UPU’s new World Leaders Forum: Re-thinking postal operations during a crisis
Acknowledging the terrible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led the Universal Postal Union to re-think one of its key events, the World Postal Business Forum.Previously, the Forum attracted high-quality speakers in a traditional format that heard panelists and generated an interesting dialogue.
In recent months, the pandemic has led to some of the biggest changes to postal operations since the Second World War, causing the UPU to a re-evaluate its Forum held annually at Parcel and Post Expo. This year, the world’s leading international parcel and postal industry exhibition and conference will be held in Vienna, Austria.
The re-branded World Leaders Forum, to be held on 12 October, the first day of the exhibition, is a tacit recognition that the postal world is changing and the pandemic has profoundly impacted us all. Old ways of communicating are not necessarily the best format for stimulating conversation and promoting exchanges of ideas.
With this in mind, the new World Leaders Forum invites leaders to initiate discussions, but to also go further. The UPU will invite recognized leaders to curate in-depth exchanges seeking to emphasize personal experiences and best practices. Attendees will be split between two subject streams and will sit together in small groups. The moderator will invite everyone to engage in discussions founded on their experiences of the international postal network.
The aim, more than ever, is to give attendees something personal but also something practical they can take home and use in their own business environment. We are striving for audience engagement and participation in ways that the old business forum perhaps failed to achieve.
In the morning, the World Leaders Forum will open with an in-depth interview of UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein by Paul Needham of CEP Research. The interview is titled, “Looking to the future, learning from the past.” Afterwards, the audience will listen to keynote speakers, including the CEO of Emirates Post, Peter Somers. After a networking break, participants will then be split into two streams to discuss “Posts and Pandemics: The hard lessons of COVID-19,” and “Starting again: Business Recovery and the role of marketing.” Each stream is followed by a panel discussion and questions and answers.
Following lunch, the World Leaders Forum offers a stream titled, “A platform for change: Digital and business transformation in the marketplace” and “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast: CEO Panel on leading cultural change.” The Forum ends with a plenary session drawing together the themes of the day and consideration of the main challenges and priorities for the coming years. Participants are then invited to attend a specially hosted drinks reception.