The Conference on World Affairs celebrates 60 years of bringing thinkers together
Strap in students because this year’s Conference on World Affairs is going to be a wild ride. The 60th annual Conference on World Affairs is once again transforming the CU campus into a hub of eclectic minds and talent.
“One of our mottos is ‘it brings the world to Boulder’,” said senior biological chemistry and integrative physiology major Ilina Datkhaeva. “There are so many amazing participants from all over the world that have pioneered their field. They come to Boulder for one week to speak on things they are passionate about.”
Campus will be buzzing Monday, April 7 through Friday, April 11 with 100 participants attending and over 200 free panels and performance events open to the public.
Datkhaeva shares the title of student volunteer coordinator for the CWA with junior international affairs major Madeleine Tengler. Datkhaeva said about 80 student volunteers are involved with the conference. Datkheava and Tengler have facilitated student volunteer meetings since fall semester and are also responsible for student marketing, recruiting student volunteers and bringing participants that will attract students.
“We brainstormed what kind of participants to invite that would appeal to students, what topics we wanted them to discuss that would be interesting,” said Datkheava. “We basically do everything that would get student appeals.”
If you take a stroll this next week through the UMC at the noon lunch hour, don’t be surprised to see a fire dancer or crooning saxophonist. Students organized participants with interesting talents to perform in hopes of boosting awareness and marketing for the conference.
Wendy Chamberlin will commence the CWA with her keynote address, “U.S.-Mideast Relations: The Cost of a Damaged Dialogue” at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Macky Auditorium. A full schedule of all events, biographies of all participants and other information can be found at the CWA Web site.
Ramsay Thurber, assistant director of public affairs for the CWA, said the process of coordinating the conference is an ongoing one with planning for 2009’s conference already underway. He views the conference as an important and special opportunity for the community.
“The CWA really brings leaders in every field: medicine, politics, business, literature, arts- you name it,” Thurber said. “It brings the world’s best and brightest to the CU campus so that students, faculty and boulder community members can have access to the greatest minds in a very relaxed and open dialogue atmosphere.”
According to the CWA Web site, the conference is designed to be a non-academic, cross-disciplinary exploration of a wide range of topics-encouraging participants to discuss issues through an alternatively impromptu basis.
Junior economics major Bryan New is a transportation coordinator for the CWA. He, along with senior political science major Avani Shah and a fleet of between 30 and 40 student volunteer drivers, is responsible for transporting all participants to and from the airport and from housing to the conference and other social events.
“It’s basically all the little work that needs to go smooth so no one knows about it,” New said.
Thurber said the conference is especially unique because participants are essentially volunteers.
“One of the magical things about the CWA is that it does not pay its participants, and it also doesn’t even pay airfare,” Thurber said. “So basically, the participants are paying to come here.”
The esteemed participants stay with Boulder community members. Thurber said they do not have trouble attracting people to contribute.
“We have hundreds of people who would love, and demand to be invited back,” Thurber said.
Both New and Datkhaeva expressed the benefits of being a student volunteer as a great way to get involved, meet interesting people and network themselves.
“Once students volunteer for a year, they’re hooked,” Datkhaeva said.
Students interested in volunteering for the CWA can e-mail email@example.com or check out the CWA Web site.
All events are free and open to the public. Students are more than encouraged to attend.
Roger Ebert, the renowned movie critic, has made the hike to Boulder to participate in the conference for 38 years. He coined his own term for the CWA: “The conference on everything conceivable.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Monica Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org.