Conferences Professionals – But Where are the Results?


By Robert Mugabe

In this new era where everything needs to be debated upon, has come with it, a new trend of a generation addicted to conferences who I call them “conference professionals”. Of course driven by the quest for knowledge and exposure but little by little the politics of conferences becomes catchy.

Yes, you heard me; they’re conference professionals-experts whose main arena is conference presentation. They want to make sure they attend all conferences.

“It might only take approximately three-four conferences in five star hotels until conference attendance becomes an ideology, which ends with good food and treats that woe those attending even to forget about their original stands on issues” – one political science lecturer who is an occasion trainer told me.

These conference professionals, move from one conference to another with beautiful designed PowerPoint. They have many titles, reading from their budges; ‘Human rights activists, youth empowerment expert, women emancipation advocates…” These peoples know the calendar of every conference, national, regional and international a like. Maybe call them conference tourists.

Heard some of you asking what’s wrong with them? But these are not productive individuals. They’re invited in a conference in Johannesburg simply because one of the conference organizers heard him or her speak in a conference in Nairobi. My friend back in Bujumbura told me that she knows one guy who met her date in Nairobi after three various conferences meeting the same girl, they’re now married. I wonder the name of their kid? Late me say; “Justice in Africa, Human rights status in EAC, you can add more…. that should be the names of their children.

These dudes are connected; they know their equals, the next conference on schedule… Back in their respective countries, they are not productive. Ask them what they have done; they will give a huge list. But just visit them; you will be shocked-that nobody knows them.

Most of these people when you hear them speaking, they will come up with good polished speech than Barrack Obama running for white house. They master the politics of the conferences.

Wait; when you see a young person gets this conference virus, it will be their end. They start boosting about the places they have traveled, nice hotels and good airlines. Bragging about style, PowerPoint design, that’s all what they do. Listening to one of them speak in the gathering, you might think you’re talking to Bill Gates with global investments… or you are talking to US secretary of state or Ban Ki-moon.

You want an example of these folks, don’t waste your time looking in their passports, only listen to them when they’re talking, they will tell you all the places they have gone. Guess to do what? Oooh! You got it, attend conferences.

You think am being aggressive in my writing? Maybe, but its because I imagine how conferences have developed a generation made of a bunch of talkers… indeed also these conference organizers most of them don’t some how care about implementation of the resolutions, simply most of them are sham NGO’s. They have no M&E for these conferences, they just make sure the people are there from region, the banner is up, with few presentation and some diplomats who fund these talking forums and that’s it.

They will take picture and mobilize media for visibility.  The next thing is to pay hotel bills and air ticket with $100 per diem and that’s all. That’s their game of the day; they enjoy the game well meeting with conference professionals. They don’t mind. These chaps don’t want any assignment; they’re tourists in the conference.

Next time I will come for you guys with these sham NGO’s, my other collaborator calls them briefcase NGO’s. Hello! Yes am coming for you. See you next time.


ROBERT MUGABE-is A Jurist specialized in Media Law. He’s also the editor of Great Lakes Voice. He’s based in Kigali-Rwanda.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of FES