Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP

Certified Special Events Professional

Event Management Authority

Like angels and elephants dancing on the head of a pin, our dreams and responsibilities may have no limits, but must be balanced according to the music of the moment.









Brief History of the International EMBOK

31 July 2004

William J. O’Toole identified the need for an EMBOK in 1999 in his Masters thesis work at the University of Sydney comparing project management methodology with the management of events and festivals, included on a website he created to collect data and promote discussion of this topic. Julia Rutherford Silvers, who had been researching the scope of core competencies for event management, began email correspondence with O’Toole in 2000 regarding his work, expressing interest in the development of an EMBOK, which culminated in the launch of Silvers’ Event Management Body of Knowledge Project on her website in 2003.

Janet Landey, who had worked closely with O’Toole, Silvers, and others on numerous projects in conjunction with the International Special Events Society (ISES) and the work of the Institute of Event Management, hosted the first EMBOK Imbizo*, where these academic and practitioner experts expanded the previous work done by each to develop the conceptual framework for a common international event management body of knowledge that may be customized to meet the needs of various cultures, governments, education programs, and organizations.

* Imbizo, pronounced im-bee-zo, is the Zulu word for gathering.

Julia Silvers & Bill O'Toole

1st International EMBOK Imbizo

The 2004 EMBOK Imbizo, held 4-6 July at the Edeni Private Game Reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa, and sponsored by the Institute of Event Management in Johannesburg, was a gathering of experts in event management from around the world who convened to pursue an agenda to map, define, and align current event management standards consistent with the needs of a global event management environment.

The mission of this international endeavor is to develop the conceptual framework for a common international event management body of knowledge that may be customized to meet the needs of various cultures, governments, education programs, and organizations.

The participants included, in alphabetical order:

Imbizo participants, from left to right, in the back row Glenn Bowdin, Matthew Gonzalez, and Jane Spowart; in the middle row Janet Landey and Kathy Nelson; and in front Julia Rutherford Silvers, Joe Goldblatt, and Bill O'Toole.

Glenn AJ Bowdin, MPhil, ILTM (UK) Leeds Metropolitan Univ.

Joe Goldblatt, Ed.D., CSEP (US) Temple Univ.

Matthew D. Gonzalez, MCSE, PMP (US)

Janet Landey, CSEP (SA) Institute of Event Management

Kathy Nelson, Ph.D., CSEP, CMP (US) Univ. Nevada Las Vegas

William J. O'Toole (AUS)

Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP (US)

Jane Spowart, Ph.D. (SA) Technikon Witwatersrand (Guest)

The outcome of the Imbizo included the establishment of the International EMBOK Executive, which has moved forward with this international effort to quantify the scope and framework of performance-based process standards built upon a researched, tested, three-dimensional model of event management functions, processes, phases, and core values. Using this model, the complex job of event management may be approached in a comprehensive manner, ensuring all critical functional responsibilities, possibilities, and opportunities are addressed properly and competently.

16 August 2005

Photo Courtesy of eVentage magazine

2nd International EMBOK Imbizo

The International EMBOK Model (see below) was unveiled at the second International Event Management Body of Knowledge (EMBOK) Imbizo, held 28-29 July 2005 at the Ellis Park Stadium World of Sports in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. Developed by members of the International EMBOK Executive, the Model is a knowledge framework and descriptive summary of the scope and processes that are used in the management of events.

International EMBOK Executive members gave presentations on their current research at the Imbizo, including (from left to right) Joe Goldblatt, Janet Landey, William J. O'Toole, Julia Rutherford Silvers, Kathy Nelson, and Glenn Bowdin.

20 July 2007

3rd International EMBOK Imbizo

The 3rd International EMBOK Imbizo was held July 2-4, 2007 at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. The EMBOK was positioned as an international authority and advocate for excellence in events management and a concept that brings people together in recognition of the commonalities of skill sets in different event sectors and the need for maintaining, updating, and improving quality in events and events management.

Work on validation of the International EMBOK Model by numerous groups was reviewed and updates on the status of industry standards and qualifications initiatives around the world were presented. In addition, Joyce Dogniez from MPI (EMEA) introduced MPI's CultureActive© Tool, and Steve Schmader of IFEA announced the establishment of the IFEA Africa chapter.

Members of the International EMBOK Executive gave presentations on their current research and endeavors, including William J. O'Toole, Glenn Bowdin, Janet Landey, Julia Rutherford Silvers, Kathy Nelson, Matthew D. Gonzalez, and Philip Mondor.

Ivor Blumenthal from Services SETA, South Africa, Susan Briggs from Service Skills Australia, and Philip Mondor of the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council

A tri-lateral Memorandum of Understanding for reciprocal recognition between South Africa, Australia, and Canada was signed. The MOU specified that the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and the South African Qualifications Association (SAQA), Service Skills Australia, and the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) have agreed and committed to cooperation with regards to Global Certifications and Recognition of Qualifications and Standards for events management.


These agencies will undertake the mapping of their qualifications against each other and the EMBOK, and are looking to draw together a Global Council including other sector skills councils from around the world for developing a Global Events Management Standards Initiative, from which a global set of competencies are to be developed.

January 2, 2009

International Standards

Members of the International EMBOK Executive convened in November 2008 in Winnipeg, Manitoba in conjunction with the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council's Foreign Credential Recognition Education Projects National Advisory Panel to review the International Events Management Standard (IEMS) developed by the CTHRC.

The IEMS builds on the International EMBOK framework and other recognized and established occupational standards and curricula from six countries, and was ratified by a network of domestic and international professional associations, government standards setting bodies, event management practitioners, thought leaders, and other stakeholders from 16 countries.

February 5, 2013

The IEMS were further tested and revised as the Event Management International Competency Standards (EMICS) in 2011, and ratified in January 2012 in Ottawa by the EMICS Global Advisory Board, which included representatives from numerous industry associations, educational institutions and government qualifications authorities. The standards are now being developed by the CTHRC into an International Event Qualifications Framework (IEQF) that will provide benchmark criteria for career path options.

IEMS Advisory Panel's EMBOK members, November 2008

From left to right, back row: Philip Mondor, Matthew Gonzales, Glenn Bowdin, and Julia Rutherford Silvers; front row: Janet Landey, Bill O'Toole, and Kathy Nelson



July 2010

Photo by Dan Nelson

In Memoriam

Dr. Kathy Nelson

Kathy, devoted wife of Dan and mother of Chloe, was a dear friend and colleague. She was also a gifted teacher, researcher, and mentor to thousands.

We had so much left to do together.


The International EMBOK Model


© 2005, International EMBOK Executive, All Rights Reserved

Click here to view a PowerPoint that explains the International EMBOK Model.

The International EMBOK Model, which has been released to the public (under Creative Commons Licensing) on the International EMBOK website, draws knowledge domains and the range of activities involved in event management together with the event planning process, which will enable the event management discipline to be mapped, defined and refined. This holistic three-dimensional framework enables the process to be broken down into individual components, illustrates the logical relationships between these components over time, and should facilitate better understanding, an infrastructure for information, and the possibility of improvement.

The Knowledge Domains and their Classes (or management areas) are the grouping of tasks and responsibilities of event management into subject areas for the purposes of study, analysis and application. It is based on, and facilitates the assimilation of, data gathered through experience, expert opinion, and review of research and industry literature. Within each Class are numerous Elements, for example Administration (Domain): Human Resources (Class): Volunteers (Element), which will be subject to different objectives, procedures, and constraints during different phases. The taxonomy of Elements will be developed over time as the International EMBOK is refined through the work of users, researchers and other contributors.


The five phases emphasize the importance of time in any project model and the fact that each component in the knowledge domain has a time dimension. The processes are an integrated, sequential and iterative system associated with each element of each functional area of each domain at each phase in the event management process, with tools and techniques that may be used for each. The core values of creativity, strategic thinking, continuous improvement, ethics, and integration are the values that must permeate all decisions throughout event management regarding every element, phase, and process.


Releasing the International EMBOK Model into the public domain will make it a flexible resource available to a broad variety of industry stakeholders.

  • Associations may use the EMBOK for producing and perfecting professional development programming and credentialing products that offer international recognition and career portability for their members.

  • Education organizations, including academic and vocational training institutions, may use the EMBOK for developing and maintaining quality curriculum programs based on benchmarked current practice, as well as creating relevant research opportunities.

  • Governments may use the EMBOK when seeking to create worthwhile employment opportunities and considering policies and regulatory legislation to protect their citizenry and minimize their liability.

  • Current and future practitioners and suppliers may use the EMBOK for clear direction towards continuous improvement of quality, efficiency and profitability.

  • The event management industry may use the EMBOK for image and stature enhancement by articulating the scope and complexity of the profession.

EMBOK Day at the 2006 LV Summit

EMBOK Day at the 2007 LV Summit

©2001-2016, Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP. Albuquerque, NM, USA. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use & Disclaimer