St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs Returns to USFSP

A photo of City of St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin speaking at the 2016 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs.

City of St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, at the podium, was among the list of featured speakers as part of the 2016 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs.

USF St. Petersburg will host the fifth annual St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs Feb. 15-17. Diplomatic, military, academic and real-world experts will discuss the issues that most affect and influence the world today. The event is free and open to the public.

The conference will include more than 25 panel discussions and presentations about key international issues designed to broaden and enhance perspectives on critical world matters. Discussion topics this year will include:

  • President Trump’s Foreign Policy: From Tweets to Reality
  • Cyber-Meddling: What to Do About It?
  • The Arab Spring: Is It Now December?
  • After Ukraine, Georgia and Crimea, Where Is Putin’s Next Land Grab?
  • Africa: Is It Finally Ready for Its Close-Up?
  • Brexit, Greece, Refugees, Italian Banks: The End of the EU Dream?

“As always, this year’s event will focus on the most pertinent and significant issues of the day,” said Thomas Smith, associate professor of Political Science and director of the USFSP University Honors Program. Smith serves on the Board of Directors for the conference. “The conference will feature local, national and international panelists who will share their knowledge and insights gained through years of experience in their respective fields.”

Among the featured panelists is Marie Roger-Biloa, executive director of The African International Media Group, media consultant and advisor on African Affairs. Roger-Biloa, a frequent TV show guest to comment on current news and African politics, will speak as part of four panels, including “Africa: Is It Finally Ready for Its Close-Up?” and “Globalization: Vaccine Against War or a Catalyst for Nationalist Upheaval?”

Ralph Clem, professor emeritus of Geography and the former director of the Center for Transnational and Comparative Studies at Florida International University in Miami, will share his military expertise and insights. Clem retired from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of Major General, having served at the squadron and wing levels, and at the National Security Agency and the Air Intelligence Agency as an intelligence officer, and at the Pentagon on the Air Staff. He will participate on four panels, including “The Arab Spring: Is It Now December?” and “After Ukraine, Georgia, and Crimea, Where Is Putin’s Next Land Grab?”

Other notable speakers will include Sylvia Acevedo, who serves as director of the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture, the only torture rehabilitation program in Florida, and Eddy Harris, an author of six critically-acclaimed books, including “Mississippi Solo,” “South of Haunted Dreams,” and “Still Life in Harlem.” Acevedo will speak as part of the panel discussions “Here’s a Tweet: Build That Wall and Make Them Pay” and “Identity Politics in a Global World.”

The St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs is sponsored by USF St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Times, Raymond James, Duke Energy, WUSF, Smith & Associates Real Estate, OPEN Partnership Education Network, and The Glackin Group at Morgan Stanley.

For more information, visit To register, send an email to and be sure to include your name, phone number, and the number of people in your party. Walk-in seating will be available on a first-come, first-seated basis.