Showcasing the ACE community’s unwavering dedication to business excellence and promoting a strong and positive transatlantic economy, AmChams in Europe’s 2023 Best Practice Sharing Conference brought ACE representatives from across Europe and Eurasia to Athens for three days of insight, innovation, and collaboration.
Organized and hosted by ACE and the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, the conference was a resounding success. It served as a platform for participants to share best practices and engage in meaningful exchanges through a fantastic conference program that included networking, talks, high-level meetings, workshops, and local experiences, as well as celebrations marking the organization’s 60th anniversary.
On September 27-29, 2023, more than 60 representatives from over 35 AmChams gathered in Athens, the ancient cradle of democracy, to foster transatlantic relations and promote cooperation at this year’s AmChams in Europe (ACE) Best Practice Sharing Conference. Proudly hosted by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, the outstanding event featured discussions, knowledge sharing, and ample opportunities to cultivate and strengthen valuable connections. The conference was jointly organized by ACE in partnership with AmCham Greece.
Established in 1963, ACE serves as the umbrella organization for 46 American Chambers of Commerce from 44 countries throughout Europe and Eurasia and strives to create partnerships and cooperative relationships and achieve shared prosperity, aiming to lead to a more dynamic and influential future for AmChams across the globe.
Three Days of Insight, Innovation, and Collaboration
Conference proceedings kicked off on Wednesday, September 27, with the Welcome and Brainstorming Session, which outlined the ACE network’s perspective on the future of AmChams and highlighted its united commitment to progress and mutually beneficial growth. Breakout sessions throughout the day hosted engaging discussions on a range of issues of relevance to the AmChams network, from achieving organizational sustainability and what it means to be an accountable business to overcoming economic challenges and ensuring member engagement. Meanwhile, a special session on Greek tourism featured Dimitris Fragakis, Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), who focused on the development of the country’s tourism industry, demonstrating its resilience and highlighting efforts to diversify and enrich the Greek tourism product. The day ended with an exclusive reception for conference delegates at Jefferson House, the United States Ambassador’s Residence in Athens. Hosted by US Ambassador to Greece George J. Tsunis, the reception underlined AmChams’ contribution to promoting cooperation and stronger ties between the United States and Europe.
It has been an honor to host our distinguished colleagues from AmChams across the European continent. Our presence here together, underscores the power of unity in diversity, showcasing the strength that comes from pooling together our knowledge, experience, and vision. Together, we can forge new partnerships and chart fresh paths to success.
— Nikolaos Bakatselos, President, AmCham Greece
Day two, Thursday, September 28, began with talks focused on the reform of the European Union’s pharmaceutical legislation, also known as the EU Pharma Package, inviting industry experts to discuss how this affects the European pharmaceutical industry, reflect on the challenges and opportunities ahead, and share their insights. Shifting the focus to regeneration and development, the conference agenda then featured an exclusive tour of The Ellinikon Experience Center, where through a series of interactive multimedia installations and presentations, delegates had the opportunity to learn about the ambitious sustainability-focused urban development project taking place at the site of the city’s former airport, in the area often referred to as the Athens Riviera. Meanwhile, AmCham Presidents were invited to participate in an insightful roundtable discussion with senior government officials: Minister of Economy and Finance Kostis Hatzidakis, Minister of Development Kostas Skrekas, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kostas Fragogiannis.
It’s a great honor for me to be here at the meeting of all the European CEOs of AmChams. This Chamber creates a lot of value for all the companies participating in it but also for all the countries. I am particularly honored and happy that this year’s conference is happening in my home country, Greece.
— Dr. Albert Bourla, Chair and CEO, Pfizer
The evening of September 28 also featured a special gala event commemorating AmChams in Europe’s 60th anniversary. The event took place at the award-winning Acropolis Museum and included a private tour of the exhibits, an elegant dinner under the illuminated Parthenon, and live music from a string trio, as well as inspiring addresses and a fireside chat between Susan Danger, Chair of AmChams in Europe and CEO of AmCham EU, and Dr. Albert Bourla, Chair and CEO of Pfizer. Striking a perfect balance of festive atmosphere, networking opportunities and reflection on AmCham collaborations, the event was an excellent celebration of ACE’s six decades of operations and accomplishments.
The conference’s third day, Friday, September 29, opened with a breakfast briefing for ACE presidents and CEOs, who met with local industry and investment leaders to examine promising opportunities for the future. Leading up to the Creative Network Awards ceremony later in the day, delegates then enjoyed presentations of the top creative efforts and projects from various AmChams worldwide, which showcased innovative ideas and initiatives focused on advancing economies, improving corporate governance, fostering digital education, and strengthening resilience. At the ceremony itself, AmCham Ukraine was declared the winner of the 2023 Creative Network Awards for its “Continuity amid Crisis: How to Steer AmCham through Country’s Hardship” project, displaying its fierce commitment to innovation and recovery in such uncertain times. The conference concluded with a dinner hosted by Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis at Athens City Hall.
We’ve had a full three days of best practice sharing meetings. … The messages have been around standing together with a bold, united voice on calling out for transatlantic values—those of democracy, freedom, peace, and rule of law—as well as also learning and trying to do our best for the attractiveness of Europe.
— Susan Danger, Chair, AmChams in Europe, and CEO, AmCham EU
In addition to the conference’s main agenda and program of events, delegates also had the opportunity to enjoy a selection of informative and cultural activities—experiences that allowed them to better understand and appreciate Greece, its heritage and hospitality. These included a presentation by Enterprise Greece and Boston Consulting Group that outlined the country’s incredible economic recovery and its path to emerging today as a foremost regional hub and powerhouse, a visit to the Acropolis and Parthenon, opportunities to explore the capital’s wealth of antiquities, traditional dance demonstrations, encounters with the country’s world-famous gastronomy, as well as a post-conference day cruise to the Saronic islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina.
A Resounding Success
Without a doubt, the ACE 2023 Best Practice Sharing Conference was a resounding success. Over three days of fruitful networking, learning, and collaborating, the conference sparked inspiration, offered insights, and provided motivation to participants from across the ACE community to continue strengthening transatlantic relations and promoting innovation within the business environment.
The underpinnings of vibrant countries start with great economies, and the role that chambers of commerce play is absolutely vital. When the economies are strong, the countries are safer, more opportunistic, more vibrant, and people have better lives—and this is very important.
— George J. Tsunis, US Ambassador to Greece
The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce extends sincere appreciation for their dedication and contribution to ACE Chair Susan Danger, ACE Vice-Chair Ajša Vodnik, and the ACE Secretariat team. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our AmCham colleagues, participants, distinguished speakers, and generous sponsors for making this conference a transformative and unforgettable event. Let us carry the spirit of unity and resilience forward, as we continue to collectively strive for a better and more prosperous future for our members, the global business community, and the world.
We stand united and resolute, confident in the strength and resilience of the American Chambers of Commerce in Europe as we collectively chart a path toward a bright and promising future built on the solid principles and values that have distinguished our organization throughout its 60-year course.
— Elias Spirtounias, Executive Director, AmCham Greece
All of us at AmCham Greece take immense pride in the outstanding result we have achieved in organizing the ACE 2023 Best Practice Sharing Conference. Through unwavering teamwork and dedication, we have not only met but exceeded our goals. This success stands as a testament to our collective efforts and commitment to excellence, as well as our invaluable collaboration with all teams across the ACE network.
— the AmCham Greece team
ACE 2023 BPSC Key Topics
Trade · Throughout the conference, discussions explored innovative strategies for enhancing crossborder trade, underlining the importance of fostering robust economic ties across Europe and beyond, and highlighting the ACE network’s commitment to collaborative initiatives.
The Global Economy · Experts and thought leaders shared valuable insights into the constantly evolving global economic landscape, with discussions covering a range of key topics from emerging market trends to the transformative impact of digitalization on businesses, outlining a roadmap for navigating today’s demanding business environment.
Environmental Stewardship · Echoing ACE’s shared commitment to a greener, more sustainable future and its role in advancing sustainable practices across industries, sustainability and environmental responsibility took center stage, with discussions underscoring the significance of CSR and exploring how businesses can align their operations with environmental goals.
Resilience · The conference highlighted the ACE community’s inspiring collective spirit of determination and unwavering resolve, as participants discussed strategies for adapting to change, embracing innovation, and identifying opportunities even in the face of the most formidable challenges.
A Promising Tomorrow · Providing a platform for envisioning and shaping a future that gleams with promise, the conference empowered participants, reframing their role not as passive observers of today’s challenges but as architects of tomorrow, forward-looking and drawing on the enduring strength and resilience of American Chambers of Commerce in Europe.
Thoughts from across the ACE Community
Over three inspiring days in Athens, we had the privilege of engaging in discussions, looking deeply into important topics, and shaping valuable connections. With the participation of representatives from over 30 AmChams, we are super excited about the exciting opportunities on the horizon as we grow our network and create innovative partnerships.
— AmChams in Europe
I want to thank the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce for this beautiful journey here in Greece for the 60th anniversary of AmChams in Europe.
— AmCham Belgium
Over the last four days in Athens, I have spent time asking questions and learning how Chambers from across the region support their members—from CRMs in Finland to regional events in Ireland, to digital academies in Turkiye and programs for educators in Slovenia. We also had an amazing presentation on resilience from our great friends at the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine which inspired everyone in the room.
— BritishAmerican Business
I am returning to Germany with many new ideas, best practices, and insights from colleagues from all over Europe on how to further improve engagement opportunities and events to the benefit of our members.
— AmCham Germany
We would like to sincerely thank the ACE Secretariat and AmCham Greece for a very useful and memorable conference this year and a magnificent celebration!
— AmCham Estonia
This conference was a fantastic opportunity for us, as new observing members, to learn, connect, and grow as a community, and it would not have been possible without your tireless efforts. Once again, thank you for your dedication and for creating an unforgettable conference experience. I look forward to future collaborations and more successful events together.
— AmCham Kyrgyzstan
AmCham Latvia is a proud member of AmChams in Europe and was delighted to take part in its 60th anniversary celebration in Athens, Greece, last week. An inspiring, informative, and important conference!
— AmCham Latvia
In Athens, AmChamNL Executive Director Marc ter Haar and AmChamNL Deputy Executive Director Elke Roelant met with AmCham colleagues from all over Europe and there were many learnings and ideas for exciting opportunities. Together, AmChams continue to seek ways to contribute to a sustainable future and business climate in Europe!
— AmCham Netherlands
[The ACE 2023 Best Practice Sharing Conference in Athens was] a great opportunity to discuss AmChams’ role in today’s world and to exchange ideas with colleagues from other AmChams.
Huge thanks to the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce team with Elias Spirtounias; AmCham Slovenia’s Ajša Vodnik, and Susan Danger from AmCham EU for this amazing conference!
— AmCham Poland
Congratulations to all AmCham Greece friends for hosting the most glamorous and insightful ACE Best Practices Conference I have ever attended in my 16 years working for AmCham! Moreover, congratulations for contributing to the robust economic recovery your country has achieved in more than adverse times. The way your state officials, members and diaspora have shown us what an economic powerhouse we have in our neighborhood inspires us further to enhance regional cooperation. Thank you for inviting us to your beautiful country, providing us with the opportunity to extend our enjoyment of the famous Greek hospitality for the adjunct weekend and put to the test what we have heard in the tourism presentation.
— AmCham Serbia
I will always treasure the memories and inspiration gained from our time together at the conference. This experience has given me a newfound motivation to reach even higher.
— AmCham Slovenia
The most valuable conference I have attended in a long time. AmChams in Europe (ACE) had wonderful benchmark sharing and cohesive discussion on the role of AmChams in the future. I greatly appreciated being invited as a guest to the conference, and I am looking forward to being a bridge between AmChams in Asia Pacific and the ACE network.
— AmCham Thailand
We are pleased to attend the AmChams in Europe Best Practice Sharing Conference in Athens with AmCham Turkiye Chair Tankut Turnaoglu. Thank you, American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, for the seamless organization!
— AmCham Turkiye
Citi, Pfizer, Public Power Corporation
AbbVie, Boston Consulting Group, Enterprise Greece, GE HealthCare, Hill International, Iron Mountain, Johnson & Johnson MedTech, Lamda Development, Mondelēz International
With the Support of
Greek National Tourism Organization