The 2007 MPI World Education Congress opened today in Montreal with association leadership vowing to meet the communications challenges of the future by evolving the group from a traditional professional association to a collaborative, "truly global community," said Angie Pfeifer, MPI chairwoman of the board, at the opening general session. Some 3,700 meeting professionals are expected to attend this year's event.
The meeting has made headlines locally for the commitment of the venue--the Palais des Congres--to create a zero-waste event.
At the opening ceremonies, which included a performance by Cirque du Soleil, Mary Ellen Murphy, director of special events for Del Posto, was honored for her outstanding work at the chapter level. Robert E. Walker, vice president of creative services for AVW-TELAV, was named international supplier of the year. Janet Sperstad, CMP, of Madison (Wisc.) Area Technical College was named the international planner of the year. Global Paragon awards went to the Energy Center of Wisconsin for its "2007 Better Buildings, Better Business Conference." The American Red Cross won the "theme" award for the celebration of its 150th anniversary, and Mini USA and R/A Performance Group won for "promotion" for "Mini Takes to the States."
In a press conference this afternoon, Pfeifer joined with MPI president and CEO Bruce MacMillan to give an update on MPI's burgeoning international chapter program. A Korea chapter should open by year-end, MacMillan said, with discussion under way for chapters in South Africa and India.
Aloysius Arlando, assistant chief executive of the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, announced the debut of the MPI Asia Pacific office, which will open in Singapore.
Last night's welcome reception re-created the distinctive neighborhoods of Montreal with food stations and decor ranging from Greek to Italian to French. Street-scene entertainment included acrobats, jazz artists and Greek music.
The conference concludes Tuesday.
All photos by Special Events Magazine.