Politics, the economy, a tailgate party---these are just some of the new twists and hot topics on the agenda for the 53rd Professional Convention Management Association annual meeting, to be held January 11-14 in New Orleans.

The big issues of the day for Americans, politics and the economy, will be featured topics in the keynote addresses. New York Times political columnist David Brooks will offer his take on the election and the Obama administration, while Jeremy Siegel, economics professor at the Wharton School of Business, will speak on the economy and markets. Also, former U.N. Ambassador Stephen Lewis will address the delegation about leadership. The theme of the meeting, after all, is Convening Leaders.

The two-day Executive Edge program, targeted at senior level professionals, will be on negotiating, led by Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra. Additionally, there are several experiential learning sessions that take advantage of New Orleans’ unique culture. One is a teambuilding seminar at a Mardi Gras prop shop, another is a food and wine tasting session at the world renowned Antoine’s Restaurant, and a third is an improv workshop at Preservation Hall.

There are also three community service projects where attendees can help rebuild storm-ravaged homes, clean up City Park, or landscape a cemetery.

Some new offerings this year include a “Bite Size Learning Lounge” inside the PCMA Pavilion, where educational demonstrations will be conducted on hot topics like “Reading Green Labels: How Green Is It?” There is also a Wellness Center where attendees, for an additional fee, can get a 30-minute health screening.

Finally, PCMA offers a new networking event, The PCMA Game Day Tailgate. The event will be centered on the NFL Playoffs, which will be televised Sunday afternoon. Attendees can eat, drink, and network while they watch the games with their peers.

For more information, go to www.pcma2009.org.