The Berlin International Economics Congress 2011

”An International Conference on the Future of Nation Branding, Tourism and International Investments in a Globalized World”

(Berlin; March 9th - 12th, 2011 - Held Parallel to the ITB Berlin and in conjunction with the ICD conferences "Nuestra America" and "The Rise of Africa")

Event Report

‘The Berlin International Economics Congress 2011: An International Conference on the Future of Global Politics, Nation Branding, Sustainable Tourism and International Investment in a Globalized World’’ took place from March 09th to March 12th 2011 in Berlin, parallel to the Berlin International Tourism Conference, the ITB. It brought together a group of speakers consisting of leading figures from international economics and politics, academia, marketing, advertising and civil society, as well as an audience of young professionals, future young leaders, and other interested stake holders from across the world.

The congress examined the challenges and opportunities that states face in attracting international investment and developing their tourism sector, by utilizing perspectives from not only the field of economics, but also from international politics, culture, civil society and the private sector. As many states now rely on tourism and foreign investment as a major source of income, the use of Nation Branding, in order to promote a positive image of a state to the international community, has never been more important. The speakers contributed to a lively analysis and exchange of ideas about the growth of international tourism, and the methods that many states are employing in order to increase their share of this important market.

Forum Speakers

Frédéric Pierret (Executive Director, Wold Tourism Organization – UNWTO)
The Rt. Hon. Nahas Angula (Prime Minister of Namibia)
The Hon. Akua Sena Dansua (Minister for Tourism of Ghana)
Erwin Feldhaus (Director of ProMéxico for Middle and Eastern Europe)
The Hon. Dr. Alfredo Palacio (Former President of Ecuador)
María Elena Agüero (Deputy Secretary General of the Club of Madrid)
H.E. Ambassador Norman Garcia Paz (Ambassador of Honduras to Spain; Former Minister of Trade and Industry of Honduras; Former Minister of Tourism)
The Hon. Alberto Jose Guevara Obregon (Minister of Treasury and Public Credit of Nicaragua, Minister of Finance of Nicaragua)
H.E. Ambassador Joy Wheeler (Ambassador of Jamaica to Germany)
John Lynch (Chairman, Director, Jamaica Tourist Board)
Armands Slokenbergs (Director, Latvian Tourism Development Agency)
Dr. Endre Horváth (Deputy State Secretary Minister for National Economy, Hungary)
Niall Gibbons (Chief Executive of “Tourism Ireland”)
Dr. Mary Lambkin, (Professor of Marketing, Quinn School of Business, University College Dublin, Ireland)
H.E. Ambassador Dan Mulhall (Ambassador of Ireland to Germany)
The Hon. Dr. Grzegorz W. Kolodko (Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Poland)
The Hon. Dr. Ken Lipenga (Minister of Tourism of Malawi)
H.E. Ambassador Kingsley Makhubela (Director-General of the National Department of Tourism of South Africa)
Mary Kimonye (Chief Executive Officer, Brand Kenya Board)
Imran Sikandar Baloch (The Secretary, Tourism Department, Government of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan)
The Hon. Lord Jack McConnell (Former First Minister of Scotland)
Valerija Mencej (Head of State Promotion Section, Slovenia)
The Hon. Dimitrij Rupel (Former Foreign Minister of Slovenia)
H.E. Ambassador Mitja Drobnic (Ambassador of Slovenia to Germany)
H.E. Ambassador Clémentine Shakembo Kamanga (Ambassador of Congo to Germany)
Rica Rwigamba (Head of Rwanda Tourism and Conservation Department)
The Hon. Al Imam Al Sadig Al Mahdi (Former Prime Minister of Sudan)
H.E. Abassador Dr. Makase Nyaphisi (Ambassador of Lesotho to Germany)
Imomudin Sattorov (Ambassador of Tajikstan to Germany)
Lochin Fayzullaev (First Vice-Chairman of the Committee of Youth Affairs)
H.E. Ambassador Mosud Mannan (Ambassador of Bangladesh to Germany)
The Hon. Dr. Erhard Busek (Former Vice-Chancellor of Austria)
H.E. Ambassador Eddy Pratomo (Ambassador of the Republic of the Republic of Indonesia to Germany)
Dr. Gerhard Prätorius (Head of Coordination CSR and Sustainability, Volkswagen AG)
H.E. Ambassador Gabriela von Habsburg (Ambassador of Georgia to Germany)
The Hon. Sir James R. Mancham (Former President of the Republic of the Seychelles)
H.E. Ambassador Jacky Foo (Ambassador of Singapore to Germany)
H.E. Ambassador Fesseha Asghedom Tessema (Ambassador of Ethiopia to Germany)
The Hon. Victoria Saidu Kamara (Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Sierra Leone)
The Hon. Jean-Pail Adam (Foreign Minister of the Republic of Seychelles)
The Hon. N’Diaye Bah (Minister of Tourism of Mali)
The Hon. Jose Domingo Arias (Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade of Panama)
Jose Filipe Torres (CEO and Head of Strategy at Bloom Consulting)
President Dr. Alfredo Palacio (Former President of Ecuador)
Hermenegildo Neves (Director General of Mozambique Tourism)
The Hon. Walter Mzembi (Tourism Minister of Zimbabwe)
Dr. João Freire (Editor for Europe, Middle East and Africa for the journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy Journal)
Dr. Keith Dinnie (Associate Professor of Business, Temple University Japan)
H.E. Ambassador Tolendy Makeev (Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to Germany)
Robert A. Sauders, Ph.D (Assistant Professor, Department of History, Economics and Politics, State University of New York)
Dr. Ariel King (Founder of the Ariel Foundation, International Women Impacting Policy)


  • ICD House of Arts and Culture

Summary of Events

Wednesday, March 09th 2011: The first day began with a welcome address by Frédéric Pierret, the executive director of the UN World Tourism Organization. This was followed by the opening keynote speech by the current prime minister of Namibia, the Hon. Nahas Angula. The day continued with a lecture by the Minister for Tourism of Ghana, Akua Sena Dansua, next a presentation by Erwin Feldhaus, director of ProMexico for Middle and Eastern Europe. This was followed by an interesting lecture and discussion led by Maria Elena Aguero, the deputy secretary general of the Club of Madrid. The ambassador of Honduras to Spain Norman Garcia Paz and Alberto Jose Guevara Obregon, the Minister of Treasury and Public Credit of Nicaragua, then gave speeches that highlighted cultural diplomacy and tourism in Honduras and the region. The last event of the day was a stimulating reception and presentation carried out by the Jamaican Embassy and Jamaican tourism representatives. Jamaican drinks, dinner, and music concluded the evening.

Thursday, March 10th 2011: Day two began with a speech by Armands Slokenbergs, the director of the Latvian Tourism Development Agency, on Latvian culture and tourism. Additionally, through their respective national perspectives, the topics of cultural diplomacy, tourism, international investment, and nation branding were further explored, by distinctive delegations from Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Malawi, South Africa, Kenya, Pakistan, Slovenia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Highlights of the evening program included a welcome address by the Honourable Lord Jack McConnell, former first minister of Scotland, and a panel discussion with the delightful Rica Rwigamba, as the head of Rwanda Tourism and Conservation Department. 

Friday, March 11th 2011: Day three began with a keynote address by The Honorable Al Imam Al Sadig Al Mahdi, the Former Prime Minister of Sudan, followed by a lecture by Dr. Makase Nyaphisi, the Ambassador of Lesotho to Germany. Thereafter, an engaging two-part delegation from Tajikistan took stage, proceeded by representatives from Bangladesh, Austria, Indonesia, Georgia, Seychelles, Singapore, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Mali, and Panama. From the private sector, Dr. Gerhard Prätorius and Jose Filipe Torres, representing Volkswagen AG, and Bloom Consulting respectively, provided innovative points of view. Finally, the evening came to a close with a keynote address by the former president of Ecuador, the Honorable Dr. Alfredo Palacio.

Saturday, March 12th 2011: The final day of the conference commenced with insights from Hermenegildo Neves, the Director General of the Mozambique Tourism, and subsequently, with an address by the Honorable Walter Mzembi as the Zimbabwean Minister of Tourism. Providing a broad range of European, Asian, and transatlantic perspectives Dr. Joao Freire, Dr. Keith Dinnie, Robert A. Saunders, Ph.D, offered their keen remarks and observations as prominent academics. Ambassador Tolendy Makeev reflect upon the major themes of the conference as the Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to Germany, and Dr. Ariel King provided a voice for women as the international policy discourse as the founder of the Ariel Foundation. Finally, the conference wound its way to a conclusion through several participant papers, and at last through a dynamic panel discussion featuring President Dr. Alfredo Palacio, Dr. Keith Dinnie, Dr. Joao Freire, Jose Filipe Torres, Robert A. Saunders, Ph.D, Dr. Ariel King, and Mark Donfried.

Wednesday, March 09th 2011

Central themes:

  • Questions were explored such as the question of how to brand nations with troubled histories or relatively unknown countries, if it is possible to brand places like Africa positively, how to brand small countries, etc.
  • A nation brand should be able to present a slogan strong enough to unite all citizens of its country.
  • Multicultural and multiethnic societies have much to offer not only to a country’s unified culture, but also to its nation brand and tourism industry.
  • A country can be promoted best by being respectful, efficient, and consistent; this provides a better environment for attracting foreign investment and tourists.
  • Creating a nice slogan and logo are not the only things that go into making a nation brand; it is important to consider a country’s entire culture when developing a single brand.
  • It is important to position a country's brand for trade, tourism and investment for both the the large and small countries.

Thursday, March 10th 2011

Central themes:

  • The relationshipbetween cultural diplomacy, international relations, nation branding,sustainable tourism, and foreign investment in Europe, Africa, and LatinAmerica respectively.
  • The role ofsustainable tourism and ecotourism as a means of creating niche marketsfor domestic and foreign investment in developing countries,particularly with concern to social responsibility. 
  • Harnessing the powerof new media types, social media and networks, and the intersection oflanguage and the media in constituting and controlling national brands andimages in media outlets for mass consumption.
  • Developing holisticdevelopment strategies for the future in the developing world and beyonddrawing on the multi-faceted approaches of cultural diplomacy, foreigninvestment, tourism, and nation branding. 
  • The role of children,youth and younger generations in constituting national identities,contributing to social fabric, and cultural flavours. 
  • Bridging modern andtraditional cultural divides to retain traditional cultural flavours, yetcapitalize on new technologies, trade, and investment practices.
  • Balancing local andnational identities and brands with regional cooperation and regionaldestination marketing strategies.
  • Successful casestudies and examples of nation branding and tourism as ways to stimulateeconomic growth and international cultural exchange. 

Friday, March 11th 2011

Central themes:

  • The state of affairs and future of cultural diplomacy, nation branding, tourism, and foreign investment in Sudan.
  • The role of sustainable tourism, and ecotourism as niche markets in Lesotho as well as Lesotho’s unique geopolitical status.
  • Bridging public and private sector divides, innovation, corporate responsibility, and green technologies in personal transportation.
  • Coming to terms with and reconciling historical national identities and promoting modern nation brands.
  • Climate change and the securitization of environmental policy, particularly with concern to high risk and fragile societies (e.g. Seychelles, the Galapagos Islands).
  • The intersection and overlap of national identity and nation branding.
  • The role of conservation and preservation of the globe’s many ecosystems in promoting sustainable development and ecotourism.

Saturday, March 12th 2011

Central themes:

  • The way forward in East Africa and exploring the meaning and importance of cultural diplomacy, international relations, nation branding, sustainable tourism, and foreign investment.
  • The power of new media types, social media and networks, the role language in constituting meaning, the influence of the media in portraying national brands and images.
  • Transitional and development strategies in post-Soviet counties and the relative success of nation branding and identity formation.
  • Understanding effective nation branding and target audiences.
The role of marginalized groups in cultural diplomacy, including women, youth, and children with an emphasis on raising awareness and improving quality-of-life, social welfare, and the concept of so-called health diplomacy.