Published: March 1, 2017 By

hands and world illustration

Last April CU Boulder served as a hub for deep discussion about ISIS, climate, the election and happiness.

Oh, and also of wine, self-driving cars and the apocalypse.

Smart conversation about the stimulating, complex world we live in is the hallmark of CU Boulder’s annual Conference on World Affairs (CWA), scheduled this year for April 10-14. Dava Newman, NASA’s deputy administrator, will serve as keynote speaker.

Other notable panelists include former NFL player Chris Borland, labeled “the most dangerous man in football” by ESPN for his outspoken concern about football-related brain injuries, and Ellie Shaffer, who oversaw more than 1,500 events in the White House as a presidential special assistant.

Kimbal Musk, owner of Colorado’s The Kitchen restaurants (and brother of Space-X’s Elon Musk), will participate, as will prominent CU Boulder alumni. Vicki Huddleston (A&S’64), a retired ambassador to Mali and Madagascar, Chris Lehnertz (EPOBio’85), superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, and Ty Tashiro (Psych’96), author of The Science of Happily Ever After, all will serve on panels.

The full roster includes about 100 speakers and 200 sessions. In keeping with tradition, speakers will find their own way to Boulder and stay in local homes.

“This 69th year of the CWA will feature yet another week of impressive and engaging free events,” said CWA faculty director John Griffin. “Our all-volunteer program committee has been preparing an exciting schedule — addressing the central issues of our time with outstanding speakers from around the world.”

The conference is free and open to all. Nearly half the panels and talks will be live-streamed at

As the late film critic Roger Ebert said of the CWA, it’s “one of the most remarkable events in America.”

The Koenig Alumni Center will host a free CWA brunch for CU Boulder alumni Tuesday, April 11. More information can be found at Find out more information about the CWA at and see the schedule here

Illustration by Curtis Parker