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We live in a knowledge based world, either we align or we perish is not an adage, it is the harsh reality. In the fast technological world, conferences are the vehicle to make the transition happen. It is supposed to the melting pot of ideas, brainstorming being at the core of it, a status report on the theme of the conference as it stands in the real world, a world class documentation of the same & an effort to create a visible & viable roadmap for the future. A tool to enthuse the naive & the amateur on to the journey of knowledge, skills and competencies to make change happen. What image flashes to our mind when we try to visualise a conference.

The first and foremost is of a celebration. The location & the locale is what is discussed & hotly debated. *Topic is of ornamental value. It is logistics all the way, content & experts don’t figure at all with emails flying all over. It is the metamorphosis of the conference into an event. A five star hotel certainly not an ideal location for an intellectual exercise. The opening & closing ceremonies need to have star value with a publicity machine to back.

The funding of conferences has seen a sea change. The platinum, gold & sliver partners pop up depending who shares what part of the publicity pie. The bigger the conference the more the publicity budget. The gift hampers gives a feeling as if one is just back from a major shopping bonanza. The mementos should match the event. Grand lunches & even better networking cocktail dinners are the attraction. Goa type location is preferred. Conferences they say has become an industry.

If some space is left out of the dignitary / corporate razzmatazz, some well known expert faces can be seen. What value they bring nobody knows, nothing to substantiate anyway. It’s like a marriage, once the fun is over, the guests move over to the next one. If we were to name top ten experts with the flair to disseminate knowledge on any topic with commitment & conviction, we would for sure be at our wits end.


Sanjay Sahay

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