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Web Summit Lisbon 2023: A Diary and Reflections

The Guardian describes the Web Summit as “Glastonbury for geeks”, while The Financial Times has labelled it as “the world’s largest tech conference”. [1]

When initially founded in 2009 by Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly, and Daire Hickey, the events were held in Dublin, Ireland, albeit on a much smaller scale. As it gained popularity and grew, it was decided in 2016 that the summit would permanently move to Lisbon. In 2023 the web summit, which took place in Lisbon, attracted over 70,000 people from over 150 different countries. [2]

This year’s topics centre internet technologyemerging technologies, and venture capitalism. The conference has attracted speakers from the world of politics, technology, entertainment, and business.

Web summit’s partners range from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, with attendees representing all levels and sectors of the global high-technology industry. Such events run worldwide, including Founders, RISE conference in Hong Kong, Collision in Toronto, SURGE in Bangalore, and Money Conf in Dublin[3]

This year, the VOI team was invited to attend as media representatives for the first time. The team of three consisted of Raza Ahmed, Zawar Butt and Mujeeb Mirza.

Here is a diary of Mujeeb Mirza: –

Day 1: Arrival and First Impressions

My journey to Lisbon began early on Monday morning, November 13th. After a smooth flight from London, I arrived in Lisbon, greeted by beautiful sunshine and warm weather. This starkly contrasted the cold and rainy weather I had left behind in the UK.

After checking into our hotel, we made our way to the Altice Arena, the main venue for the Web Summit. As we entered the arena, we were immediately struck by its size and the sheer number of people attending the event. There were over 70,000 people from over 150 countries at the summit this year.

The opening keynote speech was given by Katherine Maher, the new CEO of Web Summit. Maher emphasized the importance of networking and connection in the tech industry, and she asked the audience to stand up and meet the three people next to them. This was a great way to break the ice and start making new connections.

Day 2: Exploring Lisbon and Meeting the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Lisbon

On Day 2, we took some time to explore Lisbon and learn more about the city’s culture and history. We visited some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as the Arco da Rua Augusta and the Elevador de Santa Justa.

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to meet with members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Lisbon. We learned about the history of the Community in Portugal as well as the challenges the early Missionaries faced in establishing the Community. We also had dinner with some of the members and offer prayers in the Lisbon centre of the Community.

Day 3: Interviews and Networking

Day 3 was a busy day of interviews and networking. We had the opportunity to interview some of the speakers at the summit, including Katherine Maher, CEO of Web Summit, and my favourite session of the day was “Lessons from Gen Z that will engage Generation Alpha”.

In the evening, we also attended a reception hosted by the Web Summit. Meeting with other journalists and tech professionals from around the world was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from their experiences.

Day 4: Departure and Reflections

On our last day in Lisbon, we attended some more talks, my favourite being “Julian Assange: WikiLeaks, truth and injustice”. We also had time to reflect on our experience at the Web Summit. We were all impressed by the scale and organisation of the event. The speakers were excellent, and the networking opportunities were unparalleled.

The last day gave rise to a sense of sadness as we were to return to the wet and cold weather in London but at the same time we were all looking forward returning to our families. Although the Web Summit had come to an end, as well as our basking in the gorgeous Lisbon weather, there were lingering thoughts about how innovation and AI will continue to develop and to influence our future.

Additional Reflections

  • The Web Summit is a truly global event, with attendees from all over the world.
  • The summit is a great place to learn about the latest trends in tech.
  • The networking opportunities at the summit are unparalleled.
  • The city of Lisbon is beautiful and vibrant.
  • I would definitely recommend attending the Web Summit to anyone interested in tech.

To find out more about the Web Summit, please visit

Listen to the special three-part series of our trip to Lisbon in the voice of Imam Raza.


  1. Web Summit:,who%20are%20reshaping%20the%20world.
  2. Web Summit. (2023 November 23). Record number of startups, 43 percent women, and 70,236 attendees at Web Summit. [Press Release]
  3. Web Summit:


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