UN uses ENGAGE platform to host major global event in VR

05 October 2020

The United Nations’ annual ‘Global Youth Takeover’ to be held virtually for the first time and will include speeches from global influencers and a performance by musician Pitbull; UN joins a number of major organisations to use ENGAGE including the European Commission, HTC, McKinsey & Company and Yahoo!

VR Education Holdings plc (AIM: VRE; Euronext Growth: 6VR), a leading virtual reality ('VR') technology company, is pleased to announce that its ENGAGE platform has been chosen to deliver a major United Nations (‘UN’) event.  VR Education’s ENGAGE platform, which hosts virtual events, virtual training and remote distance learning, will be used to facilitate the UN’s annual ‘Global Youth Takeover’ event on 24 October 2020.

With Covid-19 making many physical events impossible, using VR technology, the ENGAGE platform can provide attendees of virtual conferences with a real live event experience.  Attendees can watch presentations or shows and walk around different areas to talk to people.  Delegates at the UN event will be able to hear from global influencers, including, among others:

  • Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: the Director General of the World Health Organisation
  • Siyabulela Mandela: Journalist and grandson of Nelson Mandela
  • Jayathma Wickramanayake: UN Undersecretary and UN Envoy on Youth
  • Julianne Hough: Actress and Performer (including as a judge on America’s Got Talent)

The event will culminate in a virtual performance from musician Pitbull, who has approximately 100 million social media followers.

The UN is the latest organisation to use both VR and ENGAGE to host a significant event.  The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the demand for VR as a tool for event organisation as well as delivering remote distance learning and training.  This year ENGAGE has been used by a growing number of global companies and organisations for virtual training and events, many of which have originated through the Group’s partnership with HTC, including the European Commission, Ericsson, Facebook, McKinsey & Company, the United States Air Force, and Yahoo!  Further details of some these events are included below.

David Whelan, CEO of VR Education, said: “With almost all physical events on hold for the foreseeable future, there has been a big increase in major organisations wanting to host virtual events.  We are delighted the United Nations has chosen the ENGAGE platform to host its annual ‘Global Youth Takeover’.  Rather than just a simple 360 degree video, the ENGAGE platform will provide delegates with a fully immersive visual and audio journey.  The concert from Pitbull at the conclusion will be one of the first times a major artist will have performed virtually, inside a fully rendered live environment.

“The UN event will enhance the profile of the Group as the use of the ENGAGE platform grows strongly month on month.  We designed ENGAGE primarily as a communications tool for education and training, but we have quickly adapted it to address the needs of a variety of industries and event organisers as they look to generate revenue in this lockdown world.

“We believe ENGAGE is becoming a ‘must-have’ for organisations where video communication alone cannot meet their engagement needs.  ‘Zoom-fatigue’ is becoming common and ENGAGE provides an alternative to help companies better interact with remote teams, host large scale meetings and events, and conduct training, to name just a few uses.  We hope ENGAGE will become an everyday tool for companies for communications, training and employee development.”

European Commission Virtual Event

On 30 September 2020, the Group’s ENGAGE platform hosted the first full virtual reality event for the European Commission with 70 delegates participating across the European Union.  In lieu of the hundreds of physical events that would usually be held each year, the European Commission is exploring alternatives to video-based communications as a way to keep its members connected in a more personal way.  Using ENGAGE services, delegates were able to hold private conversations in a large virtual exhibit hall and attend talks from keynote speakers.  The Group is actively working with the European Commission in this exploratory phase to ensure that such events become the preferred means for the European Commission to host events in the near future.

McKinsey & Company Virtual Golf Awards Event

The ENGAGE platform also hosted a Charity Golf Awards Event for US-based management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, on 26 September 2020.  The event saw 40 top level executives play a round of virtual golf followed by a full awards ceremony hosted inside the ENGAGE platform.

David Whelan, added: “Although ENGAGE was primarily designed as a communications tool for education and training we have adapted quickly to address many needs across a wide spectrum of industries and events.  Interest in, and demand for, our platform for this use has seen a significant uplift in recent months and we are delighted that the United Nations has chosen to use the ENGAGE platform as part of its inaugural event.

“Now more than ever, VR is proving to be the right medium to host conferences and similar events as the challenges around COVID-19 and concerns around the environmental impact of frequent travel prevail.  We are now seeking to position ENGAGE as a ‘must have’ for corporations at a time when video communication is just not meeting the demands required to host events and larger scale meetings.  Our involvement with the YOUNGA Forum* will put our technology in front of many thousands of new users globally as we consolidate our position as a leading provider in the industry.

“We hope to build upon the relationships we have forged via ENGAGE virtual events as a stepping stone for wider adoption of the platform for everyday communications, training and employee development for a wide range of corporations and organisations across the globe.”

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.



YOUNGA is a youth forum initiative of the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General.  Using VR and XR technologies, YOUNGA will connect 1,500 Youth Delegates with top-level decision-makers and influencers to co-create solutions to global challenges like the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Speakers include senior leaders from the World Health Organization, UN Foundation, UNAIDS, The World Bank Group, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, and a variety of celebrity mentors. To learn more about how the Forum visit www.youngaforum.com


For further information, please contact:

VR Education Holdings plc
David Whelan, CEO
Séamus Larrissey, CFO

Tel: +353 87 665 6708
[email protected]

Cairn Financial Advisers LLP (Nominated Adviser)
James Caithie / Liam Murray / Ludovico Lazzaretti

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7213 0880

Shard Capital Partners LLP (Joint Broker)
Damon Heath / Erik Woolgar

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7186 9952

Davy (Joint Broker & Euronext Growth Advisor)
Fergal Meegan / Ronan Veale / Barry Murphy

Tel: +353 1 679 6363


Buchanan (Financial PR)
Henry Harrison-Topham / Chris Lane / Tilly Abraham

Tel: +44 (0)20 7466 5000
[email protected]


Notes to Editors

VR Education, together with its wholly owned subsidiary, is an early stage VR software and technology group based in Waterford, Ireland, dedicated to transforming the delivery methods of education and corporate training by utilising VR technologies to deliver fully immersive virtual learning experiences.  The Group's core focus is the development and commercialisation of its online virtual social learning and presentation platform called ENGAGE, which provides a platform for creating, sharing and delivering proprietary and third-party VR content for educational and corporate training purposes.

In addition to the ongoing development of the ENGAGE platform, the Group has also built two downloadable showcase VR experiences, being the award-winning Apollo 11 VR experience and the Titanic VR experience.

On 12 March 2018, VR Education listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and on the Enterprise Securities Market, a market regulated by Euronext Dublin.  For further information, please visit www.vreducationholdings.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements made in this announcement are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but rather are based on the Group’s current expectations, estimates, and projections about its industry; its beliefs; and assumptions. Words such as 'anticipates,' 'expects,' 'intends,' 'plans,' 'believes,' 'seeks,' 'estimates,' and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, some of which are beyond the Group’s control, are difficult to predict, and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements.

The Group cautions security holders and prospective security holders not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect the view of the Group only as of the date of this announcement. The forward-looking statements made in this announcement relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. The Group will not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions or updates to these forward-looking statements to reflect events, circumstances, or unanticipated events occurring after the date of this announcement except as required by law or by any appropriate regulatory authority.