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Houston: NAFSA

May 27 – June 1, 2012. The Association of International Educators fished around in their Alphabet soup and came up with NAFSA as an acronym, proving that literacy is a relative term at the best of times.  With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA is apparently the world’s largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education.  Their stock in trade is connecting students, scholars, educators and citizens across borders, establishing mutual understanding among nations, and preparing the next generation with vital cross-cultural and global skills.  Oh, and world peace gets in there somewhere, like in the beauty pageants.  These folks are committed to building teacher skills, knowledge, and competencies, thus strengthening international education’s biggest asset—  “the dedicated professionals worldwide who make educational mobility possible”.  Hey teacher, what’s “restroom” in Japanese?

New Orleans: IDDBA International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association

June 10-12, 2012. IDDBA (isn’t the acronym just delicious?) signifies the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association‘s annual bake-in.  IDDBA helps its members (food manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, brokers… Er, brokers?) “enhance their economic position by providing opportunities for professional dialogue, education, exchange of industry data and selling opportunities”.  There were over 1500 Dairy, Deli, and Bakery Exhibits, compelling professional speakers, a Show & Sell Center Retail Merchandising Pavilion, and of course a Cake Decorating Challenge.  A new IDDBA research study looked at the deli and bakery consumer, and what works and doesn’t work in terms of advertising and promotions. Oh, the brokers?  Just people we “broke” bread with…

Chicago: NeoCon – Buildex

June 11-13, 2012. Billed as “the Merchandise Mart”, NeoCon claims to be North America’s largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors, providing over 40,000 architecture and design professionals with more than 120 CEU-accredited seminars and association forums, not to mention heavy-hitting keynote speakers. Delegates could discover new and innovative products and resources for corporate, hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, plus institutional and residential interiors, offered by more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors.  The show’s A to Z of product offerings started with Accessories and Art, and finally ran out of puff when it got to Wall Treatments. In between, of course, were an amazing number of ways to pimp your corporation’s reception area….

Niagara Falls: Canadian Gaming Summit

June 11-13, 2012. The Canadian Gaming Summit at Niagara (“where the Canadian gaming industry meets”) managed to pre-empt Nik (“The Great”) Wallenda, who soon afterwards emulated his ancestors’ heritage by walking across Niagara Falls on a steel cable.  Of course he had to make certain concessions, like showing his passport when he had finished strolling over to the Canadian side, and wearing a safety wire to satisfy TV networks anxious to avoid televising a fatality…  At the Gaming Summit there were no fatalities reported, proving that Canadians have earned their reputation as a peace-loving people.  Nonetheless, no-one seemed to be averse to separating people from their money at the green baize tables.  There’s no such thing as a safety wire for gamblers….

Ottawa: Canadian Library Association

June 1-3, 2012. CLA stands for “Association Canadienne de Bibliotheques” — obviously.  I mean, duh…!  Whaddya mean, that would make it “ACB”?  Can’t you understand perfectly simple French?  Oh, you’re one of those out-of-towners who doesn’t get that, here in French-speaking Canada, everything has to be bi-lingual French and English?  Okay, okay, for you hopeless monoglots, let’s admit that CLA also stands for the Canadian Library Association. How did the meet go?  After kicking off with the Advocacy Boot Camp, 60 members were divided into 18 teams, and fanned out over the Hill for meetings with 63 MPs, Senators, and key Hill staff.  CLA members highlighted issues like copyright legislation and library book rate.  What’s French for copyright?  You’re in a library, mon cher ami: loooook iiiiit uuuuup…!

New York City: Book Expo America

June 5-7, 2012. Who are we?  “We are BEA”, which stands for Book Expo America, purportedly “the largest publishing event in North America”.  (Er, bigger than a Harry Potter launch…?)   BEA continued to evolve this year by adding new features to keep pace with industry shifts, and in direct response to customer feedback.  Digital continued to make inroads into printed-page publishing.  The Digital Discovery Zone featured daily Digital Cocktail Networking Happy Hours to bring e-book professionals together to discuss and share ideas on the digital publishing revolution. There were marquee BEA author events in combination with digital programming.  Featured authors included Barbara Kingsolver, Junot Diaz, Jo Nesbo and Stephen Colbert… who managed to keep a straight face at least some of the time….

Los Angeles: CAB 12

June 4-5, 2012. So where in the City of Angels would you go to catch a CAB?  Probably the LAX Hilton, where the bean-counters gathered for the 2012 California Accounting and Business Show and Conference, or CAB for short.  Leading accounting, financial and business exhibitors were touting for visitors to their booths.  These included CPAs; tax preparers and financial advisors; non-CPA clients and accounting professionals; small business owners users of accounting systems;  and corporate executives who manage accounting enterprise financial systems. Delegates came to see new accounting products, and maybe earn CPE accreditation. The show featured new systems and tools for CPA practices and client operations, while the conference offered CPE sessions.  So, all present and “accounted” for…