Global Conference on CyberSpace
'This conference was even more complicated than the nuclear summit in 2014.'
Immediately after the NSS, the project director, Marc Hasselaar of the ministry of Foreign Affairs asked PINO to join the organizing team of the cyber conference. Over 1,800 delegates from around the world attended this Global Conference on CyberSpace at the World Forum in The Hague on April 16 and 17, 2015. Although this summit was less prominent in the news, the organizational challenges were enormous. ‘After the nuclear summit, PINO became the sounding board for the project team that took on the cyber conference,’ says Pieter Schure. ‘Initially that was about advice on tendering for the venue, but that soon became more.’
Planning and scripts
‘From January, as a member of the project team, I became responsible for planning, scripts and conference engineering,’
Pieter continues. ‘Especially when you’re in charge of those three things, you really know the many details of the event.’ That’s why PINO naturally took on a fairly central role,
in which both people from the organisation and suppliers constantly get to you for consultation and coordination. That
caused me to see and hear even more, in which I could incorporate into my planning and scripts. In this way,
we managed very well to keep an eye on all the details within a complex event, even with constant changes.’
Special guests and subsessions
Although the lesser press coverage suggests otherwise, the cyber conference was organizationally more complex than the nuclear
summit. Pieter: ‘Security was less strict: the security ring was not around the entire neighbourhood, but around the building. At the same time
the program was much more challenging with not only a plenary program, but also some 25 partly parallel subsessions. These had to be coordinated with four
different ministries and had many last minute changes: the stage set-up, for example, or the order of speakers. And this conference was not about 58 world leaders, who got about the same treatment, but about 250 special guests, divided into four different categories. These special guests came from countries, international organizations, businesses, NGOs, universities and could only partially be approached via embassies in The Hague. And then there’re more than 1,500 other participants… Fortunately, we at PINO are used to a lot.’
USB car wash and quarantine
That digital security played a significant role in this cyber conference should come as no surprise. ‘We obviously couldn’t let everyone
have to do with USB sticks,’ explains Pieter. ‘That’s why we had set up a special car wash for USB. That’s where everyone who
had a presentation had to go to. We not only scanned the delivered presentations for look & feel, but also for viruses and malware. And
we end up putting the presentations on clean, single-use USB sticks. Moreover, in the subsessions.
there was no open Internet access for the speakers. If someone needed that access, they were given a dedicated laptop, which
quarantined after use.’
Good measure of success
During the conference, PINO had the role of event manager on the floor and made sure everything went according the script or resolved changes
on the spot. Like the project team itself, PINO looks back on the extensive event with great satisfaction. Pieter: ‘Many participants stayed for a drink for a long time after the event on Friday.
This is always a good indicator of a successful event with a pleasant atmosphere. I was even thanked and congratulated
on the toilet by an African delegation member. This was a great job for PINO. Of course, we
enjoy any conference or event, but this still feels like we get to compete in the Olympics every once in a while.” Smiling:
‘And that we end up on the stage, too.’
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