Report from Maya Korzybska, WSA Executive Vice-Chair, on her working trip to Puebla (January 5th to 24th 2012 )
Subud World Congress 2014
In a country where towns can be called Ixcaquixtla or Ahuazotepec, we decided that we wouldn’t allow for simple pronunciation and so the World Congress Organizing Team, is called WCOT instead of simply COT.
The team is steadily growing. Fernando Fatah and Arif Rivero remain the Chair and the Vice Chair of the team, Stella Jassan continues being the finance/bookkeeper for the local side of the finance. Marston Gregory has agreed to take on the administrative/treasurer role in the United States as the registrations to World Congress will be carried out in the US. Lucida Garneau from Canada joins the team to handle the setting up and management of the on-line registrations with Reg Online. Rasjidah Flores joins the team as the responsible coordinator for making our congress as green and with as much social awareness as possible by using local and fair trading for many suppliers as well as energy saving techniques. She does this both as a personal involvement and also as a representative of SDIA.
Marston came to Mexico for one week whilst I was there and with him we visited all the sites and brainstormed ideas, he has a history of experience with various World Congresses. Lucida Graneau is gaining experience working with RegOnline because currently handling the registrations for the America’s Gathering using this provider…this is a good opportunity to be able to iron out any difficulties, even if the World Congress will have its own challenges.
We have begun working on the budget and have met with many suppliers, as well as official bodies who are all extremely excited with our projection to bring the Subud World Congress to Puebla and we are looking to having a number of financial breaks related to Tax status and government support, which we hope will largely help our budget as well as help individual members for their onsite costs. We are getting quotes for all our infrastructure needs, from lighting and sound, to bleachers, stages, A/V equipment, simultaneous translation equipment etc….and we aim to present an advanced budget to the World Subud Council in Vancouver in June, to then determine the registration fee structure and be able to put the registration on line in January 2013.
There is an overall Association of Hotels and Motels in Puebla, under their umbrella are three other associations, one deals with all the independent hotels in the central historical part of Puebla (mostly within easy walking distance of the Convention Centre) another deals with Hotel Chains such as the City Express, Holiday Inn, Marriott for example and the last deals with what are called the Boutique hotels/Treasures, which are very lovely exclusive hotels going from only 8 to 20 beds.
These hotel groups are preparing very attractive prices for us, some with up to 50% discounts, Once we have established the prices per category and style of hotel, the individual members bookings would be made through the associations and basically they would go filling up the hotels closest to the Convention Centre and gradually work away, this will take a heavy load off the local WCOT. To this effect I visited around 40 hotels during my stay to see the various styles and quality of each category and give my assurance that there will be accommodation for all tastes and budgets.
There is such a wide variety of hotels with prices varying from $7-8 a night in a room with 5 beds for example, up to the various luxurious boutique hotels, even with these, we are negotiating very reasonable prices at around $120 per double room per night….In between these extremes the range is enormous, still we are confident that prices will be low enough for very comfortable hotels and that will allow overall costs for the members to be reduced.
There is no catering exclusivity at the convention centre and we are confident meals will work out around $10/11 per meal (we have asked for good nourishing food!), We hope to have two catering companies one each week to ensure variety. There are of course numerous restaurants in Puebla ranging from 3/4$ for a traditional dinner to 13/14 $ for a more up market restaurant. Portions are often very large, so one would choose the half size salad rather than the large, or one Mole Poblano to be shared by two….
The majority of the main activities will take place in the Convention Centre and within the Condominium San Francisco. The Museum/Exhibition Centre of modern and contemporary art will be available to us either free or at a very low rent. This is 1000 square metres right next to the Convention Centre, exclusively for cultural use (SICA). The space can be divided for exhibitions (obligatory that we exhibit recognized painters, sculptors, installation artists in this space) but we can also create a small video projection area, discussion spaces and presentations as well as a small stage for light/acoustic contemporary performances. Many of the hotels near the Convention Center also have meeting rooms, the Purificadora (adjacent to the CC) has 1 board meeting room and three meeting rooms that can open into 2 or one big one. The City Express has 3 meeting rooms + 1 large one (250 people) that can be split into 2. We are confident that we will have plenty of space even allowing for two main latihan spaces to be available at all times.
We are still negotiating a school right opposite the convention centre and a Jardin Infantil (kindergarden) within the condominium. We are also waiting for a quote for a large open grass space next door so that our sports fans and mainly soccer players can have their traditional Subud World Soccer cup !
Our aim is to have the www.subudworldcongress2014 website up and running before the end of the year, once the results of the logo competition has been announced, but in the meantime you can check out the group : Subud World Congress Puebla 2014.
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My final comment is to say that Puebla is a place where one feels totally safe and at ease and Marston Gregory and in fact all the Zone 7 Council who visited in April 2011, agree with that statement. The Subsecretario de Gobierno is working on a new campaign called Puebla Ciudad de la Paz and the New York Times recently published an article where Puebla figures 13 on a list of 45 places recommended to visit in 2012.