Reflect Festival: A Celebration of Technology
The Future Takes Over the Streets of Limassol, Cyprus
Back in 2018, Reflect Festival was a boutique conference full of passionate, curious minds. Around 300 people gathered at St. Raphael hotel in Limassol, discussing the ever-elusive future. Fast forward to today, we’re talking about the biggest tech and future-focused event in Cyprus spanning across the seaside of Limassol. Its 4th edition is set to happen on October 14-16.
This journey is no coincidence. The island is uniquely positioned to connect in all sorts of ways: be it its location between Europe and the Middle East or the famous hospitality. And Reflect, eager to create synergies in Cyprus and beyond, became the meeting point for those seeking the connections.
THE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
“Born and raised in Limassol, I’ve always believed that our island is destined for a bright future,” says the Reflect Festival co-founder, Stylianos Lambrou. In 2018, he, Andria Lambrou and Dusan Duffek from Slovakia thought that “meeting in the middle” between the Middle East and Europe makes perfect sense. And so, Reflect was born, with the goal to boost Cypriot startup, tech, and business ecosystem and create a hub connecting it with the rest of the world. On top of that, it was an opportunity to bring world-class experts to Cyprus.
Following the humble beginnings, Reflect suddenly blew up in 2019. More than 2000 attendees gathered at the Carob Mill in Limassol to listen to speakers like Sujay Tyle (co-founder at Frontier Car Group), Chris Duffey (Head of Strategic Development at Adobe), Nat Ware (Founder & CEO at Forte), and Iman Oubou (Founder & CEO at SWAAY Media). The keynote speech was delivered by Sophia the Robot, the world’s first android citizen, who, according to her own words, enjoyed visiting Cyprus very much!
Moreover, the event included a dedicated expo area, which brought the technology and innovation even closer to the audience. This edition cemented Reflect’s significant impact; putting Cyprus on the map as a global tech hub.
THE COVID-19 ERA
Naturally, the organisers had ambitious plans for 2020: and then came the pandemic. “There wasn’t a moment where we’d think about giving up. From one day to another, the festival transformed into a hybrid experience with an online audience. It was quite a ride, but in the end, we managed to deliver what we wanted for the attendees that were largely stuck at home, eager to connect, discuss and create,” explains Dusan Duffek.
More than 3000 people came together in October 2020 amidst the devastating second wave. The speakers supported Reflect from all around the world, connecting online with the words of hope and a vision to build a better new normal. The festival welcomes Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia; Bryony Cole, Founder and CEO at Future of Sex; Niklas Jansen, Co-founder at Blinkist; and Kyriacos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister at Deputy Ministry of Cyprus for Research, Innovation & Digital Policy. As the Keynote speaker Yossi Vardi, the godfather of Israel’s hi-tech industry, said – adversity brings innovation.
Besides uniting the locals in a bid to promote future literacy, the festival started showcasing that “doers” worldwide should pay attention to the island as a good place for business. “Everything we wanted has become real throughout these few years. We never dreamed about having some big conference just for the sake of it. No, it was always about networks. It makes me so proud to bring all these inspirational people to Cyprus. And I’m always thrilled when I hear that some collaboration or a project happened because someone bumped into someone at our festival,” Lambrou explains. Up to date, more than 7000 people have been part of Reflect.
REFLECT FESTIVAL 2021: THE CITY EXPERIENCE
The pandemic isn’t over, but that new normal everyone was curious about is here, events included. And so, this year, Reflect is going all out: literally. Almost all event activities will happen outside, spread around the Old City of Limassol. Among the locations is the castle area, a floating stage, rooftops, and more, with talks, activities, and networking happening over three days.
More than 50 speakers and about 3000 attendees will gather to materialise the mission of new ideas, connections, and inventions. As always, the event aims to approach the future holistically: beyond technology, the topics will span from business to health, society, entertainment, and economy.
“We’ve told ourselves this is the opportunity to reinvent the Reflect Festival and take it outside. It makes for an approachable and immersive experience no one can miss, even if they are just passing by,” says Duffek. “We know it’s just as crucial to be future literate as it is to be able to read or write. This is how to do it – we are bringing the information straight to the people,” he concludes.