As I board my plane to return back to NYC — a city I love for its resilience and energy — I’m excited to take stock of what’s drawing me there. The 2021 Concordia Annual Summit kicks off September 20th, and will host for the first time ever its high-level programming in a hybrid fashion. In many ways, this is a “New York is Back” milestone for me, but with important consideration to the criticalness of getting this moment in time right. Back, perhaps, but certainly not unchanged. And while the world rightfully works towards addressing the threats of COVID-19 globally, we must acknowledge the major setbacks towards the Sustainable Development Goals over the past 18 months, lurching the international community in precarious directions. Now, more than ever, is the time to come together for solution setting.
We’ve said all along that our 11th Annual Summit promises to be like no other — now, 7 days away, what does that mean? Speakers, members, sponsors, and guests will come together at the Sheraton Times Square New York and virtually via our SpotMe event platform. Mainstage content will be livestreamed via Concordia’s website (www.concordia.net) and our social media will be hard at work amplifying insights, announcements, and calls to action towards a better tomorrow via @concordiasummit.
This will be my 6th Annual Summit, and my 10th overall. But despite this behind the scenes “veteran” experience, even I don’t know exactly what “hybrid” will mean or how our multi-day event might evolve over the week. But here are some things I do know:
- Our in-person event will be smaller. Historically, we are the largest and most inclusive event alongside the UN General Assembly. That will still be true. But, rather than opening our physical doors to thousands of senior changemakers, we’ll have a more limited on-site presence due to COVID precautionary measures and are doubling down on a global virtual audience. That won’t mean that the in-person networking or private events onsite are any less content rich or impactful.
- We’re doing less, but it’s still more. Summits of the past have had quite the “choose your own adventure” approach to them. All-Access attendees could historically choose from mainstage programming (sometimes even 2 main stages!), strategic dialogues, private roundtables, learning & skills building modules, and open networking opportunities. This year, with viewers joining virtually and in person, we are streamlining to avoid too many overlapping programming sets. Still, we have over 100 unique programming sets taking place because, for the first time ever, our in-person programming is 3 full days and our Thursday (fully virtual) brings a whole new format of co-designed programming.
- We have great programming. Our agenda is set to go live this week, but here’s an insider view: We have Rockefeller Foundation’s Rajiv Shah discussing actionable steps to end global energy poverty, Top 40 pop musician Adam Met elevating climate change as the global priority, advocate Rachel Nicks presenting solutions to the Black maternal mortality crisis in the United States, and Ministerial leaders from around the world discussing digital innovation to support a post-COVID-19 economic and social transformation. We have heads of state and local civil society, business leaders from F50 and brand new start ups, and leading journalists from a variety of reputable outlets, all to support our bipartisan, partnership-oriented conversations to achieve the SDGs. Our programming team is working tirelessly to design the very best conversations in support of building or strengthening partnerships towards addressing pressing global issues. If you interact with Anna, Juan Pablo, Ashley, Randy, or Joseph at the Summit at all, be sure to congratulate them!
- You can’t compare virtual and in person. What I mean is, both have strengths and they shouldn’t be compared during a global pandemic. Come as you are, from where you are! Our virtual event platform allows for real-time networking, on-demand playback of past sessions, interaction via the NewsFeed, and opportunities to learn more about our Partners and Sponsors. Our in-person event also offers real-time networking, interaction via curated roundtable discussions, and opportunities to learn more about our Partners and Sponsors. We’ve swapped out the on-demand playback for on-demand coffee 🙂
- Your safety is #1 — so is ours. All in-person guests must adhere to our COVID-19 policy. That means vaccinations, masks, and onsite testing + temperature checks. We hope that everyone approaches these preventative measures with the recognition that they are for the health and wellbeing of everyone.
If you’ve not yet registered, don’t miss your chance to attend this phenomenal event. Full summit and daily digital passes can be accessed here, and new Individual and Global Members can have the chance to join in-person or virtually.