GAHP: session

Challenges and opportunities for associations seeking to grow internationally

For most international and many regional associations, future growth will increasingly depend on revenues that come from outside their often-saturated home markets. The ability to better serve and add value for overseas members and customers will be necessary for sustainable growth.

For some associations, the strategy might include translating contents or materials to suit different audiences. For others, they might offer tailored services or events in the targeted regions. Still others will seek partnerships that can act as accelerators in these markets, before they move on to establishing operations or eventually setting up a regional office.

Associations’ strategies to grow internationally are not without challenges and often impact the way they operate. It needs to be carefully assessed whether existing business models will work in other cultures or markets. Reciprocally, there are lessons to be learned from the regional markets in terms of operating models and adapting the global offer.

Session objectives 

  • How do you generate increased engagement from members and customers abroad?
  • Which business or operating models have worked well or less well?
  • Is "glocalisation" the answer and, if so, what are the benefits and the pitfalls?
  • Which positive results can be achieved, not just financial, but also in terms of quality, membership growth, member satisfaction, etc?
  • How can cross-fertilisation between global and regional impact your international strategy?

These and other questions will be addressed through the outcomes of a dedicated study report and short story-telling presentations by successful international association executives, with the emphasis on the positive results they have achieved, and an interactive panel discussion with the audience.

The peer-to-peer exchange will aim at leveraging the wealth of experience from both the speakers and the participants. You will learn from associations’ experience in other regions of the world and come out of the session with a good feel for the do’s and don’ts for growing internationally.

Speakers / panel members

  • Magdalena Mook, Executive Director, International Coach Federation (ICF), Lexington, KY, USA
  • Senthil Gopinath, Regional Director (Middle East), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Dubai, U.A.E.
  • Nicolas Fleury, Deputy Secretary-General (acting), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Terrance Barkan CAE, Chief Strategist, GLOBALSTRAT, Washington, D.C., USA
  • Hervé Bosquet, Senior Advisor, Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP), Brussels, Dubai, Singapore, Washington D.C.

  • Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP)

  • The world’s leading cities for international associations – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington, D.C. – have teamed up to create the Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP) at the end of 2015.

    This initiative by the official promotion organisations of the four cities –, Dubai Association Centre, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, and Destination DC – cements the position of the four partner cities as the leading global hubs for international associations and creates synergistic relationships which provide decisive advantages for international associations.

    The partnership comes as an innovative response to the increasing decentralisation of international associations, as they look to develop their activities globally. GAHP is a global platform that enables international associations to:

    • Better support their membership in the different regions of the world
    • Build capacity in each region and capitalise on the potential of each region’s growth in activities and membership
    • Engage in a strategic dialogue on how to grow and better serve overseas members by using the respective partner cities as regional gateways

    A game changer for the relationship which cities have traditionally established with their association clients!
    For more information on the Global Association Hubs Partnership, please contact Hervé Bosquet (