Dukakis Center hosts webinar on the future of academic and scientific conferences

Dukakis Center hosts webinar on the future of academic and scientific conferences

The Dukakis Center hosted a Zoom webinar on May 27, 2020, with representatives of the Millennium Project, Transparency International Greece, ACT, and the Navarino Network, on the future of event management in the aftermath of the national lockdown.

Epaminondas Christofilopoulos, Anna Damaskou, Anestis Anastasiou, and Angelos Kaskanis were the featured panelists, while Dimitris Diamantis, director of ACT’s office of alumni relations and career services, moderated the proceedings. Dukakis Center director David Wisner made a brief cameo appearance. The discussion revolved around event cancellations, online variations of previously scheduled events, and expectations for the second half of 2020 and beyond. Key points raised, included the following:

  • How to measure the impact of virtual events on participants and auditors;
  • How long to expect webinars and hybrid events to be the norm in the wait for a vaccine for the coronavirus;
  • How to design innovative workshops and games to increase engagement, especially in smaller events or break-out sessions;
  • How to understand the impact of the coronavirus and the lockdown on the larger event management ecosystem, including hotels, airline companies, and travel agencies, and so on.

All parties agreed that while Greece will return to a semblance of normalcy in the summer of 2020, the impact of the crisis will continue to be felt for two years or more until a publicly accessible vaccine can be developed.

Several speakers raised the specter of an overly busy events calendar as organizations like those represented in the webinar scramble to reschedule and adapt to the realities of the post-lockdown environment.

In his conclusion, Dr. Wisner noted that events scheduled at the Dukakis Center in the shadow of COVID-19 should seek to do justice to the memory of victims of the coronavirus, in keeping with the Center’s humanitarian service mandate.

This was the second of two webinars on event management in the era of COVID-19 organized and hosted by the Dukakis Center. The first, on May 20, featured organizers of leading festivals and cultural activities.

Video of both webinars can be found on the YouTube channel of the Dukakis Center.




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