Yesterday would have been the day when GLOBSEC’s flagship conference was set to start in Bratislava. Due to the current restrictions caused by the global pandemic we have decided to move its 15th edition to October 2020.

Would the world not be shattered by the coronavirus crisis, the 15th annual GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum with more than 1,000 participants from over 60 countries would have begun yesterday (Thursday, May 21). This year, too, we would try again to surpass the previous year and raise the imaginary bar of our flagship event. GLOBSEC 2020 was to run in parallel on three main stages, using innovative formats. The May event was set to invite a number of confirmed high profile guests, including several presidents and prime ministers, high representatives from the EU or NATO, the head of the World Economic Forum or even the president of global Microsoft. Entering a new decade was to be the main topic of the conference.

With Europe and other countries around the world still fighting COVID-19, this year GLOBSEC has decided to introduce a special three-stage concept for the 2020 Bratislava Forum. The international community, including Slovakia, will be engaged in debates addressing the most pressing challenges of the upcoming period that will take place over a span of a few months. The main topics of the conference will seek to answer questions such as what the world, the European Union, or the CEE region would look like in different areas once this crisis is over and what lessons should we learn from it. GLOBSEC perceives the current pandemic as a transformative crisis, which accelerates new trends and which will have major consequences for the global position of China, Europe, and the USA.

The first stage kicking off in June will include an online brainstorming with global experts who will address future trends. The key takeaways will be proposed as specific recommendations for Central Europe. In August, in the second stage during a one-day virtual conference, participants will analyse these recommendations in more detail.

A sequence of events will climax in the final third stage in October with the so-called “GLOBSEC Week”, for which the two flagship events, GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum (7 and 8 October) and Tatra Summit (9 and 10 October) are planned. “Organizing both of our key conferences in one week will be a logistical challenge. However, we have made this decision with regard to the current situation and because the health and safety of our guests and partners is our number one priority, ” says Róbert Vass, President of GLOSBEC. “Despite the relaxation of measures in Slovakia and neighbouring countries, we must remain vigilant. At the same time, we believe that guests attending the conferences during the so-called “GLOBSEC Week”, will significantly support tourism in Slovakia, thus partly contributing to the revitalisation of our economy, “ adds Róbert Vass.

Both events will be organised in compliance with the strictest health and hygienic standards, possibly including the need for guests to have a negative COVID-19 test.

These measures will result in a reduced number of guests and in a hybrid conference format for the Bratislava Forum. Instead of welcoming 1200 guests over the course of three days, the GLOBSEC conference will turn into a two-day event hosting a few hundred guests on its physical premises, with dozens of more guests connecting online. Vass explains: “We don’t want to compromise on the quality of discussions, therefore we’ve gone for a hybrid format, which enables us to engage the world’s best leaders and experts in debates, even if they can’t travel to Slovakia.”