by Sarah J.F. Braley | March 23, 2016

Meeting Professionals International is incorporating new elements for its World Education Congress, which will take place June 11-14 in Atlantic City. Among the elements is an innovative general session design, featuring active audience participation.

Many of the changes are taken from the Danish concept called Meetovation, which MPI used at its European Meetings & Events Conference in Copenhagen in February. Some are precipitated by the WEC's venue, Harrah's Atlantic City's new Waterfront Conference Center, which has two 50,000-square-foot pillarless ballrooms but won't be able to fit all of MPI's attendees in one room. About 3,000 people attended the WEC in San Francisco in August 2015, and a similar number is expected in Atlantic City. The general session space will offer four stages, with a house band on one stage, plus there will be new visual components and mixed seating. The general sessions will be live-streamed for viewing in the MarketSquare.

"Caesars is being very proactive and giving us different ways to deliver meals and do the general sessions," Paul Van Deventer, MPI president and CEO, told M&C in February. The WEC originally was planned for Philadelphia this year, but when the city was chosen for the Democratic National Convention, officials from Philly, MPI and Atlantic City worked hard to put everything in place for the event at the New Jersey destination.

Also planned for the WEC are exclusive senior meeting professional education opportunities in the form of peer-to-peer sessions and more than 80 education sessions following four main tracks: leadership and strategic planning; supplier focus; meeting planning and project management; and meeting and event design. Session topics include international meeting planning, event security, trends in convention center sales, cloud computing, attracting and retaining millennials, risk management and meeting planning Six Sigma style. 

In announcing the WEC's lineup, Van Deventer said, "From mixed seating arrangements and stage design to roundtable discussions and problem-solving breakout groups, we have designed this year's program to shift the audience from passive attendees to willing participants -- all in an effort to help them remain relevant and learn new and different approaches to planning successful meetings and events."

Other offerings will include the Thought Leaders Theatre, which will be in Harrah's Resort itself, just a short walk from the conference center. The MPI Academy will offer several certificate programs just before the WEC begins.

Atlantic City's destination management organization, Meet AC, will provide attendees with complimentary ground transportation service from Philadelphia International Airport and Atlantic City International Airport to host hotels.