CMO Frequently Asked Questions

About BIRS

What is BIRS?

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a joint Canada-US-Mexico initiative that seeks to bring together people from a wide range of mathematical, scientific and industry backgrounds and to create a forum for the exchange of knowledge and methods between these specialists.

For information relating to the history, mandate, governance, and program descriptions of BIRS, feel free to explore our website at:

Please note that while BIRS provides logistical support for the activities at CMO, is not responsible for any aspect of its local operations. Participants assume responsibility for their own travel and well being as is customary for conferences of this nature.

About CMO

What is CMO?

Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO) is an International research facility affiliated with the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) of Canada. CMO will host scientific activities and gather mathematicians from around the world in an environment that will promote innovative ideas in the mathematics field. CMO will also support activities to promote local development through research and teaching of mathematics.


Where will I be staying?

Participants of CMO workshops will stay at Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles in Oaxaca: the Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles

For how long can I stay at the facility?

Participants in 5-day workshops can check into the hotel on Sunday and typically remain until the Friday of the same week.

If you plan to arrive before Sunday or intend to remain in Oaxaca or Mexico beyond Friday, please note that you will be expected to book your own accommodation. Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles will offer a special rate for CMO-BIRS participants; however, due to other workshops, there may not be availability. Other accommodation may be found using Trip Advisor.

May I bring a guest?

Yes. However, please note that if you bring guests, they will have to pay for their own meals. As well, there will be an additional room charge per night for guests: Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles - 750 Mexican pesos per night (including taxes).

Do I need to stay in CMO's accommodation?

Accommodation at the Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles is automatically granted to all workshop participants. If, however, you do not feel that such accommodation is right for you, a number of alternatives are available. CMO recommends using Trip Advisor to find alternatives.

What sorts of amenities are available in my room?

Each room has air conditioning/heating, towels, cotton bathrobes, hairdryer, soaps and shampoos, classic-style furnishings, 25 inch color television, wireless Internet in all areas and office center.

Is there a way for me to get my laundry done at the hotel?

Yes. Laundry services are available to all hotel guests.

If I have mobility issues, will I be able to navigate the CMO and hotel accommodation?

Please include your request in your registration, at least two weeks in advance, and confirm via email at [email protected].

Is there a telephone line through which I can be reached during my stay with CMO?

Yes, there will be a telephone in each room. Once you have received your hotel assignment, you may have your calls directed to Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles: +52 951 501-5300 .


Where and how do I get my meals?

All meals will be at Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles. CMO participants will receive a scheduled breakfast, lunch and dinner, for which the menu will be fixed (ie. you will not have a choice of options). If you have any dietary restrictions, please include your request in your online registration or via email at [email protected], at least two weeks in advance.

What are the meal costs for guests?

If your guest wishes to join you for meals he/she may order off the regular hotel menu with a special discount of 20% at Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles.


Are there any computers available for use at the hotels?

Yes. There are four laptops available at Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles for participants to use.

Can I access the Internet from my laptop while at the hotel?

Yes. Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles has both ethernet ports as well as wireless internet access.

Can I print from my own laptop while at the workshop?

No. However, for your convenience, there will be a printer available at Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles that may be used with any of the four laptops provided.


Do I need a visa in order to come to CMO?

For visa Information please visit However, we suggest you check with the Embassy of Mexico in the country of origin for any updated information.

If you require a visa support letter please contact: [email protected]

Where can I find information for travel funding?

Although CMO provides meals and accommodation to workshop participants free of cost, it unfortunately cannot subsidize travel costs to and from Oaxaca and Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles.

Where do I check in for the workshop?

For lodging at your assigned hotel:

Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles Check-in is from 3:00 pm

The hotel is located at: Calle Hidalgo # 21, San Felipe del Agua, C.P. 68020 Oaxaca, Oax.

Tel: (52) 951 501 5300 or (52) 951 520 0890

Where do I go for the workshop?

San Felipe Conference Room at Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles.

What are my transportation options for getting to CMO?

Book your flight to the Xoxocotlán International Airport (OAX), in Oaxaca. For detailed information on transportation to your hotel, please click here.

Information for Organizers

If I want to organize a workshop at CMO, what should I do?

All potential organizers must submit an application and proposal to the BIRS Scientific Advisory Board. Information on this process is found on the BIRS website, as well as updated calls for proposals and deadlines. Please consult our “For Applicants” section at:

What is the “organizer interface”?

The organizer interface is an online program that allows all organizers to manage the various events that they are planning. Through the interface, organizers can access lists of invitees, see breakdowns of who is attending workshops (or not) etc.

It is very important that organizers check their interface accounts regularly, particularly in the early stages of the invitation process, as invitations cannot be sent out to potential participants until all of the invitees’ relevant information (names, email addresses and so on) has been entered into the interface by the organizer him/herself and the draft list of invitees has been confirmed by him/her. Please always send the BIRS program coordinator ([email protected]) a note when new invitee information has been entered into the interface so that we know when and how to proceed.

How do I create an account on the organizer interface?

Go to and click on “Create Account”. Set up a username and password, which you can use to log into the interface every subsequent time. Be sure to use the same email address in logging into the interface as you used in registering for the workshop. This will allow the system to identify you as an organizer.

How do I send out invitations to participants?

Organizers are tasked with making initial invitee lists and entering all potential invitee information (names, email addresses etc) into the organizer interface. All invitees must be initially classified as either “participants” (maximum 42 in most cases, but check the event details beforehand, because sometimes the maximum number of participants allowed is smaller) or as “back-up participants”. When this has been completed, send the BIRS program coordinator ([email protected]) a quick note. We will send you back a confirmation before we send out official invitations from our central database.

Through your interface account you can track the number of people who accept or decline invitations. After a time, we may prompt you to choose some of the people from your “back-up participants” list to become formal, invited potential participants. We will then send out a second round of invitations on your behalf.

Planning Your 5-day CMO-BIRS Workshop

Please visit this link for information on planning your 5-day CMO-BIRS Workshop.

After Your 5-day CMO-BIRS Workshop

Please visit this link for information on processes to complete after your 5-day CMO-BIRS Workshop.

Workshop Information

I would like to participate in a workshop. Can I register somewhere?

Workshop participation is by invitation only. Individual workshop organizers are responsible for drafting lists of potential invitees, not CMO or BIRS directly; however, if you are interested in participating in a particular workshop you can email a BIRS administrator, who will forward your statement of interest to one of the organizers involved. If you are a student we recommend sending a letter of recommendation from your supervisor along with your initial email.

Could BIRS send me my invitations and information packages by regular post?

BIRS is unfortunately unable to do this, for a number of reasons, particularly due to the sheer volume of information that we require from all participants, compatibility with our online database, and the occasional need for very prompt replies. If a participant is unable to be reached by email on a regular basis, he/she should contact his/her workshop contact organizer to make alternate arrangements.

How do I change my registration details?

You can email the BIRS Program Coordinator at: [email protected].

I have been invited to attend a workshop, but I won’t know if I will be able to commit to it until after the RSVP deadline. What should I do?

It is important for BIRS administrators to know who is attending any given workshop well in advance of the workshop itself. This allows us not only to think about room allocation and meal plans, but also to potentially invite more people to join the workshop, if definite places remain. As such, we would ask that you respond to all of our emails as promptly as possible; however, we understand that it can be difficult for some people to commit to certain workshops so early on, especially if traveling from abroad. We would ask that if you are unable to give us a definite answer before the deadline, you write to us to tell us so, stating your reason for delay and when you are likely to know by. This will greatly facilitate our planning! We will forward your email to the appropriate organizers.

I was contacted by BIRS a while ago, but haven’t received any invitations or updates since then. Why is that?

If you think you haven’t received information from BIRS that you ought to have, we recommend first checking your spam/junk mail folder. Should that fail, please contact us for any missing information at: [email protected].

Can I see the detailed schedule and abstracts for my workshop in advance?

BIRS administrators post detailed schedules and abstracts for workshops to the website as soon as they are made available to us. These can be found by going to Select the year of the event you will be attending in the scroll-down menu at the top of the page. By clicking on the code next to the title (ex: 18w5012) you will be brought to the workshop-specific homepage. There you will find any schedules or abstracts that have been posted.

If you wish to see a program before it is finalized and published online, contact your workshop organizers and they may be able to give you details.

As a presenter, will I be able to publish workshop lecture slides to the web?

Yes. The following instructions explain how to publish files related to your workshop on the workshop web page:

I need to write a workshop report. Are there any guidelines or templates available?

You can find old workshop reports online at:

Bear in mind that your audience are scientists.


What is the purpose of the testimonials that participants and organizers are asked to volunteer to write after workshops?

The benefits of testimonials are three-fold.

  1. For participants, they provide an opportunity to think back on the past few days and to recall and organize one’s thoughts on what was learned throughout their time at CMO.
  2. For the workshop community at large, they enable people to see what stood out to their colleagues in each workshop; their colleagues may perhaps emphasize important aspects of the week they hadn’t before considered to be of note.
  3. For BIRS and CMO, feedback helps us to see our strengths and our weaknesses. Positive testimonials also enable us to show our sponsors that the funds they have granted us are being put to good use. Testimonials are invaluable to us in the funding renewal process and participants’ taking the time to write one is thus very much appreciated!

How do I write a testimonial?

You may be contacted directly by email by our Scientific Director, requesting you to give us your input. If so, a link should be included in the email and you need only follow the steps as they appear.

If this is not the case, you can access a simple testimonial-writing page via our website at

What sorts of remarks should I make in a testimonial?

The content of a testimonial is largely up to you. Some people choose to write long paragraphs, while other people simply jot down a sentence or two. You can reflect upon the organization of the workshop, the setting and facilities in Oaxaca, the mathematical and scientific aspects of your specific workshop, or whatever else you deem to be appropriate. There are some guidelines on what to include as potential “scientific content” on our online testimonial-writing page at:

You can see examples of testimonials by following the link on the BIRS homepage, where we publish excerpts of testimonials for the various workshops held in our facilities at

We endeavor to preserve the integrity of each testimonial, although we reserve the right to occasionally edit for grammar, clarity or anonymity, where appropriate.

Town of Oaxaca Information

What are the climate conditions in Oaxaca ?

Over the course of a year, the temperature in Oaxaca typically varies from 9°C to 31°C and is rarely below 6°C or above 34°C. Good sources for this information are and

What are some good places to visit in Oaxaca and surroundings?

There are several amazing places to visit in Oaxaca. You can find information at 

If you plan to extend your trip in Oaxaca and are looking for adventure, consider the Copalita Trail – a five-day trek that takes you from the alpine region of Oaxaca, all the way down to the coveted pristine beaches of the Pacific. Find more information at

What are the electrical systems and plug types used in Oaxaca ?

Mexico uses 100–127 Volt, 60 Hz electrical outlets, the same electrical standards as the U.S. and Canada.

Where can I exchange currencies?

It is highly advised to exchange currencies in your country of origin, where you will probably get a better exchange rate with your currency. There are several currency exchanges in downtown Oaxaca, and a bus from the hotels to downtown that takes about 15 minutes. Please note that many businesses in Oaxaca only accept cash payments; therefore, it is highly advisable that you obtain some local currency to use.

What is the etiquette around tipping?

For information on tipping guidelines in and around Oaxaca city, please visit the Trip Advisor website.