Movie critic Roger Ebert calls it "the Conference on Everything Conceivable." The New York Times describes it as "a weeklong extravaganza of discussion and debate." The Conference on World Affairs returns to the University of Colorado at Boulder campus April 5-9 for its 62nd annual edition.
A Boulder tradition since 1948, conference audiences have doubled in size over the past decade. Last year, a combined audience of 92,000 students, faculty, local, national and international visitors attended 200 panels, plenaries and performances at the five-day gathering.
This year's conference theme, "Free Thinking," affirms the organization's core value, said Jim Palmer, conference director.
"Free Thinking is meant to describe both the conference's cost-free attendance and our unrestricted, free-ranging topics and ideas," he said. "We are committed to keeping the conference free in both senses."
The Conference on World Affairs was founded in 1948, originally as a forum on international affairs, gaining fame early on with notable participants such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Arthur Miller and Henry Kissinger. The event now encompasses music, literature, the environment, science, journalism, visual arts, diplomacy, technology, spirituality, film, politics, business, medicine, human rights and more.
Participants in recent years include Vice President Joe Biden, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer and economist Paul Krugman. TV commentator Rachel Maddow describes the conference as "the antidote to the airless, etherized, surreality of what 'conferences' have become. Arrive cynical and above-it-all — leave with new, real friends and a smarter, humbler, more human take on your work and the world you're changing."
A biographical listing of all Conference on World Affairs participants is online atwww.colorado.edu/cwa. A complete schedule of events will be posted by the third week of March.
One of the most popular events is the annual jazz concert, set for 8 p.m. April 6 at Macky Auditorium. As with all conference sessions, the concert is free and open to the public; beginning this year, though, seating will no longer be general admission. Advance online ticketing for assigned seats will be available with a service charge of $1. Instructions for online ticketing will be announced soon via the CWA Fans e-list. To become a member and receive notice of jazz concert tickets and other conference events, go to the conference Web site and click on the "Sign Up Now!" button.
Donations to the Conference on World Affairs may be made online at KeepCWAfree.com