Understanding the hybrid format of IEC 2022

IEC conferences are the principal gatherings of the global integral community.

Integral European Conferences are the premier venue for the global integral world to get together and exchange information, knowledge, and experience. First held once every two years, and since 2020 every year, IECs are not only a huge social catalyst, where international integral collaborations begin and enable our human capital to grow, they also have a mission based on integral principles.

For this year we have designed a hybrid format that combines online and live events.

IECs are usually in-person, live conferences, like IEC 2014, 2016, and 2018, and the Re-gatherings in 2017 and 2019. Since the covid pandemic, we held IEC 2020 and 2021 online, because travel restrictions didn’t allow people to fly, and large group gatherings and physical contact was not possible. The online IECs were a great success with over 1,000 registrants from all corners of the world, including Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

We plan to do IEC 2023 live again in the Azur Hotel in the town of Siófok, Hungary, as before. Live IECs usually have 600–700 people attending in person.

Having examined the international covid situation in February 2022, we found that overall global travel is not yet stable enough to build a full, live conference as usual, so this year we decided to do it online again.

But since many people expressed their sorrow that they can’t come and meet the community, we decided that although this conference will be principally online, we will open a 

IEC Live Budapest Forum 

to enable those who can indeed come to actually meet in person!

The hybrid IEC is a unique format designed especially for this particular year, where restrictions have been lifted in many countries in Europe but not yet in other parts of the world. This will form a bridge for the hopefully fully live, in-person event in 2023. Therefore, IEC 2022 is not a live conference being broadcast online, but an online conference being attended by some people from home, and by others together in person in Budapest, forming a live, attendant international community in Budapest. Most parts of it will be online, with some elements held live in Budapest and live-streamed online. 

This way, everybody can participate from around the globe equally, and those who feel the impulse to leave their Zoom-home cave after two years of covid lockdown and finally travel and meet in person can also do that. 

Why in Budapest?

Usually live IEC conferences are held in a Hungarian holiday resort town called Siófok, an hour west of the capital, Budapest. Siófok is located on the shore of Central Europe’s biggest sweetwater lake, Balaton, which is a popular holiday destination offering one of the best hotels for large conferences in the country, Hotel Azur. For this year we let go of our booking of Hotel Azur, however, because it is too big of an organizational commitment for the IEC team. We will hold onto it for the 2023 fully live event instead. 

This year, we will make it simpler and relocate to the picturesque and bustling capital Budapest, which is for many travelers a true gem in the heart of Europe, full of character, history, and culture. Due to its central location and easy accessibility, it serves the semi self-organizing nature of the IEC Live Budapest Forum better.

Hungary has ended all covid regulations – you are free to travel!

Amazingly and coincidentally, a week after we decided on the hybrid format, Hungary ended its covid regulations. Now you can freely travel to Hungary, even without a vaccination or PCR test, just like it was before covid. Also, people don’t have to wear masks anymore outdoors or indoors, and events of any size can be held freely. Life has returned to the pre-covid, normal state. This creates perfect conditions for those of the global IEC community who are ready to travel to meet!

Rules of the Game for the IEC Live Budapest Forum

The hybrid format counts on the creativity, playfulness, aliveness, and self-organizing capacity of the integral community. Come and play, connect, learn, share, and enjoy!

1. A hotel in Budapest will serve as the venue and meeting point for in-person IEC participants.

The IEC team has booked one big conference room at the hotel, which will serve as the main hall for IEC 2022.

2. People will self-organize their travel and stay.

IEC guests, whether they are participants or presenters, will organize their own accommodations and travel. They can choose to stay in the hotel or find nearby spacious Airbnb apartments, and self-organize hubs with whomever they would like to be together with. We suggest that if you stay in apartments, choose ones close to the hotel to make it easy to access the main events.

3. The majority of presentations will be online.

The majority of the presentation will be held online by both those presenters who present from home and those who present from Budapest. Presenters who travel to Budapest will not present in front of a live audience but via Zoom, and it is their responsibility to make sure they are in a quiet place with a stable internet connection.

4. IEC Live will partly be on Zoom and partly meet every day for events.

IEC online (and hybrid) is structured in such a way that during the Central European daytime hours (CET time zone), between 8 am and 4 pm, presentations will be run in five parallel Zoom rooms—five parallel virtual halls. During this time, both people joining from home and from Budapest will join the online sessions from their computer. Live participants can self-organize and team up with others for certain sessions, and attend them from their hotel rooms, airbnbs, the lobby, cafeteria—wherever they like.

During the 4 pm to 11 pm CET keynote sessions and following community events all participants who come to Budapest can gather in the hotel’s Conference Hall in person and spend the time together with the whole community being present there. The live hall will be connected with the online community, so everybody participates in the main sessions together. If the keynote presenter and main process leader is not in Budapest, the presentation will be projected on a large screen in the hotel’s main hall, and when the keynote presenter is in Budapest, then it will be live-streamed online.

5. Some keynotes and main events will be held live and broadcast.

Keynoters can also decide if they want to stay at home or travel to Budapest. Some of them will present online, from the comfort of their homes, and some might appear in Budapest in person and lead the process live from there, which will then be broadcast by an audio-visual team to the online space.

Dr. Gabor Máté will be in Budapest with us in person, and we will organize a major keynote followed by a panel around the topic of world peace, trauma, and healing, inviting experts, therapists, activists, NGOs, and war refugees from neighboring Ukraine to share their knowledge, experience, and humanness in a heart-touching and mind expanding evening together.

More programs will develop on the ground in Budapest as we approach the event. These will be posted and broadcast.

Some programs might also be developed from the spontaneity and self-organizing creativity of the IEC participants on the ground.

6. Eat together and socialize.

Live participants can spend their breakfast, lunch, and dinner together in Budapest in the hotel’s dining room, or eat out in pleasant cafes, restaurants, or even in their rented apartments. Sharing mealtimes is a pleasant and great way to both leisurely connect and go with the flow, or organize it as a business lunch, and either way socialize.

For the online participants we have also organized lunchtime socializers, where people join from home with their lunch (or dinner or breakfast if they are in a different time zone) and spend time together talking about a specific topic or just random conversation.

7. Spend leisure time together.

Live participants can also creatively spend some free leisure time together in Budapest, and the IEC team will also offer them some options to facilitate joy, fun, and meaningful ways to connect.

8. Join an Integral Sightseeing Tour afterwards.

It has become a tradition and a highly attended option to travel together for a 3-day sightseeing tour right after the conference. Once in Hungary, many notice that they are in an amazing cultural space with a lot to see. Bence Ganti and other integral community members of Hungary will show them around, visiting some tourist musts and also some places that are meaningful to the local people. We also open hidden doors and visit places that tourists don’t know about but where locals go and the actual life is. On the tour, both experiences and narratives are presented from an integral stage-awareness, with honest, integrally informed talk about the societal and historical realities and the individual and collective interiors and exteriors we usually don’t hear about through news channels but which are the actual realities of the country and the region.

For these informative reasons and also for the very pleasant, leisurely tourist time with integral friends, many choose to join what is like a sweet dessert after the conference—a good bridging time before returning home. More info on the itinerary will be posted in the newsletter, make sure you are signed up. 

You can also understand the theme of this year’s conference, apply to present or register to get your ticket. 

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