The Future of Global Events Planning

Developing a career roadmap for the industry, by the industry

Event Management Professionals (EMP) from around the world gathered in Ottawa on March 19 – 20, 2012 to make recommendations on policies and procedures for international certification program administration and governance, and to review and validate the International Events Qualification Framework.  The meeting attracted educators and industry professionals from countries including the USA, South Africa, and Australia, including several founding members of EMBOK - the Event Management Body of Knowledge ( 

Event Management is a relatively new profession that is experiencing a surge of growth in its body of knowledge, codes of practice, and competency systems, like professions such as engineering, architecture, and accounting did a century ago.  Meeting participants included pioneers of the field, as well as the next generation of EMPs.  All were eager to develop a comprehensive international career path.

In the early days of the Event Management profession, practitioners tended to discover it by accident.  They didn’t know exactly what it was or where it would lead.  They fell in love with the work but found it a challenge to earn respect as professionals.  As one participant noted, the work was often seen as simple party planning.

But EMPs do more than plan parties.  Meeting participants discussed the many factors that they must take into account in their work, from risk management to marketing, operations to budgets.  The inherent risk in planning events makes it essential to establish minimum professional standards that can inform university and college curricula. The standards provide an invaluable base for curricula because it gives students a solid foundation of knowledge, tools, and skills that will equip them for their first five years in the field. 

As post-secondary institutions start to incorporate the international standards into their curricula, they can teach EMPs how to create jobs and contribute to their country’s economic growth by drawing investors and tourists to their regions with safe and well-executed events.

The first generation to emerge from post-secondary Event Management programs is as hungry as the EMP veterans.  They want experience, opportunity, recognition, and a career path.  As one participant mentioned, international certification helps to establish credibility, which means that she and her colleagues are taken seriously by their peers, their clients, and the world at large.

The International Event Management Qualification Framework will illustrate the different career paths available to students, and will serve as a valuable professional development tool for established practitioners in the field.  The commitment of event professionals from around the world ensures global validation and endorsement that educators, practitioners, and the industry can trust.