On 19 February 2021, a Special Edition of the Munich Security Conference took place due to the ongoing Corona Pandemic.
Traditionally, the Munich Security Conference (MSC), the world's leading forum for foreign and security policy, takes place every year in February. Due to the Corona pandemic, it had to be postponed for the first time to a later date in 2021. However, an exchange of decision-makers is particularly important at this special time. Therefore, the MSC has decided to organise a globally visible platform, the MSC Special Edition, on the learned launch date of the MSC digital. The MSC Special Edition, titled "Beyond Westlessness: Renewing Transatlantic Cooperation, Meeting Global Challenges", focused, among other things, on how to reinvigorate and renew the transatlantic alliance and in which areas transatlantic and international cooperation is most needed.
The speeches by leading politicians such as Joe Biden, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson, António Guterres, Jens Stoltenberg, Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, John F. Kerry and Bill Gates were broadcast live, as usual, from the Bayerischer Hof and marked the start of the "Road to Munich 2021" campaign.
The MSC Special Edition was produced on 19th February from 16:00 to 19:15 Central European Time at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich without participants and thanks to simultaneous translation in German and English. The above-mentioned guests were connected virtually from their respective locations. Viewers had the opportunity to follow the conference live on all MSC digital channels (Livestream on the MSC website, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube), on the TV channel Phoenix, on partner channels of the European Broadcasting Union and online on BR24.de. As always, Bayerischer Rundfunk was the broadcaster.
MSC Chairman and Ambassador Dr. Wolfgang Ischinger led a live Q&A session. Natalie Amiri, foreign correspondent of the ARD, accompanied the programme as Master of Ceremony.
Naturally, the cancellation of the traditional MSC as the most demanding event of the year due to Corona caused disappointment among the staff of the Bayerischer Hof. However, they were very pleased that at least a small conference could take place, in virtual form with Dr. Ischinger on stage and other speakers who were connected from all over the world. At the same time, this presented another challenge, which the Bayerischer Hof mastered with bravura. With the organisation team of the MSC, the planning of the international virtual event could be planned professionally and with short distances.
This year, only one suite was converted into a break-out room, so that Dr. Ischinger was able to follow up the conference with various live broadcasts to different radio stations in an uncomplicated and COVID-compliant manner. Normally, entire floors are used for this purpose. A 132-page hygiene concept was specially adapted for the event and stated, among other things, that every person meeting the event in any way had to undergo a COVID rapid test.
There were no VIP guests on site, only technical staff from Bayerischer Rundfunk and MSC. All entrances to the festival hall were secured by security staff, who only allowed access to authorised and registered persons. In addition to the owner, Mrs. Innegrit Volkhardt, these included staff from the banquet service, housekeeping, technology, and communication departments.
In any case, the hotel Bayerischer Hof is looking forward to hopefully being able to welcome all the guests of honour live on site in Munich again soon. Nevertheless, it was nice to see that one of the most important conferences in the world could be digitally hosted, moderated, and distributed to the world without any problems from the ballroom of the Bayerischer Hof. Certainly, the advantages of virtual events will be integrated into the concepts of future conferences.
The multiple award-winning hotel, ideally situated in Munich’s Old Town District, is privately owned and run in fourth generation by the Volkhardt family. With its 337 guest rooms, including 74 suites, it ranks among the leading German hotels and is member of “The leading Hotels of the World”. Together with the gourmet restaurant Atelier, awarded with 3 stars by Guide Michelin and 19 points by Gault Millau, five restaurants and six bars meet all culinary delights.
The ballroom, as well as 40 function rooms, with their contemporary or historical settings are the perfect backdrop for events with a capacity of max. 2,500 guests. Spread over 1,300 sqm the unique rooftop wellness oasis Blue Spa awaits guests, offering breath taking views over Munich. The famous Night Club stages almost daily performances by international jazz greats. The very own theatre Komödie at the hotel Bayerischer Hof represents the best in light theatre. Furthermore the hotel’s unique astor@ Cinema Lounge offers latest movies. The Hotel Zur Tenne in Kitzbühel, Austria as well as the wine store Volkhardts Wein are also part of the property portfolio run by the Volkhardt family.