Date ArticleType
2/13/2020 Member News

St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs to Once Again Bring Marketplace of Ideas to Campus

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2020) - Distinguished diplomats, military officials, academic experts, students and thousands of community members will convene for the 2020 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs on the campus of USF St. Petersburg next week to discuss the international issues facing our increasingly globalized society. Now in its eighth year, this event includes daily panel discussions in the University Student Center and Kate Tiedemann College of Business Auditorium from February 19-21. The Conference is free and open to the public.

“The Conference on World Affairs has become a signature event on campus and one of the best opportunities that we have to connect to the community,” said Dr. Thomas Smith, Professor of Political Science and Director of the USFSP Honors Program. “It’s very much a marketplace of ideas.”

The 2020 conference will focus on issues ranging from populism to terrorism and women’s equality to cybersecurity. Speakers will include viewpoints from across the political, social and economic spectrums.

“It’s not just bombs, rockets and traditional diplomacy,” Smith said, “although those are perennial topics of discussion. We cover everything about what it means to live in a global society.”

Panel discussions this year include:

  • Climate Change: Florida at Ground Zero
  • Politics of Infectious Disease
  • Career Diplomats: Deep State or Defenders of the Constitution?
  • Jazz: Born in the USA, Grew Up Everywhere
  • International Business in the Tampa Bay Region – Opportunities and Challenges

Of particular emphasis this year is the representation of cultural works such as books, music and film. The Kate Tiedemann College of Business Auditorium will host the following film viewings:

  • “Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America,” which follows the stories of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East.
  • “Sweet Home Monteverde,” about a group of Quaker war-resisters who left their Alabama home in search of a life of pacifism.
  • “Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber,” which tells the story of a journalist who helped rescue victims of the Holocaust

“The variety of viewpoints and experiences makes the Conference on World Affairs a stimulating learning event dealing with politics, international relations, culture and the arts,” said Pierre Guerlain, a U.S. Foreign Policy expert, Professor Emeritus of American Studies at Université Paris-Nanterre, France and speaker at this year’s conference. “The conference helps us read or view the news and offers different angles to interpret the world. In other words, it is a way to make sense of and maybe overcome the confusion that seems to engulf our world.”

About USF St. Petersburg

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) is a separately accredited, research-active institution. USFSP offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in three colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education. USFSP is recognized for its significant commitment to community involvement and civic engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit