioned before).
Tech To The Rescue Foundation launched a campaign #TechForUkraine to support Ukrainian NGOs by technology companies. Cybersecurity, information exchange and resource management – are key areas that require support from our eastern neighbours in the face of Russian aggression.
Stay The Night is compiling a list of European hotels and hostels that would be happy to host refugees from Ukraine. Send an email to hospitality4ukraine(at)gmail.com and add your hotel/hostel.
[Update] The website has just been launched! Hospitality for Ukraine is a global directory of hospitality companies offering free accommodation for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. Created by Stay the Night and Kash Bhattacharya (Budget Traveller).
Little things matter too …
No matter how big a company you have, how many followers you have on social media. Everyone, to the best of their abilities and capabilities, can support sanctions against the Russian state and help the people of Ukraine.
Small businesses also act and give at least small signs of solidarity with Ukraine. Call it silly, but everything matters. The staple of Polish cuisine, dumplings with cheese and potatoes called “Russian Dumplings” are now being called “Ukrainian Dumplings” by some sellers.
My Polish friend Agnieszka, and a client from Rise and Shine Baking London, has already raised more than 1000 British Pounds for Ukrainian Red Cross! She has reached her targets already twice. The support is enormous!
🇬🇧 £875 raised for #Ukraine! Only 5 hours after 🇵🇱 Agnieszka’s @RandSbaking set up @JustGiving reached the £500. Friends & family have donated instantly. The target increased to £1000. All of the money raised will go to Red Cross 🇺🇦
➡️ https://t.co/pya4NC3mVL #Eventprofs #london pic.twitter.com/sw8QfmGfJy
— Jaroslaw Marciuk ☕️ call me Jaro 🇺🇦🇵🇱 (@JaroslawMarciuk) February 28, 2022
Russia banned from IMEX in Frankfurt 2022
In my opinion, the important date was March 1 and the clear position of IMEX Group, one of the leaders in the MICE industry. The following statement came from IMEX Group CEO, Carina Bauer, and Chairman, Ray Bloom:
“Sadly, today we have taken the decision to suspend Russian state enterprises from participating at IMEX in Frankfurt 2022, as a direct result of the current political situation. We do this with a heavy heart, understanding that the world is in an unprecedented situation. Our hearts go out to everyone who is affected and especially the people of Ukraine. All of us wish for a speedy and peaceful resolution to this conflict.”
MPI Statement on Russian-Ukraine Conflict. On the same day also MPI condemned Russia and took some more actions. Details in MPI`s statement are below.
Meeting Professionals International condemns the acts of aggression from Russian forces and urges an expeditious end to the conflict with Ukraine. In a show of support for the people of Ukraine, MPI will immediately suspend business with all companies in Russia. In addition, any plans to formalize a chapter in Russia will be paused.
MPI is disheartened that an action like this is necessary, yet understands it is critical to ensure these violent acts are met with responsible action to help lead towards a peaceful resolution. We remain concerned for the well-being of our community and our MPI members in Russia and Ukraine who were already seeking to climb out of the shadow of this pandemic and are now experiencing these unprecedented challenges.
Also at Word of MICE, we strongly condemn Russian military actions in Ukraine. You will find the full message below.
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MICE influencers and industry thought leaders started talking about Ukraine. One of the first ones was Sabrina Meyers.
I think as bloggers, and vloggers we should use our influence, inform our communities, and together find ways to help and support.
Below you will find more eventprofs ideas, MICE industry representatives actions, and news on how to support Ukraine, but before that, we need to talk about …
How about Russian travel and the MICE industry?
This is important. I believe that many of these actions and measures are taken are not directed against our Russian colleagues in the MICE industry but as part of sanctions against the Russian state and Putin’s regime.
In my opinion, these two things should be clearly separated, because many Russians also oppose the war in Ukraine and do not identify with these actions. They burn Russian passports, protest on the streets of Russian cities, and show great courage in the regime’s state. Many of them have been arrested …
One of the examples from social media. For safety reasons, I am not going to share the name of the person.
NOT IN MY NAME! Dear friends, as a Russian citizen I’m ashamed, speechless, and angry about the mad war against Ukraine started by dictator & war criminal Putin. I want to show my deep solidarity with the people of Ukraine! Praying for your safety and peace!
But there is one thing that shocked me …
The first casualty when war comes is truth
Tech giants started their actions. Twitter labels some accounts as Russia state-affiliated media (brands, journalists and influencers). Russia Today pinned tweet still says “Putin announces ‘special operation’ in Donbas | SPECIAL COVERAGE”
Additionally, Instagram also begins labelling accounts of Russian state-controlled media, which promulgate propaganda & disinformation.
I looked at the official Russia Travel Instagram account and what have I found?
Russia Travel is worried about its Instagram profile & direct followers to Russia Travel Telegram account. What really surprised me was one of their latest posts:
We, like everyone in recent days, are following what is happening and understand the risk of losing contact with you on Instagram. We have attached a link to our telegram account in the stories. We will continue to publish posts about interesting tourist places and the beauties of our country, but we will update the information depending on the transport accessibility of locations. We will be glad to remain a useful public for you, where you can relax and plan your vacation.
Who is planning a holiday in Russia these days? Really? Relax?
Eventprofs support for Ukraine
The avalanche of support for Ukraine really started after March 1. I will keep updating the blog post and share new initiatives below. How MICE industry can help Ukraine? What event profs can do? How do find good charities and support the Ukrainian people?
Remember, this is not going to be a 100 meters run, but a marathon. Long-lasting help and support will be needed.
#lightforpeace2022 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
The event industry takes a stand against the war in Ukraine. On March 3, 2022 from 8 p.m., the event industry in Germany, Austria and Switzerland wants to send a signal against war. Association initiatives from the three countries are organizing the Light for Peace #lightforpeace2022 campaign.
Support Ukraine LIVE
Event & Marketing Profs – we need your connections and ideas! To launch a massive global virtual fundraiser for Ukraine. We can’t do it alone. Help us. Help Ukraine. Proceeds go to Red Cross & Doctors without Borders. If you are unable to join, you can help us by liking this event & sharing it in your network.
The speakers were Sean Specie, Fab Capodicasa, Shawn (Yih-Hsiang) Cheng, Ronald Lim and special guests Ruslana Wrzesnewskyj, Pedro Goes and Pawel Terlikowski.
Watch the video LinkedIn Support Ukraine LIVE event.
Special Conventa Trend Bar with Lviv Convention Bureau
On Friday, 4 March 2022 at 10:00 (CET), Gorazd Čad, Co-founder of Conventa, will talk to Sofiya Kayinska, Acting Director at Lviv Convention Bureau. Together they will open a discussion on the current situation and the impacts the conflict could have on the meetings industry. Sofiya Kayinska will also share real ways you can help Ukraine. Sign up and join Conventa Trend Bar with Lviv Convention Bureau.
Please, watch the Conventa Trend Bar video below. Thank you Gorazd Cad for organizing this and inviting guests from Lviv (Western Ukraine):
- Andriy Moskalenko, First Deputy Mayor of Lviv
- Sofiya Kayinska Director at Lviv Convention Bureau
- Oksana Spoliak, Lviv Convention Bureau
The organizers shared with us trusted and verified links, to find out how you can help and support Ukraine.
#eventprofstalk on Twitter about Ukraine
Event Planners Talk will be dedicated to Ukraine. On Monday, March 7, Irina Graf will host the #eventprofstalk Twitter chat to share all the latest resources on how to help Ukraine.
The statement issued by ICCA.
Having convened an urgent board meeting, ICCA’s Board of Directors have made a unanimous decision to cancel all planned activities and events in Russia. In addition, Russian members will not be able to attend ICCA events until further notice. On behalf of the Board, we categorically and unequivocally condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine.
ICCA is liaising with our members in Ukraine and we will be contributing €10,000 to an agreed humanitarian charity to support them in their efforts to provide aid to those Ukrainians who are suffering as a result of these acts of aggression. Our heart goes out to all those affected by this unprovoked and devastating war. We wish for nothing more than to see an end to this conflict before more innocent lives are lost.
How you can help Ukraine?
Below you will find some links and ways you can support the people of Ukraine.
- Come Back Alive – cooperates directly with the command & personnel of military units, purchasing infrared thermal imaging cameras, night vision goggles, hemostatics
- Army SOS – manages the purchase of the necessary ammunition, shields, communication & reconnaissance devices, etc. delivers all goods directly
- Hospitallers – they work directly at the front
- Phoenix Wings – appropriate equipment and uniforms, personal non-lethal protection (vests, helmets), necessary treatment of wounded soldiers & renovation of buildings used by the army
- Ukrainian Women’s Veterans Movement – consolidation of female veterans, including organizing preparation for actions in crisis and defence situations.
- Voices of children – https://voices.org.ua/en/ – an organization supporting children harmed by war
More ways you can help Ukrainians (shared by Lviv Convention Bureau)
- Join the peaceful protest in your city: https://www.stopputin.net
- Sign a petition: https://how-to-help-ukraine-now.super.site/sign-the-petition
- Guide to writing an official letter to your authorities: https://lnkd.in/dPSS_Brw
- Guide to reach your government on social: https://how-to-help-ukraine-now.super.site/post-on-social-media
- Help Ukrainian refugees, volunteer and host: https://www.ukrainenow.org/
- Donate, a list of verified organisations: https://how-to-help-ukraine-now.super.site/donate
- Read official statements and reports from independent journalists on the front line: https://how-to-help-ukraine-now.super.site/read-info-from-the-source
Remember to share true facts about the war in Ukraine (not conflict or operation as Russian propaganda sees it). We will win and Ukraine will be a free and independent country.
Do you want to help Ukraine? Do you have messages, news, or initiatives to share? Please, do send me a DM to my LinkedIn.