Last week, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Board of Directors met with SCA and World Coffee Events (WCE) senior staff and members of the recently appointed Review Panel to discuss the issue of hosting WCE world championship events in Dubai next year.
The Review Panel has taken steps to gather input from the executive councils and working groups of the SCA’s guilds, members of the LGBTQ+ community, the competitions community, and the specialty coffee community in Dubai and beyond. We have also sought input from global human rights organizations on the laws and practices that could prevent members from participating in the world championship events.
We agree the compulsory nature of this event presents issues and safety concerns for individuals not factored in the original decision. We have established a direction that takes these concerns seriously, while also considering our role to foster local specialty coffee communities around the globe. We have further conversations scheduled and will provide a more definitive update once those have taken place.
As we continue to work toward a resolution, we are concurrently developing processes that will outline event and host sponsor selection criteria that will uphold our mission and values. One thing is clear: our selection criteria must be evolved to consider the feedback and learnings from this experience.
The heritage SCAA and SCAE associations have a long history working with both the LGBTQ+ community and with partners in the United Arab Emirates and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, helping support thriving coffee cultures through events and education. The SCA is committed to continuing this work, but also recognizes the unique challenge of hosting a compulsory event for competitors from around the world.
The questions raised in the past weeks are profoundly important and deserving of the attention and concern in the community. The SCA is committed to giving this issue all of the necessary attention and further exploration to properly consider the input from everyone in our community.
–Members of the Review Panel on behalf of the SCA