As hosts for the 2013 ICMCI Biennial congress, we are happy to say that we had a really successful biennial congress in South Africa between the 25th and 28th of September 2013.
Typically, preparation for a congress starts at least 14 months prior to the congress itself, requiring detailed research and a sound business case which is presented at the preceding meeting. The candidate hosts need to make a presentation prior to the meeting and are then shortlisted, prior to a decision being made on the preferred host country.
South Africa has been privileged to have hosted 2 congresses, namely the 1997 and 2013 congresses. It is really important to obtain strong support from the local authorities and if possible, certain key sponsors. In our case, we were supported by the Gauteng Tourism authority, Accenture, ProfWeb and a few other smaller sponsors.
We took a lot of time selecting our preferred location and finally opted for the “village” concept, choosing Melrose Arch as our destination. This turned out to be an inspired choice, based on the feedback we received from all our delegates.
Our chosen venue – “The Venue” served the most incredible food and in my opinion could be rated as “6 star” food and service.
Our participants arrived as early as the Sunday preceding the congress and started exploring the city of Johannesburg. We had a welcome desk, manned by three volunteers and handed everyone a welcome pack with a small gift and the proceedings’ agenda. Being a “green” conference, we did not print the delegate reading and preparation material, requiring everyone to download it and have it available in electronic format.
We were commended on the welcome and hospitality shown by everyone our delegates came into contact with and any personal matters were dealt with promptly.
A number of Excom meetings and activities were arranged on the Wednesday preceding the congress start in a specially allocated room.
The congress kicked off with a welcome cocktail at the venue and we arranged an activity for each evening during the congress. Other key activities included the “cultural” evening and the gala dinner. The cultural evening was held at the Imbizo Shisanyama, which proved to be a really good choice. We had Zulu and Sotho dancers and a local singing group plus a variety of local fare which everyone enjoyed, including our vegetarian guests. The evening was fun and very relaxed and is an evening to be remembered.
The gala dinner included the Constantinus international awards and the South African awards and proved to be an inspiring evening which ran like clockwork. The outgoing Excom members received a well-deserved certificate of commendation for services rendered.
A notable aspect of the congress was the incredible atmosphere of camaraderie and team spirit which was evident throughout. We had a number of African delegates and a focus on growing the African “Hub”, which proved to be a winner and we now have interest from a number of countries which are not current members of the ICMCI.
We acknowledge the effort put in by all the delegates who set aside personal time, travelled far and worked hard at the congress, in order to make our global profession better.
The business meeting on Saturday morning was a slick affair where a number of motions were voted on and passed by general consensus. Saturday ended with a farewell lunch where a number of “au revoirs” were said. We also bade farewell to the members who have served a maximum number of terms and will be “retiring” after long service. We thank them for their contributions and specifically Francesco D’Aprile for leading us over the past period.
The post congress activities continued at “Kwa Maritane” in the African bush, where the attendees saw a number of the “big five”, including a rare sighting of a black rhino in Pilanesberg.
We had a tremendous evening around a campfire “boma” at Pilanesberg and savoured a number of very South African meals, including pap, kudu, impala and chakalaka. Once again, we were entertained by the local dancers, which ended a great evening.
The congress ended with bitter sweet farewells, knowing that the South African congress was over after so much hard work, but at the same time looking forward to meeting our country representatives in Seoul, Korea in 2014.
We trust that we will have a great turnout, because the international conference is being run prior to the annual ICMCI meeting and should attract a large number of delegates and top notch presenters.
See you next year and Hambagahle (go in peace – in Zulu)!
For more picture please see the PDF report of the Conference
Angelo Kehayas – 26 October 2013