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Audience with the Pope
GCS goes to the Vatican
In a meeting with exhibition industry leaders from around the world in the Vatican, Pope Francis I declared that "it has been shown … that fairs and exhibitions not only have positive effects on regional economies and labour markets, but also offer significant opportunities for showcasing to the wider world the rich diversity and beauty of local cultures and ecosystems." On the occasion of the UFI Global CEO Summit (GCS), His Holiness invited the one hundred participants of the event to a private audience, held in the Sala Clementina in the heart of the Vatican. They had travelled from 37 countries from around the world to attend the summit. Fiera Rome with CEO Pietro Piccinetti were the host partner for the event. As the global association of the exhibition industry, UFI represents and serves exhibition organisers and venues as well as partners of the industry. UFI president Mary Larkin (president of Diversified Communications, USA) led the delegation into the meeting with Pope Francis I. "It is a great honour and privilege for us that Pope Francis invited us to this exchange. Often, in our everyday work life, we focus very much on delivering the next event. Today carried a powerful message that the social and cultural dimension of our work deserves just as much attention. The message Pope Francis shared with us is a very strong motivation to continue to work to improve our events, to make them as inclusive as possible, as diverse as possible, and ever more sustainable. For me, as for everyone in the room, this meeting is already unforgettable", she said. To mark the occasion, UFI presented His Holiness with a sapling of an olive tree, a symbol of the passion for peaceful dialogue and sustainable development created through exhibitions and events. Also, as the exhibition industry is driven by the human factor and dialogue, the delegation brought tea and chocolate from Buenos Aires, the home of the pope. The meeting ended with a scene rarely witnessed at occasions like these: The pope invited each and every member of the delegation to a personal handshake and brief dialogue, therefore strongly enforcing the unique power of face-to-face connections.
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