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At the 2024 IMEX Policy Forum held in Frankfurt, Professor Ian Yeoman elaborated on the value and role of in person meetings. Ian discussed the long tail effect of meetings to understand outcomes. As in person meetings create trust, networks and connections which are everlasting. Giving the example of how from;

“Immunologist Ian Frazer attended his first international gastroenterology conference in Canberra, Australia. After his presentation on genital warts, a colleague, Dr Gabrielle Medley, discussed with him the potential link between the human papillomavirus and cancer. This meeting proved fateful, as it helped to put him on the path that would ultimately lead to the development of the HPV vaccine. This vaccine is now used across the globe and may eradicate cervical cancer within a generation.”

Despite the ever increasingly world of virtual meetings and pressure to reduce CO2 emissions, it is in-person meetings that create tacit knowledge, understanding, and most importantly, trust- that becomes the centre point for the progress of knowledge in society. The long tail concept in events and meetings empathizes that benefits and impacts are often not realised until the long term, sometimes spanning decades.

Image: Ian Yeoman at IMEX Policy Forum 2024