Congress 2010 gets down to business 

More than 50 Concordians preparing for largest annual academic gathering in Canada

“This is the first time Concordia has hosted Congress, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Congress Manager, Marie-Josée Allard has a big job on her hands, but you might never guess it. Coordinating the three most significant constituencies connected to Congress 2010 – the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the scholarly societies, and everything and everyone Concordia-related – is no small feat.

But she’s handling it well. No doubt in part due to the support from the myriad of Concordians helping to make 2010 Congress of the Humanities and the Social Sciences the biggest and best event in our history.

Currently, over 50 full- and part-time Concordians are hard at work on Congress preparation – all with duties they’ve accepted above and beyond their day-to-day jobs. The largest portion comprises members of numerous different levels of faculty, staff and administration serving on eight committees (steering, academic, logistical, communication, scholarship, request systems, space administration, and signage). In order to assure optimum coordination between the various committees, some members serve on multiple committees.

“It’s extremely important to make sure everything is linked and moving in the right direction,” she says. “[Congress] is great for so many reasons, but especially because it’s a wonderful opportunity for so many different branches of the university to get to know each other and work together. We’re very lucky we have the team we have.”

Being held here May 28 to June 4, Congress is the largest annual academic gathering in Canada. Concordia will be welcoming nearly 9 000 delegates from more than 70 universities and 70 scholarly societies from Canada and around the world to exchange knowledge and share their research under the theme, Connected Understanding/le savoir branché.

There is also a rapidly growing number of Concordians who will be presenting their research, and many who will be helping organize hundreds of scholarly societies’ meetings. As well, there are many involved in planning extra events and activities, such as Café congrès and special exhibitions in the FOFA gallery. As the planning solidifies, Allard expects participants to increase significantly.

Every one of the committee members has been working feverishly over the past year to ensure the conference will be one to remember. Until now, much of the preparation has been conceptualizing the conference (Concordia representatives were invited to Congress 2009 at Carleton University in May to share planning information), and to developing an action plan and budget.

“But now we have nine months ahead of us, and it’s the time to roll up our sleeves and make this happen,” she says.

On Sept. 24, Concordia’s logistical team and the Federation will meet 100 organizers from scholarly associations presenting at Congress. They will begin planning with an explanation of the IITS-developed request system, the theme, the various deadlines and other logistical concerns.

During each of the eight days of Congress, Allard estimates 160 rooms in numerous SGW buildings will be used — not including foyers and other spaces used for receptions and other events.

Allard estimates the number of people needed to help facilitate the everyday functions of the event to be around 200. She is encouraging anyone keen on becoming involved to contact Jordan Jenkins, who recently joined the team as Congress Assistant, for volunteer information.

An interactive Concordia-focused Congress website is expected this fall.


Concordia University