A brief guide to the Landa Kongreso

The Esperanto-USA national convention, or Landa Kongreso, usually begins on Friday night. If possible it’s worth arriving on Thursday night, however — either to participate in the board meeting, which takes place during the day on Friday, or just to get settled in. Occasionally there are pre-convention field trips as well.

The board meetings are officially open: members may observe, but not participate. In addition to seeing how the board operates, there’s plenty of opportunity for discussion before meetings and over meals.

On Friday night there is typically an interkona vespero, a traditional meet-and-greet with light refreshments. It’s a chance to mingle, catch up with old friends, and meet new ones. The gathering typically doesn’t last very long, since most people are tired from traveling. But small groups will typically move to a nearby pub or cafe, providing interesting discussion well into the night.

Saturday morning begins with the Solena malfermo, the official opening of the convention. Traditionally this begins with an announcement by the president, followed by greetings made in the name of various local, regional and international groups. There is usually a speech.

Over the rest of Saturday and Sunday there are two kinds of events: business meetings (aferkunsidoj) and talks (prelegoj). The aferkunsidoj include reports from the various commissioners and committee heads, reports of decisions made during the board meeting, and discussion related to the organization. The prelegoj are presentations by various members about all sorts of topics they’re interested in.

Not everyone attends all of the events; many use some of the time to meet with other members. This part of the convention can be particularly useful for beginners: they get a chance to hear fluent conversation from more experienced speakers, with the opportunity to participate to whatever degree they feel comfortable.

Usually there is also a book service on both Saturday and Sunday offering a variety of Esperanto books, music, films, board games, t-shirts, pins, etc.

On the last night of the convention there is a banquet with a keynote speech. Ballots for leadership positions are accepted until beginning of the banquet. Afterwards there is typically an auction.

Everything wraps up by noon on Monday. There is usually a closing ceremony (solena fermo) where the election results are announced and the convention resolution is read, thanking the organizers and hosts.