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I am a PhD student from India working on representations of quantum groups. I want to organize a workshop on Hopf Algebra and Quantum groups but there are only 2 or 3 specialists in India currently working on it. So I googled some professors outside India who are currently working on this field. Now the problem is how to approach them to participate as a speaker. Since I have no experience organizing such a workshop I want some help. I donot know what offers I have to make to them. I mean giving air fares both ways and lodging and broading will be enough or do I need to arrange some honorarium. Also there is another problem. To propose a workshop, I have to give details of the speakers, the topics they are covering and outcome of the proposed workshop. After recieving all the data the working committee is either going to accept or reject the proposal. If they accept it then they are going to give the funding. Now it may happen that the funds given may not be enough or in worse case they can reject the proposal. Now if some professor gets interested at the prospect and later find that the proposal is rejected, what they will think about me.

So I will be very grateful if someone comes up some piece of advise how to proceed.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there anyone at your institute who has had some experience organizing similar workshops in different areas of pure maths? $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Aug 7 at 3:39
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    $\begingroup$ I highly doubt anyone will accept unless the workshop is 2+ years away in future (due to COVID). You might have better luck organizing something online. $\endgroup$ – Piyush Grover Aug 7 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ @PiyushGrover 2 years? Lots of restrictions are being dropped. If the whole second "wave" thing happens maybe they'll come back but it's a safe bet in a year it'll be more or less resolved in terms of restrictions interfering with those not at risk. I think unless a professor is part of the vulnerable group they have no reason not to go. $\endgroup$ – JamalS Aug 7 at 19:04
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    $\begingroup$ @ Snehashish mukhejiee: A Zoom type conference with big screen display is perhaps a quicker option during covid9 time. I suppose after the conference you are planning to bring out notes and proceedings in a book form. $\endgroup$ – Narasimham Aug 7 at 20:03
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The Lorentz Center has some advice that you might find useful, I have organized several workshops there and followed a route similar to the one you describe.

Tentative answers to your specific questions:

  1. Since you can only invite speakers conditional on the acceptance of the workshop proposal, it is crucial that you invite them well in advance, so that they can block their calendar without interfering with other commitments. I would invite at least a year in advance --- of course now with COVID a two-year advance seems more reliable. Don't worry about "what they will think of me" if the proposal gets rejected: if you explain in advance that the invitation depends on the acceptance by some agency they will understand.

  2. I would initially offer to reimburse "local expenses" (= hotel and meals) and explain that you have some funds for travel expenses which you can distribute according to need. Some speakers may be able and willing to use their own funds for travel. You could further motivate this by explaining that if speakers can help in this way with the expenses you will be able to support junior participants.

  3. Honorarium? No, for academic lectures that is unusual and not needed --- at least not for lectures delivered "in real life". The idea being that the hospitality which the host will offer (e.g. taking you out to a nice restaurant) is sufficient compensation. Since COVID I have seen a modest honorarium (a few hundred $) being offered for online lectures, mainly to secure commitment from the speaker.

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