The value of meetings and events to organizations around the world has only one way to go: up. That's the word from Meeting Professional International's World Education Congress 2000 in Los Angeles, held from July 9 to 11. From the special-effects-filled opening general session, at which MPI rolled out its new brand to some 3,500 attendees, to the gala closing party at Universal Studios, MPI positioned the importance of meetings not only to members, but to CEOs and managers, industry sponsors, and business partners alike. Throughout the conference, MPI made visual its promise to shape and define the meeting and event industry with its new multicolored globe logo and tagline, MPI: Defining the Power of Meetings.

The new logo is only a part of MPI's two-year, volunteer-run branding effort, which includes a revamped mission statement, key messages, and an updated Web site, www.mpiweb.org, unveiled at the conference. What does it all mean to members and the organizations that employ them? According to its new mission statement, MPI's commitment to the meeting industry worldwide will continue to empower its members and supply global resources for the meeting industry. It also intends to shape the future of meetings through trend analysis and other research, as well as to define and promote a return on investment.

Other news from MPI: * MPI elected Evelyn Laxgang, CMP, as Chairwoman of the Board for 2000-2001, beginning July 1, 2000. A member of MPI for 11 years--and a board member since 1996--Laxgang is director of strategic programs and events for Motorola Inc.

* Mohegan Sun, of Uncasville, Conn., announced that it will require all its conference services staff and senior managers to earn a CMP or CMM within a year. The meetings, entertainment, and gaming destination will underwrite the associated application and examination fees for qualified managers. The Convention Industry Council grants the Certified Meeting Professional designation.

* Meetings in the United States are expected to increase by 9 percent in 2001, according to MPI's annual Meeting Outlook Survey. The study polled nearly 450 meeting professionals, 241 from associations and 163 from corporations. Associations will plan 5 percent more meetings, while corporations will increase their meetings by almost 15 percent. International meetings, on the other hand, are expected to decline in 2001. For corporations, the Caribbean is the top choice, followed by Mexico and Canada.

* MPI Foundation's "Focus on the Future" paper documents a shift in company meetings away from information delivery toward more interactive, problem-solving events. The foundation brought together 54 top corporate meeting executives, industry suppliers, and other "thought leaders" to explore human dynamics and define the role of meetings today. According to forum participants, they will become strategic communicators and group-dynamics specialists as well as consensus builders skilled in negotiation, diplomacy, presentation, and leadership.