The Conference on World Affairs is a year-round unit of the University of Colorado Boulder, offering events without admission fees to the Boulder community, students, and the public. Our most popular event is CWA Week, taking place in early April each year. CWA Week is a festival of ideas featuring 200 panels, 100 speakers and performers, over 5 days, attracting more than 70,000 attendees annually. We also offer a CWA Speaker Series where thought leaders in their field join us for a campus visit with an evening discussion open to all.
Each April, a hundred fascinating luminaries from the widest range of backgrounds gather in Boulder for what The New York Times calls "a week-long extravaganza of discussion and debate" on more than 200 sessions over five days. Roger Ebert, who participated in the CWA for four decades, always referred to the CWA as "the Conference on Everything Conceivable." The CWA is made up of vast network of engaged, committed volunteers. Many of the presenters would normally command large speaking or performing fees, but all who appear at the CWA waive honoraria and pay their own way to come to Boulder. University faculty, staff and students work alongside local community members to plan and host the week's public events, as well as the participants' transportation, housing and social functions.
All events are free and open to the public—and attended by students, faculty, staff, alumni, townsfolk, journalists and visitors from around the nation. Audiences at the individual sessions range in size from an intimate 100 to well over 2,000, with a total of about 77,000 at all the events combined.
Students wishing to attend the CWA as audience members are granted priority seating at the time the doors open at each CWA event. Additionally, during the Q&A segments of each session, students are invited to the front of the line to ensure they are able to ask their question. Students serving as volunteers on the CWA planning committee are engaged in every facet of planning and executing Conference week. Graduating CWA students typically cite the Conference on World Affairs as the most satisfying and meaningful experience of their college careers. Lasting friendships, valuable contacts and unique experiences are formed at the CWA.