1. Get a US visa (have not renewed my multiple entry visa since its expiration and just get one when needed.)
2. Pay to attend the event. (from airfare to the event itself)
Different groups have different purpose and process in organizing awards. Some will sponsor while others require that you shoulder the expenses (due to limited resources). Have no issues with that.
During the screening interview, a question asked of me was if I can go to the US and claim the award. I replied saying I can seek for US Visa assistance if needed - special circumstances.
However, reviewing the awards and schedule - one thing that concerned me was forfeiture. Clarified if I won't be able to make it, will the award be forfeited?
The response I got was a yes. Sending a representative was not an option either.
With the mandatory attendance requirement or else - forfeiture, I thought about it and realized that having an award is nice but I want it to be authentic.
I don't want to stand on stage, receive an award, thinking at the same time that those sharing the same stage with me were perhaps 2nd choices (I might even be a 2nd or 3rd or 4th choice). As the primary or earlier ones chosen can't make it at the event, therefore their award was forfeited.
Decided not to pursue (unless it becomes unconditional). I replied and gave my perspective (that I believe a true award must be given even if the person can't make it).
In response, the organizers felt offended with my comment and hurled insults in their email reply - from lack of gratitude, accusing of disrespecting their process, and up to the point of saying that my inclusion was obviously a mistake. Even imply that perhaps I can't just get a visa.
I think organizers of awards and events should learn how to accept feedback graciously. Definitely, you will not be able to please everyone. While you will not be able to address each one of them, at the moment it arises, those inputs can be valuable in improving processes in the future.
If there is anything I am thankful for the experience I had today, through reflection, I learned what I will not be willing to compromise, authenticity and truthfulness, for the sake of acquiring prestige.
(As of this writing, my name is no longer in the nominees list on the supposedly "awards" website.)