When it turned out that the 2020 physical European Conference in Dublin has to be cancelled because f the COVID-19 restrictions the disappointment was huge.
The European Conference is one of the big events that offer program for all “4 areas of opportunity” of JCI – “Individual Development”, “Community Impact”, “Business Opportunities” and “International Exchange”.
As for JCI it is no option to just cancel such an event, a new concept for the first virtual European Conference has been developed.
“The upside of this crisis is that is has challenged us to rethink events. We are very proud to be presenting the first ever Online European Conference, and we hope it teaches us how we can further improve JCI Events in the future”, said JCI Europe Chair Marion de Groot.
So, the more than 1200 participants enjoyed from June 12-21 a comprehensive and great conference – with a program almost as usual!
Conference Program Overview
The Conference started with the Official Opening Ceremony including the Opening Remarks of President Itai Manyere, JCI Europe Chair Marion de Groot, Conference Director Derek Reilly, JCI Ireland National President Ronan Reacy, Irish music and dances and the welcoming through the whole board and all the European National Presidents.
The first weekend was completely packed with Irish flair – Irish keynote speakers, Irish language courses, Riverdance training, etc.
The program during the week consisted of training courses and events that were organised by other national organizations like the French speaking keynote speakers from JCI France or Virtual National Nights.
The formats of the European “Public Speaking Championship” in English and the “Debating Championship” in English, French and German were adapted and run successfully as first online championships. And even a new format has been created – the “extempore public speaking championship” with almost no preparation time for a 3 minutes speech.
On Friday, a complete “Business Program” was organised by the “JCI Europe Business Taskforce” including Speed Networking, Success Stories, Master Minds and more.
Each morning the entertaining 4-6 minutes long “DailyKickOffs” provided insights of the program of the day.
The final of the virtual European Conference was the entertaining Awards Ceremony at which the best projects of the last 12 months were awarded as well as the winner of the championships. The winners are all announced here.
The first Online European Conference is perceived as a big success.
“JCI European Conference Organising Committee are very proud with what we were able to achieve in a short period of time. We’ve got such an amazing feedback” said Conference Director Derek Reilly.
As every member could easily register for the program, many “first timers” took the chance to get more insights about JCI Conferences.
The Live Stream of the Opening Ceremony reached more than 22,000 people and raised awareness for JCI Europe and the European Conference.
Some of the formats got such a positive feedback that they might be used also during future European Conferences that hopefully can be done as physical conferences again. Especially, as the 2021 European Conference will be the first on a Cruise Ship!