Every year, CU hosts a unique convention of guest speakers from around the world in an event open to the public.
The Conference on World Affairs always draws a crowd, as students and community members sit in on a diverse array of lectures throughout the week.
Graham Gerritsen, the advertising and press liaison for the Conference on World Affairs, said the conference is unique to CU.
“It’s the only event like it in the world,” Gerritsen said. “One hundred of the greatest minds come to CU for 200 sessions that are free and open to the public.”
The 2010 CWA, which will be held from April 5 to 9, focuses on the theme “Free Thinking,” according to a CWA news release.
The participant list, including professors, entertainers and journalists from around the world, can be found at the CWA Web site.
Gerritsen said 92,000 people attended the CWA last year.
Chelsea Benavides, a 19-year-old freshman international affairs major, said she is required to attend the CWA.
“I’m going for my IAFS class, but also to experience international affairs in the world today,” Benavides said. “I want to get an insight into IAFS jobs, too.”
Benavides said she thinks students in other majors can benefit from attending the conference as well.
“They should know what’s going on in the world because that affects everyone,” Benavides said. “They can also understand how their actions can affect the world.”
Bryan New, a 22-year-old senior economics major, is a student volunteer coordinator for the event.
New said student volunteers help the event run smoothly.
“We have 60 or 70 student volunteers,” New said. “With 100 people flying in, we need people from 7 a.m. Sunday to 10 p.m. Saturday. We help provide transportation and help with marketing stuff.”
New said he thinks seeing the world-renowned speakers at the CWA is an opportunity that CU students should take advantage of.
“I think CU is perfect for the event,” New said. “It’s a huge resource for students. We have 100 experienced people who’ve been where we are. It was made for this campus.”
Gerritsen said the week of events covers many different topics ranging from new media and pop culture to terrorism and the sustainable revolution.
“It’s a very wide array of topics,” Gerritsen said. “We’re going to have sections on science, politics, new and old media, the environment, the 2010 election and maybe some health care.”
Gerritsen said the conference will include story telling and a jazz concert.
This year, attendees are encouraged to secure seats in advance to avoid overcrowding. Gerritsen said tickets may be obtained through the CWA Web site.
New said student groups, like students in the journalism school, have the opportunity to attend multiple events.
“I know Dean Voakes lets students out all week for the conference,” New said. “Michael Elliott [from Time magazine] will be there; he is a huge resource for a journalism student to see.”
CU Boulder has hosted the CWA since 1948, making this year the 62nd annual convention, according to the conference Web site.
Gerritsen said the CWA has evolved over time to include topics beyond international relations.
“Howard Higman started the event in 1948,” Gerritsen said. “At first, it was somewhat related to the UN. Now, Roger Ebert calls it a ‘Conference on Everything Conceivable’ and we agree with that.”
Gerritsen said the event is an important part of CU’s campus culture.
“It’s an integral part of CU,” Gerritsen said. “For students, seeing the flags in April is always a reminder that there’s a whole world out there.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jennifer Retter at Jennifer.email@example.com.