Two of the largest and most vibrant cities in that region strutted their metropolitan stuff in bids before ICC World Chambers Federation Steering Committee, in a meeting held during ICC’s first-ever World Business Summit.
Before a standing room-only crowd, members of the committee from all over the globe listened to proposals from Los Angeles (United States) and Mexico City (Mexico). Each contender did their best to convince the audience why their chamber, their city, and their country made them worthy to host the congress.
Held every two years in different regions of the world, the World Chambers Congress is the only international forum for chamber executives worldwide to share best-practice, develop networks and learn about new innovations from their counterparts as chambers face the challenge of remaining relevant to companies in their region.
The last time the congress took place in the Americas was in Quebec City in 2003.
Bidding for 2011 focused on strong suits in these categories:
- Outreach to business and chamber communities, regionally and nationally
- Advantages for business opportunities, personal travel, plus the quality of hotels and conference facilities
- Government and chamber community support locally, regionally, and nationally
- Previous international event experience
The people taking part in the presentations were as dynamic and forward-looking as the cities themselves. Los Angeles kicked off its pitch with a heavy dose of glam – cameo appearances, by video, of the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and soccer superstar, David Beckham, who is now playing on LA’s Galaxy team. A heavy-hitting list of 90 multinationals supported the bid.
Schwarzenegger urged the Congress to come to Los Angeles, where, he said with a smile, a producer might just discover the viewer and turn him or her into the "next action hero."
Chris Mead, Senior Vice President of American Chamber of Commerce Executives, from the LA delegation, said of their bid: “There was wonderful support for the proposal from all sides. Many hearts – including mine and those of our delegation and hundreds of chamber executives – went into this proposal.”
The Chamber of Commerce of Mexico City presented the competing bid. Backed by the entire chamber community as well as strong support by business, the Chamber said staging the Congress in Mexico City would offer a gateway to fast-growing Latin America and an opportunity to further integrate the region into the global economy. Mexico’s Minister of the Economy, Dr. Eduardo Sojo Garza-Aldape, in a video presentation, invited the Congress to Mexico City.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in his supporting statement by video:”Mexico is committed to the globalization process, and our chamber is committed to the WCF ICC movement. We want more of Mexico in the world and more of the world in Mexico.”
In tune with their suggested Congress theme: Sustainable Development and an Economic Future, the contenders from Mexico offered to conduct a methodological and scientific analysis, tapping the country’s top scientists, to demonstrate the link between economic development and environmental protection.
Previous congresses have been held in Marseilles (France), Seoul (South Korea), Quebec City (Canada), Durban (South Africa) and Istanbul (Turkey). Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) is the next metropolis to host the Congress in 3-5 June 2009. WCF has received expressions of interest from Chambers in the Middle East and Africa to host the event in 2013, and some as far ahead as 2017.
During the next few months, members of WCF's Congress selection committee, made up of leading chambers from various countries around the world, will get down to the tough task of reviewing the bidding documents for 2011. The two candidates will have to wait until October this year for a decision, when the winning bid will be announced by the World Chambers Federation's steering committee.