The International Association of Hispanic Meeting Planners has unveiled plans to develop a new designation, the Certified Diversity Meeting Professional.

The CDMP program would prepare planners to work with diverse groups of people, says Margaret Gonzalez, president of IAHMP. “We're in a global economy, and more and more, Americans need to know who they are dealing with,” she says.

An advisory committee made up of industry professionals, people from academia, and diversity experts within the Asian-American, black, Hispanic, and other markets will help develop the educational materials. Training and implementation will begin this spring. The guide will enable planners to learn about the different cultures of the people within their associations or companies. Part of the challenge for Gonzalez is developing an educational program that takes into account all the different segments within an ethnic group.

Gonzalez, who will lead the effort to develop the curriculum, says the certification fills a need. “Some of the other certification programs that are offered don't really deal with working with different publics,” she says.

That is changing, however. In September, the Convention Industry Council, which sponsors the Certified Meeting Professional program, held its first international CMP exam in Singapore. The questions were more global in scope than past tests, yet country-neutral, says Mary Power, president of CIC. The next international exam is scheduled for Germany in May. By March, all CMP exams going forward will include the international questions.