Editor's note: the following is a guest post by MVP Award Program Events and Marketing Manager Paulette Suddarth

We’re now less than one week away from what is likely the largest community event in the world—the MVP Global Summit.

This year, more than 1,500 MVPs will travel from 70 countries to meet with members of the Microsoft community. They share their valuable real-world feedback with our product teams to help drive improvements and innovation in Microsoft technologies, and they learn about what’s new and what’s coming in our products.

For MVPs, the focus is on learning—from Microsoft teams and from each other. That’s why one of the new features of this year’s MVP Global Summit is an evolution away from traditional keynote addresses to audience-focused panel discussions led by Microsoft senior executives. This year, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Visual Studio, Jason Zander, and corporate vice president of Server & Tools Business, Scott Guthrie, will be presenting at the MVP Global Summit, talking with MVPs about areas of specific interest to them.

That’s in addition to the 760 technical sessions  planned this year, where MVPs and product team members will sit down together and engage in deep technical discussions about current and future innovations.

This is a time when MVPs get to “geek out” with each other—sharing tips and best practices and stories from the technology trenches. They also share their passion for community—technology communities and the wider communities of our world. This year, as in past years, many will arrive a couple of days early for the Global Summit in order to offer their time and energy at a GeekGive event—packing food for those in need at Northwest Harvest.

Windows Azure MVPs from Japan will be arriving at the Global Summit to share their stories about the work they did nearly a year ago to keep communications alive in the wake of the terrible tsunami and ensuing nuclear reactor crisis. You can read more about how they created mirror cloud web sites to alert residents about radiation levels and other critical information in this blog post.

From the Surface MVP, Dennis Vroegop, who committed countless hours to develop a promising tool for diagnosing autism in children to MVPs like Dave Sanders, whose Carolina IT user group routinely contributes thousands of dollars to the needy in their local community, MVPs share a commitment to supporting others. When they get together, as one MVP last year explained, “It’s like a family reunion, except you like everyone!”