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Dunedin Launches New ‘Village Of Learning’ Programme To Attract Large Conferences

(Dunedin, 20 October 2022) An innovative new programme to attract conferences and business events to Dunedin, is playing to the city’s strengths as a hub of knowledge. The Village of Learning, which officially launches today, brings together the expertise of Enterprise Dunedin, Dunedin Venues Management Limited (DVML), the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic in a collaborative approach to bidding and delivery.

A suite of initiatives are on offer as part of the Village of Learning. First and foremost, will be access to specialised local academic talent via the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic or industry-specific keynote speakers that align with the core conference topics. While the keynote speaker industry is a well-trodden path, the concentration of potential speakers across a huge range of specialised subjects in Dunedin and wider Otago is at the crux of the Village of Learning offering.

These same thought leaders often attend international events themselves, presenting an opportunity to pro-actively bid for future conferences on Dunedin’s behalf. This has led to the development of an ambassador programme as part of the Village of Learning, to identify and support academics and other specialists from multiple industries to work with the city to this end.

John Christie Manager Enterprise Dunedin, says, “The Village of Learning really plays to Dunedin’s strengths as a conference destination.

“This programme will stand the city apart from some of our larger national competitors by delivering an exceptional event experience in conjunction with our highly reputed educational institutions and the wider business sector.”

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Terry Davies CEO of DVML, says, “We’re excited to present a new unique selling point to conference organisers considering Dunedin, that builds on our existing strong collaborative partnerships across the city.

“We’ll be working closely with key stakeholders and delivery partners through this programme to ensure the total convention experience remains cost competitive to ensure Dunedin is top of the list as a prospective conference destination.”

University of Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor of External Engagement, Professor Tony Ballantyne said the innovation will provide new opportunities for its academic staff to build connections and share knowledge.

Otago Polytechnic is thrilled to be working with DVML, University of Otago and Enterprise Dunedin on an initiative that showcases the calibre of our staff and facilities, says Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive, Dr Megan Gibbons.

Within the scope of the programme, student involvement in the design or delivery of conference activities could offer another attractive option for event organisers, while also fulfilling corporate social responsibility requirements.

Recognising the potential to target international markets, the programme is being backed by Tourism New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Programme, which can support with the bidding process and travel to shortlisted international conferences for Dunedin Village of Learning ‘ambassadors’.

Enterprise Dunedin is eager to hear from subject matter experts who attend international conferences in their fields, who are either available as keynote speakers locally, or would be willing to assist with bidding for future events for the city.

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