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GENERAL FRAMEWORK OF OUR
|Duration of Our Meetings - A Short, Week-long or Longer Trip|| |
The scientific programme of our Meetings is typically of the order of one week long - being spread across sites in two or more nearby regions of the Host Destination.
We believe that such a period is
both essential to maximize the time available for scientific exchanges and
ideal to get the most out of the experience as a whole. With the plane ticket being responsible for the bulk of all Meeting expenses, it also represents extremely good value for money - the developing world is never expensive, the longer a Participant stays, the cheaper each day subsequent day becomes.
Although we encourage all Participants to stay for the full period of each Meeting, we fully acknowledge that for many with families and urgent responsibilities at home, this is simply not realistic.
We therefore take early departures into account, both in respect of
the scientific programme and the itinerary as a whole.
We also appreciate that many Participants
may want to extend their stay in their Host Destination to beyond one week's duration - either to continue their scientific involvement and discussions with local scientists, or to move on to see more of the
Host Destination itself.
Taking trips of all durations into account, we therefore consider our Meetings in three cumulative parts:
||The First Couple or Few Days - a Total Trip Equating to No More Than a Long Weekend.
||Plus The Middle Few Days - a Total Trip of One Week, Covering the Full Scientific Programme.
||Plus The Last Few Days - a Total Trip of 10 Days or so, the Scientific Programme and a Few Additional Days Thereafter.
In order to allow for a quick escape for early departures, the first few days of each Meeting will always be scheduled to take place at a site which is within easy reach of the local international airport.
|Host Destinations, Sites, Venues, Accommodation and Local Transport|| |
|Our existing and future Host Destinations are situated in any politically stable, safe developing world nation
throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and some Pacific Islands. |
A Host Destination may be more a region than a single nation. In the case of Senegal and The Gambia, for example - a region known locally as Senegambia -
a Meeting's itinerary may well spread across the friendly border between these two nations.
In so doiing, we welcome the participation of local scientists and students from any neighbouring
Within each Host Destination, our venues are chosen after considering the availability of suitable meeting facilities, cost-effective accommodation, reliable sources of good food and local sites of interest to visiting scientists. We further take into account the availability of excellent local transportation links - ensuring that each venue is close enough to regional population centres so as to enable local scientists and students to easily make their way to Meetings.
As this suggests, venues will frequently not be in large or capital cities, but will optimally not be further than
a maximum of four or five hours travelling time from the capital by readily available local transportation.
Why do we choose to work outside of the capitals? Simply because the capital
city of any country never reflects the true state of its nation -
no more so than in least developed
nations of the world.
We therefore believe
it to be imperative to escape such major urban areas for at least some of the time during each Meeting.
Wherever possible, we aim to utilize basic, cost-effective locally owned accommodation options rather than large or internationally owned hotels. In many regions, more luxurious accommodation
will be available. However, as an organization with interests firmly in the health of the local economy and in the budgets and expenses of our Participants, we see no reason to choose the most expensive option by default.
It's important to remember that Mangosteen works in the developing world proper rather than in major tourist centres. Accordingly, we hope that our Meeting Participants will be willing to compromise somewhat and not expect exactly the same standards they have come to know at home. Should this be a problem, should you have more exacting accommodation requirements, please let us know so that we can work together to structure the Meeting itinerary accordingly.
|Meeting Size & Optimal Participant Numbers|| |
|The size of each Mangosteen Meeting depends only on the size of the research area under discussion and the number of Participants each is therefore likely to attract.
Further to this, we offer only a guideline in that we aim for our Meetings to be
large enough to ensure the presence of a variety of expertise and interests, but small enough to enable each Participant to meet each other properly,
that is, to have time to do more than deliver a business card, a handshake and exchange greetings in between sessions or at coffee breaks.
For organizational purposes and in order to achieve an optimal number of Participants, we will, in conjunction with the
Technical Programme Designer , set an upper limit for each individual Meeting.
Should Participant interest in any particular Meeting greatly exceed the set maximum, we will however not disappoint late-comers - we have a number of approaches open to us to both maintain optimal numbers and accommodate everyone with a genuine interest in attending.
Similarly, no field or group is too small for a Mangosteen Meeting
- provided only that the prospective Participants are convinced of the potential for a productive Meeting.
No matter what the number of developed world Participants, the attendance of each Meeting will be swollen to a greater or lesser extent by the involvement of local scientists and students, invited to participate, free of charge. However, should it be necessary to run closed sessions at times, for proprietary or other purposes, we of course understand the need to
temporarily exclude unaffiliated individuals, as do our hosts.
|Scientific Additions to the Programme|| |
Beyond structured sessions of presentations, we aim to incorporate a number of other opportunities for our Meeting Participants to talk and think about science- and how it does or does not happen in a developing world setting.
Each Host Destination offers a number of possibilities for science related add-ons - opportunities for a 'busman's holiday' -
be it to university research institutes and laboratories,
to local chemical, petrochemical or other industrial installations,
or to specialized clinics of particular interest to those with interests in endemic diseases, or simply local hospitals.
We therefore have plans in hand to provide Participants with an introduction to the state of play in their branch of science in the region hosting each individual Meeting.
With local science students freely invited to attend our Meetings, we also make it a feature to set aside a little time for educational activities. It's by no means a requirement, but in order to inspire these ambitious members of the local community, and help them develop
their interests, we aim to tap into the knowledge and experience of our Participants by encouraging some to volunteer to teach classes, tutorials or seminars in either a subject of their choice, or in a specific area that has been requested by local academics lacking the necessary expertise.
|Non-scientific Additions to the Programme|| |
We believe that it would be remiss of us to take Meeting Participants far from home to the less fortunate regions of the world, for the purpose of work, without also taking time to consider some of the riches of the developing world.
The 'riches of the developing world' - an oxymoron? No, not at all but that's for visitors to the region to discover
There may not be a lot of luxury in
the developing world, there's rarely much in the way of a well maintained infrastructure - but there's no shortage of riches. The fact that the developing world is exactly that - not yet developed - means that many regions still possess outstanding natural environments
that are simply not to be found in the developed world.
Some things just can't be added to a programme, cannot be planned upon - it's just a matter of being there, and taking in the experience - whatever might pass your gaze, or whoever you might find yourself speaking to.
However, other things we can add to the programme and are easily scheduled -
whether that might be climbing a snow-capped volcano in the Andes,
bush walking or cycling along bush tracks or dirt roads in Africa, or
tracking wildlife by jeep,
or exploring the rain forest, looking for flora and fauna on the forest floor, or birdlife and bromeliads in the canopy.
All that and more depends on just two things - where in the developing world the Meeting takes place, and what it is that Participants are interested in seeing and doing during the periods of unallocated time in each programme. If it's there to be seen, we'll let you know about it. If you have other ideas, please let us know what it is that you'd like to see added to the itinerary, so that we can do our best to make it happen.
For many, we appreciate that a Mangosteen Meeting trip into the developing world might just represent a once in a lifetime opportunity. Remembering this, and in trying to kill several birds with one cost-effective, scientifically focused stone, be
assured that we'll do all that we can to make sure that our Participants get as much out of the non-scientific aspects of the experience as they do from the science itself.