Meeting Professionals International is introducing some changes with this year’s World Education Congress, starting with the way attendees prepare for the event.

The 2008 WEC convenes at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas August 9 to 12, but MPI is encouraging attendees to get involved beforehand with a pre-conference webinar series. The free online events provide crash courses on such topics as networking skills, trade show booth management, and Café Conversations (an open-space discussion approach introduced at MPI’s Professional Education Conference–North America last February in Houston).

Another new pre-conference offering is the WEC Online Group, a forum for members to network and connect before meeting in Las Vegas and to post on a variety of topics relating to WEC. To join the group click the forum link.

The MPI-WEC program will include more than 100 educational sessions and a number of new concepts first used by MPI at the February PEC in Houston. The WEC is adding:

  • Café Conversations—a coffee-shop–inspired roundtable environment that focuses on topics of attendees’ choosing;
  • Book clubs—discussions led by book authors and industry experts;
  • Executive track—sessions geared toward senior-level meeting planners, with content focusing on leadership development and executive management;
  • New trade show layout—a more open floor plan intended to encourage conversation and interaction without the traditional rows of booths.

In keeping with the 2008 WEC theme, “Your Future is Showing,” the opening general session will feature keynote speaker Patrick Dixon, founder and chairman of Global Change Ltd. Dixon is a former fellow of the World Economic Forum and author of 12 books, including Futurewise: The Six Faces of Global Change, currently in its fourth edition.

For more information on MPI-WEC 2008, or to register for the conference, go to www.mpiweb.org.