The 2007 MPI World Education Congress, which opened in Montreal Sunday, saw 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. Although final attendance figures are not available, association staffers expect nearly 4,000 meeting professionals 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. The Global Paragon award 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."
Speaker Don Tapscott, author of "Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything," explained his theory that widely popular Web sites such as Facebook and Wikipedia--both driven by member input--demonstrate that business organizations will succeed only by encouraging collaboration. His message underscored MPI's themes for WEC 2007, which invited members to "co-create" their own future.
In a press conference Sunday, 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. Also, Aloysius Arlando, assistant chief executive of the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, announced the debut of the MPI Asia Pacific office, which will open Oct. 25 in Singapore.
The conference ended yesterday; the WEC 2008 will run Aug. 9-12 in Las Vegas.
Photos by Special Events Magazine