In the summer of 2014, Ljubljana was brimming with positive energy and cheerfulness as big hugs and left-handed Scout handshakes were being exchanged all over the city’s streets by more than 1,200 uniformed representatives of national Scout associations from more than 130 countries worldwide, who gathered in the Slovenian capital from 11 to 15 August to attend the 40th World Scout Conference, the general assembly of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM).
Close collaboration between WOSM and local organizers and volunteers
Andrej Lozar, Secretary General of the Scout Association of Slovenia, said: “In August 2014, Slovenian Scouts organized the 40th World Scout Conference at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. The conference was attended by more than 1,200 people from 130 countries worldwide and was, in terms of the number of participating countries, the largest conference of its kind in the history of Slovenia. We worked in collaboration with the World Organization of the Scout Movement, which has 40 million members and is the word’s largest youth organization, joined by Slovenian Scouts 20 years ago. Lozar particularly pointed out the role of volunteers in organizing the event.” He also emphasized that the 250 Scout volunteers who helped ensure that the conference ran smoothly did an excellent job.
The role and challenges of the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre
Miha Gartner, who managed the World Scout Conference project for the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, said the following about the role that his company played in the event: “The role of the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre was to provide a suitable venue for the conference, along with appropriate equipment and support, both technical and operational. This means that both before and during the conference our staff played a consultancy role.”
- Before the conference, the collaboration with the conference organizer was focused on the general logistics of the conference and the preparation of conference halls
- During the conference, the conference organizer was provided with 24-hour support in terms of emergency duty services, ad hoc changes to the venue, and general advice
This type of events always bring challenges. “The greatest challenges we faced,” Gartner says “were those related to the logistics of changing the entire appearance of conference halls overnight – such as to completely change the layout of the large plenary hall and replace its existing furnishings and wiring with different ones or to turn the largest banquet hall into a proper concert hall, to mention just a few.”
Memories of this logistically demanding, but successfully executed event are positive. The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre continues to maintain good relations with the Scout Association of Slovenia and discuss with it the possibilities for hosting another event in the future.
The role of the Ljubljana Convention Bureau
Miha Gartner, Project Manager at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, also explained the role of the Ljubljana Convention Bureau in organizing the event. “We wouldn’t make it without the Ljubljana Convention Bureau. They were with us, and with the conference organizer, from the initial idea of presenting our candidacy to the very end, when the last delegates left Ljubljana. Together we wrote our candidacy application, meaning that the Bureau provided the necessary information about the destination and gave the application documents their final form. They provided and financed the promotion of the World Scout Conference at previous national and international conference events. And during the event, they managed the logistics across the city as certain conference events took place outside the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre.”
International Scouts thrilled by the conference location and the Slovenians’ energy
Scouts from abroad spoke highly of the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, a conference venue where everything is at hand, and pointed out the role played by the Slovenian Scouts. The new chairman of the World Scout Committee, João Gonçalves, also spoke very favourably about the great scouting atmosphere and energy at the conference. “The atmosphere was generated by Scout volunteers dressed in green T-shirts inscribed with the statement ‘I can do it all’, who were always ready to solve any problem with a smile,” says the report published by the Scout Association of Slovenia after the conference.
Conclusions of Tatjana Radovič of Ljubljana Tourism
“We are proud that Ljubljana has had the opportunity to host such an important event, whose main goal was to discuss the future plans of the Scouting Movement around the world and which ended with the Scouts setting themselves a very ambitious target – to reach a membership of 100 million young people by 2023. In terms of numbers, the World Scout Conference generated about 8,000 visitor nights in three and four-star hotels, which is quite a lot for a single event held in the Slovenian capital.”
Ljubljana Convention Bureau