MPI Blog

From the CEO

Fight the Good Fight

Paul Van Deventer

Our mission at MPI is to connect the global meeting and event community to learn, innovate, collaborate and advocate. When it comes to industry advocacy, I cannot be prouder of the strides we have made over the past few years.

For example, we regularly leveraged editorial and social media to promote the value of our industry. We’ve actively participated in the U.S. Travel Association’s Destination Capitol Hill campaign to educate policymakers about the power of travel and its impact on meetings.

We pledged our support for the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism 2017. We signed letters of support against laws and bills that sought to overturn protections for the LGBT community. We championed the launch of North American Meetings Industry Day in 2015, which was so successful that it evolved to Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) the next year—and continues to grow in popularity and reach each year thanks in part to the overwhelming support and engagement of MPI chapters!

This year, MPI is taking advocacy a step further. We will also join the fight against human trafficking—which affects an estimated 21 million people, including children, around the world—by raising awareness of this horrific tragedy.

Did you know traffickers are using hotels and airlines to carry out these heinous crimes? As meeting professionals, it is frightening to imagine that a victim could have been staying at a host hotel during an event you planned or sitting just a few rows back on a flight and realizing that you didn’t notice the signs in order to take action.

Throughout 2018, MPI will use our publications, blog and social media channels to generate awareness about this important issue—the toll of trafficking and what can be done to help victims. We will also show our support by signing ECPAT-USA’s Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (known as “The Code”), which is the only voluntary set of business principles that companies within our industry can implement to prevent child sex tourism and trafficking of children.

Together, we can learn more and make a difference in the fight to end human trafficking. And we hope in the near future we can look back at our collective efforts and be proud of the impact our community has made to end this tragedy.

So, this year as we commit to both advocating for our industry—including on April 12 for the third annual GMID—and fighting against human trafficking, I encourage you to keep in mind this quote from Mother Theresa: “There’s nothing more calming in difficult moments than knowing there’s someone fighting with you.”

Remember, we are each other’s “someone” in these two very good fights and it’s our responsibility to take on both.

Paul Van Deventer
MPI President & CEO
pvandeventer@mpiweb.org
Follow me on Twitter @MPICEOPaul

Links to Important Resources

Global Meetings Industry Day: meetingsmeanbusiness.com/gmid
UNICEF: unicef.org/protection
ECPAT International: ecpat.org
Exchange Initiative: exchangeinitiative.com


About the Author

paul-headshot
Paul Van Deventer
President & Chief Executive Officer at Meeting Professionals International

Paul Van Deventer joined the MPI Global Team in April 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this role, he leads the strategic direction of both MPI’s global association and the MPI Foundation, with responsibility for managing its global staff, operating budget, membership programs and community services.