by Sarah J.F. Braley | June 04, 2018
Meeting Professionals International announced during a press conference at its World Education Congress that it has partnered with the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality to conduct research examining best practices to make all conference attendees feel welcome through inclusive event design. Researchers will collect feedback from industry leaders and senior-level meeting planners, and the completed study, which is sponsored by the MPI Foundation, will be presented at the Thought Leaders Summit in November. The information will be used by the MPI Academy to develop the Inclusive Experience Strategist Certificate Program, scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2019.
"We look forward to working collaboratively with industry influencers to inform both the research and education of this very important initiative," said Melissa Majors, director of the MPI Academy. "MPI encourages our members to embrace and foster an inclusive business environment, and we want to help them design universally inclusive events with our Inclusive Experience Strategist Certificate Program."
 
The certificate program will be a four-hour, interactive training session addressing how to make practical inclusion decisions. MPI also is partnering with Dawn Snyder, Ph.D., of Dawn Snyder Associates, to lead the development of the program.
 
"We are delighted to contribute to this important undertaking," asserted Nicolas Graf, associate dean of the NYUSPS Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. "The hospitality and tourism industries are at the very forefront of diversity and inclusion. Lending our expertise to this project creates a powerful collaboration that bridges the gap between academia and the business world on this critical issue."
 
Preliminary numbers as of Saturday night show the WEC has welcomed nearly 2,200 registered attendees, split 50-50 between planners and suppliers. About 78 percent are MPI members, and an estimated 45 percent are first-time attendees. Participants represent 35 countries, the majority (89 percent) from the United States, followed by Canada (5 percent).
 
Respecting diversity is one of MPI's three Principles of Professionalism, which charges MPI members to embrace and foster an inclusive business climate of respect for all peoples regardless of national origin, race, religion, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation, and physical or mental impairment. In January 2018, MPI revised this principle to include wording that MPI will not tolerate harassment of any kind within its global community.