Save the date! Next Conference February 23 – 26, 2021
8th Annual Conference February 18 – 21, 2020
Join us for the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs! This year’s 3-1/2 day event begins with a Keynote Address at the Palladium, 5:00 pm Feb. 18, and ends with a Closing Address at Fox Hall - Eckerd College, 7:00 pm Feb. 21. Panel Discussions are daily 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Feb. 19 – 21 at University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) Student Center and Kate Tiedemann College of Business. Admission is free and open to the public.
Expand Your World View………. Further!
The success of the Saint Petersburg Conference on World Affairs inspired Mayor Rick Kriseman last year to proclaim the creation of St Petersburg International Week to run concurrently with the conference. During the week of Feb 17 – 21 we will be offering additional activities in support of our program, including various international culinary and artistic events.
Speakers for 2020 Conference
Each year the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs continues to improve the quantity and caliber of our high-profile panelists. Here is a peek at some of them.
Janet KeelerInstructor in Journalism and Coordinator of the Graduate Food Writing and Photography Certificate Program

Janet K. Keeler is a journalism instructor and coordinator of the Graduate Food Writing and Photography Certificate Program at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Her paper “Inhospitable Chairs: Everyday Insults that Negatively Impact Higher-Weight Individuals” was presented at the Sixth Annual Weight Stigma Conference in Leeds, England, in 2018. Keeler is a 35-year daily newspaper veteran with 15 years as the food editor at the Tampa Bay Times. She is a contributor for The Zest podcast on WUSF Public Media and is a judge for the annual James Beard Foundation journalism awards. Keeler is a doctoral candidate in Education Program Development at the University of South Florida and her research emphasis is on what university students learn when they study food writing.

Libby LiuCEO, Open Technology Fund

As Radio Free Asia’s former President, Libby Liu transformed the news organization to meet the needs of its audiences living in some of the world’s worst media environments in the 21st century. Serving in that role since 2005, Ms. Liu oversaw the expansion of RFA’s operations to increase its focus and coverage within its six target countries, including China, Vietnam, Burma, and North Korea, while ensuring that the company utilized every available platform to reach people living in closed countries under authoritarian rule. With federal funding granted through the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Ms. Liu created the Open Technology Fund in 2012, a global internet freedom technology program housed within RFA, which has had a long history of success combating and overcoming internet censorship since the advent of the Great Firewall of China. OTF goes beyond RFA’s remit by serving citizens anywhere in the world where governments denies access, censors content, interferes with or monitors online activity. OTF supports the development of tools to enable understanding, access, and security for journalists, activists, researchers, and ordinary citizens living in repressive places.

Eric LynnSenior Advisor Secretary of Defense, Policy Office Special Advisor on the Middle East Secretary of Defense

Eric Lynn served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and as Special Advisor on the Middle East in the Policy Office of the Secretary of Defense. He advised three U.S. Secretaries of Defense (Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel) at the Pentagon, as well as the Undersecretaries for Policy, focusing on National Security and a range of Middle East issues.

Mark SchulmanPublic Opinion Pollster and Co-founder/CEO SRBI

Mark Schulman, Ph.D. is a public opinion pollster and was co-founder/CEO of one of the

Emmanuel CerfVice President of Sales and Marketing for Polypack, Inc.

Born in France, Emmanuel moved to St. Petersburg, Florida with his family when he was 12 years old. Living in Florida a love for tennis and sailing quickly developed. Emmanuel remains enthusiastically involved in both sports as he looks forward to competing in international catamaran racing for many years to come. Emmanuel eventually went on to get a degree from the University of Florida, Go Gators! And today, Emmanuel and Montserrat Cerf, are active supporters of the local art and philanthropy community in Tampa Bay.

Marcia CohenLegal Counsel to the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Marcia S. Cohen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Roosevelt University of Chicago, a Masters degree in Music Composition from Northwestern University, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1984. Since becoming a member of The Florida Bar, she has practiced almost exclusively in the area of labor and employment law with a concentration in employment discrimination and sexual harassment, and has the distinction of having had a successful case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Cohen currently serves as Legal Counsel to the National Organization for Women (NOW).