The purpose of this guide is to provide Session Leads with the tools to successfully plan and facilitate a technical session at the Understanding Risk (UR) Caribbean Conference. As a Session Lead, you will play a critical role in framing the discourse of the  conference  by: (i) identifying the topic of the session, (ii) inviting experts and practitioners as session panelists; (iii) potentially presenting a five minute “ignite” overview during the Opening Ceremony (see Ignite Presentation Guide); and (iv) providing a summary of the best practices discussed in the session  for the conference Proceedings publication. 

Sessions should be engaging and fun, with adequate time for audience participation and questions. We encourage Session Leads to think outside the box on ways to present information and facilitate audience engagement.

Roles and Responsibilities of Session Leads

 As a Session Lead, you will need to submit the following information: 

1. Session Title and Abstract:Submit an initial outline of the session topic, as well as a catchy title, to the UR Caribbean organizing team through the link below. This information will be uploaded to the UR community platform (www.understandrisk.org) leading up to the event.

Please note: While initial information was collected through the Call For Proposals, please fill out an expanded Technical Sessions/Training Form, so we can update your details, in the event that changes have been made to your proposed session.

2. Identify Panelists:  UR technical sessions should include a diverse (in organization, nationality, and gender) and interesting group of speakers or be a highly interactive session, such as a serious game. There is flexibility for you to develop a session that best conveys information in an upbeat and engaging way. Below are some potential formats:

  • Presentation format: 3 – 4 experts and practitioners in the field to speak for a maximum of 10 minutes each.  
  • Ignite format: 6 – 8 speakers to present ignite-style presentations. Ignite presentations are a total of 5 minutes with 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds (see: http://igniteshow.com/).   
  • Hard-Talk format: A panel of 3 – 4 experts and practitioners to discuss the topic, with audience participation, e.g. Q&A. Hard-talks are generally more casual, allowing for more of a flowing dialogue between the speakers and the audience.

Please feel free to propose other session formats that fit your topic.

Please note: Session Leads are responsible for the travel and accommodation of their  panelists.  We have provided information for two main conference hotels that will be offering special rates to attendees the week of the conference. Transportation will be provided from these hotels to the main conference venue (University of the West Indies – Cave Hill Campus’ Errol Barrow Center for Creative Imagination).

3. Lead-up Preparation:  Hold discussions and/or  share  relevant information  with panelists to further define session content (abstract, format, presentations, etc.)

4. Session Format: Submit the final abstract, panelist names and other information regarding the session (bios, PPT, etc.) to the organizing committee prior to the event (see “Timeline” below for all deadlines).

5. Session Presentations: For sessions that will utilize presentations, please note that each room will have one presentation laptop. All presentations must be saved onto a flash drive so that they can be loaded onto the laptop provided. Any online videos or media you wish to show should be downloaded and saved onto the flash drive as well. Internet access is available, but it is best to be prepared in case of any connection difficulties. The presentation laptop will likely be a PC, so please ensure that any presentation software used is PC-compatible. We also ask that you submit any presentations to be used in the sessions by the deadline provided in the Timeline below.

6. Blog Submissions: We encourage you to write a blog post to give your session visibility and encourage people to attend. Recommended length is approximately 700 words or 1-2 pages in a document. Tell the story behind your session: explain what the challenge is, why the topic is important, and what’s new about it. Give people a compelling reason to attend, and explain what the audience will take away.

Use visuals like photos where possible. To find royalty-free images to use, try freeimages.com or browse stock photos. Please attribute any photos you use, following the specific guidelines included with the image. All blog submissions are due no later than May 6th. Accepted posts will appear on the UR website, but to increase visibility, we encourage you to explore other channels to cross-post and promote your session as well.

7. Ignite Presentation: Present the session on the opening night of the conference in an Ignite-style presentation: using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes. (see: http://igniteshow.com/).

Please note: If you are selected to present, an Ignite rehearsal will be held Monday morning prior to the Opening Ceremony. Failure to attend the ignite rehearsal will mean that you will not be able to promote your session on the opening night.

8. Post Conference Summary of the Session: Summarize the main findings and best practices highlighted in the session, with contributions by the panelists. The summary is approximately 1,500 words and is due by June 5, 2019. This summary will be published in the Understanding Risk (UR) Caribbean Proceedings Publication and posted to the UR Caribbean webpage.  


Session Title and Abstract, List of PanelistsApril 19, 2019
Other Session MaterialMay 3, 2019
Blog SubmissionsMay 6, 2019
Ignite Presentations Submitted May 17, 2019
Powerpoints from Panelists SubmittedMay 17, 2019
Ignite RehearsalMay 27, 2019 (Morning)
Understanding Risk Caribbean ConferenceMay 27 – June 1, 2019
Provide Summary of Sessions/ProceedingsJune 5, 2019


If you have any questions, please email us at URCaribbean@understandrisk.org with copy to Tayler Friar (tfriar@worldbank.org) and include “Session Lead” in the email subject.