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ICC Belfast shortlisted for ‘Best EDI at a Conference’ ABPCO Excellence Award 2022

Posted 21st Oct, 2022

Broghán Donnelly Marketing Assistant

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) has revealed the finalists for its 2022 Excellence Awards with ICC Belfast alongside Visit Belfast being shortlisted for the ‘Best EDI at a Conference’ category for their Harkin International Disability Employment Summit in 2022.

ABPCO - BEST EDI AT A CONFERENCE - HARKIN 2022

This new award will recognise a PCO or conference team that has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion for their conference. The Harkin International Disability Employment Summit is recognised as bringing together global leaders and activists across Business, Government, Philanthropy, the Third and Voluntary Sector, and Academia. Their mission is to highlight and address disability employment issues, showcase best practice and success, build relationships and challenge for change.

To ensure a successful set up and event, ICC Belfast underwent leading transformational change before, during and post Summit to be an accessible, diverse, and inclusive venue. This included over 80% of staff completing JAM card and AutismNI training which allows customers to communicate their accessibility needs discreetly, highlighting that they may need a little extra time and patience during their visit. To allow maximum space and comfort for delegates, a Changing Place was also installed, which includes a peninsular toilet, grab rails and a changing bench for visitors requiring additional support.

The summit took place over two days, welcoming 671 in-person and remote delegates to positively reframe the narrative on supporting and enabling persons with disabilities to achieve their career aspirations.

Sean Fitzsimons, Disabled Professional, Activist and Harkin Summit Project Lead, commended ICC Belfast for their accessibility features, saying 

‘I would have no hesitation in recommending ICC Belfast to any other event organisers. I’ve been singing from the rooftops from very early days about the level of support and the level of attention to detail we have seen from this venue and the people working in it which has been truly phenomenal. We have international guests here that are absolutely blown away by the level of sophistication

This really is for me, the number one place on the island if you want to have a world-class and global conference'.

Julia Corkey, Chief Executive of ICC Belfast said, ‘We are extremely proud to have been shortlisted in the ‘Best EDI at a Conference’ category at this year’s ABPCO Excellence Awards 2022. We pride ourselves in creating a world-class stage that delivers exceptional, inclusive, and accessible conferences and were delighted to collaborate with a number of different stakeholders to ensure a successful Harkin International Disability Employment Summit. 

We believe we have created a new standard for which delegate accessibility is a key consideration and looking ahead to the future, accessibility will remain a top priority at ICC Belfast.”

The ABPCO Excellence Awards celebrates industry best practices in associations and not-for-profit conferences and events. Shortlisted candidates, for all categories, have been selected by an independent panel of judges, and the winners of four of the awards will be decided by delegate judging prior to, and at, the event.

The 2022 ABPCO ‘Best EDI at a Conference’ Excellence Awards winner will be announced at the official awards ceremony on 09 December 2022 at ICC Birmingham. Find out more about the ABPCO Awards here.


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