Łódź is an intriguing and astonishing city that recently has been undergoing major development. This is where factory buildings are combined in stylish, advanced business complexes, offering enormous opportunities for the flourishing business world. It certainly was not accident that the city was selected to host the Gala of Polish Congress Ambassadors, set in the historical EC1 power plant.
EC1 is the oldest Łódź power plant – established in 1907, it has remained in operation up to 2001. Following thorough revitalisation works, it was launched in 2015 as an event space. The fresh, renovated industrial hall with a grand symbolical gantry crane high above their heads inspired the awe of all gala participants entering the venue. The stage design, immersed in magenta light, emphasised every magnificent feature – the subtle union of technology and art, the historical stairs in the central part of the stage, the splendid clock right in their middle, as well as the white gypsum stage in harmony with the red carpet. The guests could first-hand experience the ceremonious character of the event. Tables decorated with red roses and tiny diamonds added an extra touch to the whole surrounding ambience. And this is only the first impression…
The Polish Congress Ambassadors programme is a joint initiative of the Polish Tourist Organisation and the non-governmental Polish Conference and Congress Association. It is aimed at promoting Poland as a host destination of international congresses and conferences. Each year the programme acknowledges the dedication of many eminent personalities.
”The Honorary Polish Congress Ambassadors programme is intended to promote Poland as the seat of major international scientific, sporting, social and economic events. By awarding the Honorary Ambassador title, the Programme Committee each year distinguishes 20 people involved in arranging exceptional conferences or congresses for their sector.
This year we received the record-breaking number of 39 submitted nominees that fulfilled the highly demanding criteria of the programme. This goes to show that with the support of Poland Convention Bureau POT, the Polish Conference and Congress Association, city bureaux and numerous resilient professional congress organisers active in the entire country, Polish professionals are increasingly bold and successful when convincing international societies and institutes about our country”, comments dr hab. inż. Marek Pawełczyk, Vice Rector for Research and Development, Silesian University of Technology, Chairman of the Polish Congress Ambassadors Committee.
The Gala was inaugurated by a two-minute promo clip dedicated to Łódź. Next, the melodious and calm ‘radio’ voice of the evening’s hostess resounded from the stage announcing the beginning of the official section. Then, the moment that everyone was waiting for, with all participants expecting to hear their name announced. Winners received diplomas in alphabetical order, with each successive announcement greeted with applause and congratulation. For many guests this was a truly exceptional evening. Below you will find the complete list of the 2016 Polish Congress Ambassadors:
The annual Gala of the Polish Congress Ambassadors is attended by the crème de la crème of organisers and venue representatives. Year after year, the event never fails to deliver high levels of chic and grace, often staged in a brand-new attractive setting. The regulars already know that the focus here is on listening and admiring rather than on dancing. The Gala is an event that should be celebrated through sound, flavours and the visuals, in superb company. This is where the meetings industry acknowledges and awards the efforts of people involved in its development.
The distinguished industry players are responsible for bringing to Poland such events as the ISF WorldSeed Congress 2015 ISF WorldSeed Congres 2015 (1,600 participants from 62 countries) and the FDI Annual World Dental Congress 2016 FDI 2016 (16,000 participants from 152 countries). Just think how enormous such undertakings are from the viewpoint of logistics and how many jobs they generate! Indeed, the economies of scale are best illustrated by figures. For this purpose I have asked dr Wojciech Fedyk, President of the Polish Tourist Organisation, for some commentary:
”Today the meetings industry guarantees tens of thousands of jobs all around the world and generates a multi-billion turnover. According to “Poland Meetings and Events Industry Report 2016” prepared by Poland Convention Bureau POT, the sector’s contribution to national economy equalled 1,577.3 million PLN and to employment – 30,312 jobs in the entire country.
Up to 2021 Poland will host more than 150 major international conferences, including a session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to be staged at ICE Kraków and the conference of the European Wound Management Association (EWMA), which will bring close to 10,000 specialists from all over the world to the International Exhibition and Convention Centre EXPO Kraków in 2018”, emphasised Fedyk.
The classics dominated. The gentle sounds of movie songs performed live by a sophisticated orchestra and two singers – a woman wearing red heels and her partner, whom I recognised from Must Be The Music. Their repertoire included Dirty Dancing, James Bond movies and Vabank. Not only was the film motif a perfect match for Łódź, it was also performed in a highly refined and timeless style. The first-rate concert ensured that all participants stayed up to the very end of the event.
The seating arrangement was easy to work out – already by the cloakroom I received a token with number 4 and was shown the entrance to the EC1 hall. I did not have any problems with finding my way to the table. All the tables were conveniently marked and it was obvious that the organiser took care of even the slightest logistics details of the event.
Similar order distinguished the area of sponsor walls, with no overwhelming roll-ups, the logos of main partners illuminating the sidewalls of the Gala’s space. No impression of dealing with agressive advertising; everything was accomplished with restraint and exactly how it should be done. The entrance area featured film-related exhibits from the Educational Film Studio. Many people stopped here to take a photo with a historical camera of the Łódź-based studio.
An exhibition of Łódź-themed photos by Paweł Augustyniak has been arranged in the cocktail area of the Gala. ”For the last several years I have been taking photos of my hometown of Łódź. This is a city of contrasts, with beautiful townhouses, palaces and factories with a diverse background. We often pass by magnificent places without actually seeing them. I intend to showcase the remarkable and beautiful character of Łódź to everyone”, said Paweł Augustyniak.
A Lexus, drive back to the hotel was waiting for everyone tired by all the activities. This proved to be a popular option, with lively discussions all around and guests exchanging remarks about this year’s edition of the Gala. The lights go out, a brief break and… we shall all meet next year in another exciting venue – the ICE Kraków Congress Centre. And for the final part – a telling quote and a moment of reflection for all on why you should attend and accept invitations for this type of events:
”The Internet, phones or satellite transmission can never replace contact with another human being. Only during congresses, conventions and conferences do people really talk with each other, share their experiences and discuss. Only then actual friendships are made and opportunities are created to exchange ideas, along with chances for international cooperation, the training of assistants, etc. When actually visiting a certain destination, it is also possible to learn more about the achievements of the organisers, such as hospitals, research workshops and construction works.
Participants of international congresses get to know (and usually like) the host country and that is something no films or brochures can guarantee. Years later you often might not remember the “latest accomplishments” presented at a given congress, but you do recall social meetings, elusive aromas, candlelit evenings, fragments of concerts, flavours of national cuisine and the people you would love to meet again”, Prof. dr hab. n. med. Jerzy Woy-Wojciechowski, President of the Polish Medical Association.
Tekst was made in cooperation with Polish Tourist Organisation. For their help in preparing the text and an invitation to the Gala, thank you very much the organizers.