Barack Obama: Inspiring ideas for world-changing leadership

Here at the EICC, our mission statement centres on creating an environment which inspires ideas that can change the world

Last month, President Barack Obama graced our venue with one of his first major public appearances since leaving the White House and reminded the great and good of Scottish society that it is the next generation of leaders - from politics, civic life, business and social enterprise - that will shape the future for all of us. 

I am excited to see what the Obama Foundation and the Obama Presidential Center will achieve in the years to come and it was interesting that the former President kept returning to the concept of leadership throughout a keynote speech that will live long in the memories of those of us fortunate to be at the EICC on the night.  

Fostering leadership in the next generation is something close to my own heart and it is with great satisfaction that we recently launched the UK’s first MSc in Business Event Management in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University

Previously, students could only study business event management at undergraduate level and we’re aiming to attract event managers of the future from not only Scotland and the UK but from across the globe. 

President Obama talked about “shining a light on the next generation of leaders”, particularly as not all institutions allow young people to express themselves. 

With world-class events taking place every day of the week, we want our MSc students to be in the thick of the action at the EICC and working with our top people because we think this is the kind of experience that will give them the confidence to be the next generation of leaders in the industry.   

We also think the learning process will be a two-way thing and look forward to working with our intake of students on areas like digital because, in a similar way to every other business sector, the conference and events industry is going to see even greater levels of digital transformation in the years ahead. 

The MSc is well positioned to take advantage of the fast-growing UK events sector, currently valued at over £40 billion and contributing almost £2 billion to the Scottish economy alone and it’s more important than ever in 2017 that we keep up with the global competition. 

Our first intake of students will be in place this September and we’re looking to have around 15 people on the course in the first year. Edinburgh Napier University is Scotland’s leading university in hospitality, tourism and events industry and as Scotland’s leading conference venue, we want to build a Masters degree that is as good as anything anywhere else on the international scene.  

We will be providing work placements for the MSc students and delivering guest lectures at Napier’s main Craiglockhart Campus just outside the city centre. 

There is a great feeling of collective confidence that the Master’s degree can be a real differentiator for the students who undertake it. We want the MSc to be a platform for innovation and future leadership and the team and I are thrilled to be involved – we can’t wait to meet the first intake this September. 

And who knows, maybe one of the graduates from this programme will one day be sitting behind my desk!

Marshall Dallas, Chief Executive at EICC