St. Petersburg in the World

USF St. Petersburg Conference on International Affairs draws national experts

Diplomats, military leaders, academic experts and journalists will gather at USF St. Petersburg March 28-29 for the first St. Petersburg in the World Conference on International Affairs.

About two dozen experts from across the country, including a former CIA official, will participate in a series of panel discussions on some of the most critical international issues of the day. The event, co-sponsored by the USF St. Petersburg Honors Program and St. Petersburg in the World, runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at Harbor Hall, 1000 3rd St. S., St. Petersburg. It is free and open to the public. Complementary parking will be available at Harbor Hall.

“A well-informed public is the keystone of any successful democracy,’’ said Douglas McElhaney of St. Petersburg, a retired diplomat with 35 years in the U.S. Foreign Service who is spearheading the conference. “We hope these discussions will underscore how St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area are linked to events around the world.”

McElhaney, former ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a member of the Advisory Board of the USF St. Petersburg Honors Program and a founder of the non-profit group St. Petersburg in the World. “The Honors Program is proud to co-sponsor this important conference,” said Thomas Smith, director of the Honors Program. “We think it will help enrich the study of international affairs at USF St. Petersburg.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster will kick off the conference at 9 a.m., March 28, with introductory remarks.

“St. Petersburg is pleased to welcome the World Conference on International Affairs at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg,” said Mayor Foster. “We thank Mr. McElhaney for his role in organizing this conference, and in helping to bridge relationships between St. Petersburg and cities across the globe as our city increases its presence on the world stage.”

Topics of the two-day conference include the future of post-Castro Cuba and post-Chavez Venezuela and the implications for Florida, how the worldwide recession has affected the U.S. economy, energy policy in a resource-hungry world, how to slow the development of nuclear weapons and the critical issues facing the Middle East.

The speakers come from a broad array of backgrounds and viewpoints, including:

  • Charles L. Campbell, who retired from the CIA in 2004 after 40 years.
  • Luz E. Nagle, professor of international law at Stetson Law School.
  • Ed Fugit, a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer who worked in Africa, Europe, South Asia and the Middle East and was a political advisor to Centcom.
  • Robert Deutsch, a State Department Senior Advisor on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • María Crummett, associate vice president for Global Affairs at USF.
  • Robert Noun, former Director of Communication and External Affairs at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • Neil Brown, editor of the Tampa Bay Times.
  • Stephen Buckley, Dean of the Poynter Institute and a former foreign correspondent for the Washington Post.

For a complete schedule and list of speakers and topics, download the International Conference flyer or visit the conference Web site.

The Honors Program at USF St. Petersburg offers academically gifted, highly motivated students an exceptional experience that broadens and deepens their undergraduate education. A distinguished faculty guides special seminars and lectures and provide Honors students with an array of research opportunities culminating in an original senior thesis.

For more information about the Honors Program, please call Thomas Smith at (727) 873-4872.