Join us for an online knowledge sharing session regarding digital meetings and conferences

8 December 2020 08:00 - 09:30 GMT I 09:00 – 10:30 CET 9 December 2020 15:00 - 16:30 GMT I 16:00 – 17:30 CET

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic requires organizations to adapt their meeting culture and shift their in-person meetings to virtual platforms. How can this transformation be done successfully, how can the risk factors be addressed, and which online platform is most suitable to your organization’s needs?

In response to various requests from our members, the ISC is convening a knowledge sharing session to learn from each other’s experience regarding the organization and facilitation of virtual events.

All staff members and office bearers working within organizations that are part of the ISC membership, or that are ISC Affiliated Bodies, are invited to attend.


Should you be interested to attend the session, please register via the following links for the date and time that is most convenient for you:


8 December 2020 (times in CET)

09:00 – 09:05 — Welcome (Alison Meston)
09:05 – 09:20 — Re-imagining the future of events (Pieter Swart)
09:20 – 09:30 — Overview: Platforms for online interactions (Zhenya Tsoy)
09:30 – 09:40 — Adapting: NAS’ Transition to Virtual Meetings (Angie Olanipekun)
09:40 – 09:50 — Going digital – success ingredients with examples (Joanna Wild)
09:50 – 10:00 — Lessons learned from Future Earth’s Virtual Summit (Giles Sioen)
10:00 – 10:30 — Q&A, informal discussion

9 December 2020 (times in CET)

16:00 – 16:05 — Welcome (Alison Meston)
16:05 – 16:20 — Re-imagining the future of events (Pieter Swart)
16:20 – 16:30 — Overview: Platforms for online interactions (Zhenya Tsoy)
16:30 – 16:40 — Going digital – success ingredients with examples (Veronika Schaeffler)
16:40 – 16:50 — Why some virtual meetings are more successful than others (Wesley Shrum)
16:50 – 17:00 — Inclusive research collaboration in a virtual workspace (Sam Lanfranco)
17:00 – 17:30 — Q&A, informal discussion


Alison Meston (Moderator)
Communications Director, International Science Council (ISC)

Alison’s role as ISC Communications Director includes developing the ISC communications and outreach strategy, supporting membership engagement and working alongside colleagues on a wide range of ISC projects. Alison holds a Master’s of Arts in Public Policy and International Law from the American University of Paris and most recently, a Programme Certificate in Climate Change Management from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to joining the ISC, Alison worked in the Communication and Information sector at UNESCO, as Director of Press Freedom for the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and as a Public Affairs officer for the British Red Cross.

Pieter Swart
Business events strategist, founder and manager of Conference Consultancy South Africa (ConfSA)

“In-person meetings, conferences, exhibitions and other events have been severely disrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s explore the changing events landscape and what to expect over the short and medium term future. I am looking forward to sharing our learnings from hosting virtual events and creating meaningful online experiences.”

It was in his capacity as Assistant-Director Multilateral Affairs for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), The World Health Organization African Region and the Commonwealth that Pieter was tasked by the Minister of Health to lead the planning and co-ordination of the first international multilateral ministerial conference held in South Africa post international isolation – The Commonwealth Health Ministers Conference in 1995. He founded Conference Consultancy South Africa (PTY) Ltd (ConfSA) in 1997, which has planned, coordinated and assisted with the hosting of more than 400 events across the world ranging from 200 – 110,000 people. In 2017 ConfSA transitioned into the virtual event space and hosted the first custom designed interactive hybrid association conference in Africa.
As a lifelong scholar of event management, Pieter has published several articles and opinion pieces in leading industry magazines to share his knowledge and experiences accumulated over the past 30 years. Pieter was in the first group of South Africans to obtain the designation of Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) from the Convention Industry Council in 2006 and in 2010 became the first, and since then, the only person in Africa to obtain the Certification in Meeting Management (CMM). He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Innovation and Design Thinking from the Emeritus Institute of Management in association with MIT Sloan School of Management, Tuck School of Business and the Columbia Business School.

Zhenya Tsoy
Junior Digital Communications Officer, International Science Council (ISC)

Zhenya supports the ISC communications team with everything digital. Her expertise is in communications, with a focus on the non-profit/development sector. She is also in charge of managing the ISC virtual meeting platforms.

Angie Olanipekun
Senior Programme Officer, Nigeria Academy of Science

Angie Olanipekun holds a Masters degree in Medical Microbiology from the University of Lagos. Angie joined the Nigerian Academy of Science in 2014, and as Senior Programme Officer, is responsible for managing projects and initiatives of the Academy aimed at promoting science in Nigeria.

Joanna Wild INAP

Joanna Wild
Senior Programme Specialist, Digital Learning Design, The International Network for Advancing Science and Policy (INASP)

Joanna leads and supports INASP staff and in-country partners in designing online learning experiences for a variety of audiences in developing countries. Joanna leads on technology-enhanced capacity development approaches across the organization and acts as a Curriculum and Online Learning Adviser for the Transforming Employability for Social Change in East Africa (TESCEA) project. Joanna has over 16 years’ experience of leading and supporting design, delivery and evaluation of innovative and effective teaching and learning experiences online.

Giles Sioen
Co-Lead for Research and Innovation, Future Earth

Dr. Giles B. Sioen is Co-Lead for Research and Innovation based in the Future Earth Global Hub Japan, Research Associate at the National Institute for Environmental Studies of Japan, and chair of the KU Leuven Alumni Chapter Japan. Among other activities, he works on the research and innovation portfolio with colleagues from across the Future Earth community, coordinates the Future Earth Urban and Health Knowledge-Action Networks, conducts individual research, and supports a range of domestic projects and activities. His research focuses on the development of a transdisciplinary system-based guideline to reduce the impact of climate change and other disasters on cities and health. Future Earth consists of a distributed global secretariat, regional centers, and national committees serving deeply connected research and innovation networks and partners from around the world. Giles will share lessons learned from Future Earth’s transdisciplinary work across timezones and cultures with a special focus on the recent game-changing and fully co-designed Future Earth 2020 Virtual Summit.

Veronika Schaeffler
Programme Specialist, Online Pedagogy, The International Network for Advancing Science and Policy (INASP)

Veronika is a Programme Specialist for online pedagogy with a focus on individual and organizational capacity building, technology-enhanced learning and monitoring & evaluation. At INASP, she supports the introduction of student-centred pedagogy to strengthen students’ critical thinking skills. Veronika has over 25 years’ experience in the information and knowledge sector, including the implementation and coordination of international projects, within the research sector as well as for international development and youth development organizations.

Wesley Shrum
Professor of Sociology, Louisiana State University; Meetings planner/program officer, Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)

During the past decade, Professor Shrum has organized meetings in Tokyo, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Sydney, Boston, and Prague. Since 1994 he has done research every summer in Ghana, Kenya, and Kerala on communications media and social networks, and more recently on the Ebola and COVID-19 epidemics.

Sam Lanfranco
Member of the Executive Council, Society for the Advancement of Science in Africa (SASA)

Sam Lanfranco is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar at York University (Toronto) and on the Executive Council of the Society for the Advancement of Science in Africa. He is a development and social justice economist (PhD, UC Berkeley) and has been involved with the digital venue since the 1980s, promoting distance education and research collaboration using (then) store and forward email using low earth orbit satellites. He works in the areas of education, research, and social change, with emphasis on stakeholder engagement. He has worked with national and international agencies and with global and local non-governmental and civil society entities including the UNDP, UNCTAD, World Bank, and currently ICANN and the Ambedkar Centre for Justice and Peace (Mumbai). He has held leadership positions in academia and in non-governmental organizations. The focus of his current work and research is on science capacity building in the digital venue and on socio-economic and policy issues within the Internet ecosystem.

Skip to content