If the global meetings industry stands for any one single principle, it is the importance of talking and listening to others, and to finding non - violent solutions to important, complex, profoundly difficult issues.

With an ever changing global economic environment with many socio economic and political challenges it seems that our tolerance and empathy for each other has been lost along the way. The recent Xenophobic attacks in my country on foreign nationals of African origin cannot be condemned strongly enough. Whilst much has been said and written of these attacks, no matter what frustrations are faced on the ground by individuals and communities, violence on any level is unacceptable.

 Please do not immediately judge all South Africans by these senseless acts as this does not represent who we are as a people. Numerous church groups, voluntary associations and individuals have shown kindness and support for those who have been targeted.

Having read a number of articles this extract from an article by Binwe Adebayo title “Everyday xenophobia and the shifting circle of be longing” struck a cord with me. “But because to fight the real war – the one against systematic inequality – a unified voice is required, one that recognises the need and right of all people to be able to self - actualise and achieve the good life in whatever space they occupy”.

I am sending this message in sadness, but with the hope and confidence that understanding and tolerance will eventually win through against ignorance and bigotry, in my country and also in the many other places around the world where such problems still exist