The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction
Bulletin No. 49
A Call for Bids for ICME-11 (2008)
Bernard R. Hodgson
Although the memories of ICME-9 are still extremely vivid to many of us and although the 10th ICME congress is still more than three years away, it is already time to start the process leading to the following ICME, the eleventh in this series of quadrennial meetings. The ICMI Executive Committee is thus launching to all its member states an official call for bids to host ICME-11 in 2008, the year of the centennial of the Commission .
As the task of organizing an international congress of the size of an ICME becomes increasingly immense, complicated and demanding - and involves for example the reservation of accommodation and other facilities many years ahead -, it is hoped that a formal decision about the site of ICME-11 could be made well before the end of 2003. We are thus proposing the following schedule:
- preliminary declaration of intention of presenting a bid to act as host for ICME-11 should reach the Secretary by September 1, 2001;
- firm bids should be presented to the Secretary by September 1, 2002 (in 12 copies).
I would like to say a few words about possible ingredients which can be found in a bid to host an ICME. The main task in preparing such a bid is to provide conviction for the ICMI Executive Committee that the candidate country is in a favorable position of accomplishing this non-trivial task. The document submitted should thus address aspects such as the following.
- Inviting bodies
The bid should define the set of inviting bodies, i.e. those who submit the bid. In most cases this set consists of a coalition of bodies (like learned societies, associations, academies, universities, official national or provincial authorities). This aspect is to ensure that the invitation has sufficiently broad support in the proposed host country and that all major parties concerned with mathematics education stand behind the bid. Also of importance is the actual involvement of the local mathematics education community so as to create a nice ambiance around and during the meeting.
- Scientific infrastructure
The document should present the scientific infrastructure in the bidding country that will be supporting the congress. This is to demonstrate the presence of a sufficiently large group of mathematics educators in the country to provide national backup of the scientific program. In particular, the document should clarify whether there is a substantial core of educators in the country with experience in international meetings.
The bid should indicate possible venues within the country (city and institutions in which the congress would take place), describing their advantages and disadvantages in relative terms. This includes a presentation of the technical congress facilities (in particular the availability of rooms of various types and sizes, among others for the plenary sessions, or usual standards such as air conditioning or presentation equipment), transportation to the site as well as on-site, and the variety of local accommodation facilities, ranging from inexpensive student residence type accommodation to high-class international hotels. Eventually, the bid should address other local concerns, such as the security of participants.
- Logistic infrastructure
The document submitted should outline the logistic infrastructure of the congress in order to demonstrate that a sufficiently advanced, varied and capable organization system is - or can be put - in place to deal with all matters pertinent to the local organization of a multi-faceted and complex Congress of about 4000 participants.
- Financial infrastructure
The bid should describe the financial infrastructure of the congress, indicating the size of the funds that are expected to be available to the congress, and listing the organizations, institutions, and bodies in the bidding country that are ready - or may be expected - to support the congress financially in terms of money, services, equipment or manpower. The bid should also address the specific issue of possible help to participants from non-affluent countries.
The above is not meant to be an exhaustive check-list of matters to be considered one after the other in a bid, but it gives the flavor of the natural questions the decision makers, namely the Executive Committee of ICMI, will be considering, in addition to other issues such as the broad geographical distribution of the ICME congresses.
The best general guidance in preparing a bid may be found in the following summary: the document has to have two properties, namely,
(a) an existence proof (or at least a good sketch of one) that the inviting consortium can actually manage all aspects of the Congress;
(b) features that make the Executive Committee of ICMI think that the present bid is not only feasible, but also better than other potential bids.
Of course, as quality of a bid is a vector rather than a one-dimensional quantity, there is freedom to balance weaker points in a potential bid with stronger ones.
Any country interested in making a bid is strongly encouraged to do so. Potential bidders may wish to keep in mind the precedent created with ICME-10, namely an invitation presented on behalf of a group of countries who have agreed to support and concretely collaborate in the organization of the congress in a particular country.
The Secretary will be happy to reply to any request for further information on the preparation of a bid.
Bernard R. Hodgson, Secretary