Don’t Follow, Be the Flow!


The Annual Meeting and General Assembly of the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) represent a remarkable event, brimming with opportunities for local hosts, yet simultaneously posing a challenge. It is both a great honour and responsibility to host an event attended by professional colleagues and members of organizations such as IAPCO, which sets global standards in event organization.

In 2024, Cankarjev dom, a member of IAPCO since 1980, based in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, embraced such a challenge. Hand in hand with the leadership of IAPCO, it successfully executed the 54th annual meeting, followed by the general assembly. The event attracted 150 members from 35 countries, marking a significant success.

The theme of this year’s event, “Be the Flow”, called for action and innovation in the rapidly evolving meetings industry towards sustainability. IAPCO Ljubljana 2024 focused on reducing the impact of meetings on the environment and promoting sustainability, aligning with IAPCO’s goal to make meetings more environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and aligned with sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In Ljubljana, we are committed to achieving the goals of sustainable development:

  • Eradicating hunger
  • Ensuring health and well-being
  • Providing quality education and lifelong learning
  • Promoting gender equality
  • Ensuring clean water and sanitation
  • Promoting decent work and economic growth
  • Fostering industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  • Reducing inequalities
  • Building sustainable cities and communities
  • Taking climate action
  • Protecting life below water
  • Preserving life on land

Cankarjev dom focused on acting responsibly towards IAPCO, event participants, and society organized the 54th IAPCO Annual Meeting and General Assembly following the principles of sustainable event organization by adopting the Planet Positive Event methodology and adhering to the guidelines outlined in our sustainability policy encompassed in the Green Pledge. Thus, Cankarjev dom ensured the event was holistically and sustainably organised on all levels, including processes involving stakeholders, partners, suppliers, and employees.

Based on data collected by Cankarjev dom on-site, Cankarjev dom will measure the carbon footprint of IAPCO 2024 in Ljubljana for the first time. This milestone will serve as an opportunity for all future annual meetings of the IAPCO association. The results will be available in May 2024, allowing IAPCO to share them with the association members.

Local Expertise

Organised thematically into three sections (Great Expectations, Sustainability, What’s Next), the program of IAPCO 2024 was devised in its entirety by Cankarjev dom, which also transferred the principles of sustainability to this area. The local organiser aimed to transfer local knowledge by involving local experts.

The speakers (Uroš Ahčan, Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, Peter Kozmus, Janez Koželj, Tomo Križnar, Jadran Lenarčič, Ana Roš, Sonja Šmuc, Andraž Štalec, Barbara Zupančič) were distinguished by their exceptional expertise. Cankarjev dom invited them to collaborate based on their achievements in the fields they research or speak about at global conferences. This may have been a novelty compared to previous IAPCO meetings, as they were not merely motivational speakers but exceptional and creative scientists who shared their intimate insights and the world that enables them to be so successful in their professional field.

Supporters and Project Partners

IAPCO 2024 was supported by the President of the State, Mrs. Nataša Pirc Musar, the Minister of Economy, Mr. Matjaž Han, the Mayor of Ljubljana, Mr. Zoran Janković, the Slovenian Tourist Board, the Slovenian Convention Bureau, Ljubljana Tourism, the Ljubljana Convention Bureau, Jezeršek Catering, Postojna Cave, Sava Hotels Bled and Tourism Bled, Goopti, the Magical Serpentes Theater, Hurikan, and numerous partners who enabled an outstanding social program.

Opportunity for Networking

IAPCO participants had the opportunity to explore both externally and internally the Secessionist conference hotel Grand Hotel Union Eurostars, the city’s landmarks and picturesque corners, from architecture to gastronomy, suitable locations for social events (the Ljubljana Castle, the beautiful National Gallery and Cankarjev dom, the country’s main cultural and congress centre), as well as the mysterious world of Slovenia’s most visited karst cave – Postojna Cave. Informal networking and exchange of daily impressions took place after the formal sessions, fostering dialogue and interaction among colleagues. In addition to Ljubljana and Postojna, the pre-council meeting also hosted Bled, the Slovenian alpine jewel, which graces numerous covers of tourist media, highlighting Slovenia as an interesting congress and tourist destination.

Opportunity for Development

Jezeršek Catering, a renowned catering company in Slovenia and Europe responsible for gastronomic delights at IAPCO 2024 venues outside Grand Union Eurostars Hotel, has embraced innovative measures to effectively tackle food waste. With over 40 years of experience and more than 2,500 events annually, Jezeršek Catering is committed to sustainability and has introduced artificial intelligence (AI) into its operations to optimize resource management and reduce waste.

Through the implementation of smart scales and AI-based photo analysis, Jezeršek Catering monitors and segments food waste more efficiently. This technological integration allows for precise measurement of discarded food quantities and types, enabling targeted efforts to minimize waste production.

In collaboration with students from the Faculty of Economics, Jezeršek Catering has developed a solution called Food IQ. This innovative approach not only streamlines catering operations but also contributes to reducing excess food production and environmental impact.


Since the introduction of AI technology, Jezeršek Catering has seen significant improvements in waste reduction, with a notable 10% decrease in food waste over just nine months. This reduction amounts to 1000 kg of food saved from disposal, leading to a substantial decrease in CO2 emissions and ecological footprint.

Breda Pečovnik, Congress Department Director, addressed the attendees: “Cankarjev dom stresses the importance of sustainability and the promotion of inclusive and green meetings. This is in keeping with our long-standing mission dating back to 2011 when we pioneered Slovenian urban beekeeping. Our efforts help preserve the environment and bring a great gift – honey grown in a non-intensive farming area. For over 44 years, we have been a member of the IAPCO family, which is present on all continents and professionally organises events defined by creativity, innovation, new technologies and learning about diversity at all levels, setting standards in the meetings industry.”

Learn more about Cankarjev dom here

Read also