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18th International Congress of Vexillology

If the New England Vexillological Association wishes to organize the 18th International Congress of Vexillology (18ICV) in 1999, here are some recommendations:



Every ICV "brings its own show" in the sense that lectures and the FIAV business meeting happen automatically. To attract a large number of people, however, and to get the endorsement to run an ICV in the first place, however, depend on having strong positive attractions for a given city, especially if there are other cities contending for the right to sponsor the congress. Automatically in NEVA'S favor for 18ICV is the fact that there will have been 16 years without an ICV in North America, if approval is not given for 18ICV (since 2003 is the next available time and 1987 was the last North American ICV). Secondly, the only current contender for 18ICV is Sydney, Australia, which would mean two ICVs in a row in the Southern Hemisphere (Since 17ICV will be in South Africa in 1997). Third, NAVA and the Flag Research Center have jointly sponsored four ICVs in the past which give them a good reputation as host co-sponsors. Lastly, Boston (if that is the site chosen) is convenient for North Americans and Europeans and has a favorable reputation as a world-class city.

Nevertheless there are also problems we have to face up to. Boston is expensive by North American standards. We will be expected to publish the proceedings of the congress, which is a major responsibility. NEVA is small in size and we have no active members living in Boston itself. The best weather would be in the spring or fall but many (particularly Europeans) might prefer to come in the summer when they usually vacation. Prices are highest in the summer, however, and New England is known to have periods of hot humid weather.

It will make a decisive difference in getting endorsements from the right organizations and in attracting large numbers of people to the congress if we have flag-related activities not available at other meetings. Among some of the things I could recommend would be

Most of these will depend on working with outside organizations who should be contacted years in advance. The Flag Research Center will definitely contribute an exhibit to 18ICV; other institutions to contact would include: In addition we could look into possible materials and/or exhibits at the


The congress would definitely need to have a hotel venue for most of its activities (lectures, business meetings, exhibits, informal meeting areas; also accommodations for participants). Since most people would not be coming by car and many participants (especially spouses) would want to have non-vexillological activities at hand, we basically need to be in an urban center, regardless of what trips we made in rented buses. Reasonably speaking, I believe this limits us to Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, Salem, or Providence. Part of the decision will rest heavily on the kinds of connections we make with other institutions and therefore work on that needs to be done early. For example, the public relations director of the Higgins Armory in Worcester indicated the desire to help us coordinate a meeting in that city where we could take advantage of the armory itself, the Worcester Art Museum, Clark University, and the American Antiquarian Society. If the Essex Peabody Museum was our host, however, it would make sense to return to Salem where we had a very successful NAVA meeting in 1979. Depending on the season, we might have 18ICV at a time when we could offer college dormitory facilities as an option for those participants for whom housing costs are an important factor. This might suggest either Harvard or Boston University, both of which would give direct access to excellent inexpensive public transportation, as well as interesting places to visit within walking distance if held at Harvard. On the other hand my contacts at Boston University are better and they might be more interested in hosting 18ICV because 3ICV was held at Boston University in 1969. There are a lot of flags at BU's Museum of Contemporary Culture.

Whitney Smith

November 1995

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