What makes Jerusalem such a unique conference destination? What allows this city to see such impressive growth as a potential host city?
In our interview series, the goal is to hear from the conference industry in Jerusalem, allowing them to tell their story and their vision about the city as a conference destination.
Starting our series is Raed A. Leil, General Manger of the YMCA Three Arches Hotel, a role which includes Marketing and Sales of Events and Conferences. Raed, a Palestinian Christian was born and raised in East Jerusalem, Raed joined the Jerusalem International YMCA (JIY) in 2006 and has been an integral part of the JIY's growth over the last decade.
What makes Jerusalem such a unique conference destination?
For me, Jerusalem represents a meeting of the minds. It's the religious center for the three largest religions in the world, which means that global leaders are constantly looking to Jerusalem for inspiration. Inspiration, to me means innovation, knowledge, leadership. Jerusalem has it all.
Besides being one of the most important historical cities in the world, Jerusalem is also a cultural hub with a rich variety of attractions, restaurants and tourist sites.
The ethos of Jerusalem is unique, it's leveraged its history and iconic landmarks and transformed them into centers of innovation. That's Jerusalem.
Which conferences have been hosted, or are planned to be, in your venue highlight its success? In other words, which conference came to Jerusalem because of your unique venue.
That's a great question. There are many events and conferences that YMCA Jerusalem hosts. If I had to identify the ones that truly show the uniqueness of our venue, our mission, and our location, I'd say the 2016 Society for Psychotherapy Research, TEDx, INTV (2015-17), and the 2014 IAPSP Psychology of the Self Conference. Each one of these conferences used the space in a unique manner, each one shared our vision of the location and integrated Jerusalem as the backdrop for their participants.
What international awards has the YMCA received? What associations is the YMCA part of?
YMCA Jerusalem has been a landmark in the city for many decades. I'm sure that as an institution the YMCA Jerusalem has received many awards. Over the past few years, however, I'm proud that we've received the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor, a 5 Flower rating from the Israel Hotel Association, and honored to partner with the Jerusalem Rotary club, who hosts their monthly meetings here.
What upcoming conferences, events, or incentive meetings are taking place in Jerusalem, over the next 5 years, because of your involvement?
In terms of culture, in 2017 alone, we're hosting the First International Puppet Festival (August 2017), The
International Chamber Music Festival (September 2017).
In terms of sports, YMCA Jerusalem will have a Grand Opening for the biggest sports center in Jerusalem.
In 2015, we hosted the International Midwives Conference and we will be hosting it again in 2018.
Anything else you’d like to add about Jerusalem as a conference destination that’s important to consider?
Hosting a conference in Jerusalem offers participants a rare opportunity to experience history, knowledge, and culture in one place. As a central location, I'm proud that Jerusalem International YMCA is able to facilitate opportunities for meaningful discussions, networking and collaboration.