Published: June 4, 2021

The Conference on World Affairs is pleased to announce its programming executive team for the 2021-22 conference year. Laurie Leinonen will continue as CWA Program Committee Chair, working in partnership with Alex Pham, CWA Student Program Chair. The Board created the Student Program Chair position last year in an effort to further enhance student voices in curating the conference.

Betsy Block will serve as the Community Program Vice Chair, supporting the programming leadership. Robin Luff will take over the role of CWA Community Outreach Chair and her appointment will also hold a seat on the CWA board.

  • Laurie Leinonen is a 40 years+ resident of Boulder where her two children were born and raised. Having attended CWA for years, she became involved directly as a volunteer with CWA in 2014 when she joined the Arts Committee, later becoming its Co-Chair from 2016-2019. Her interest in volunteering for CWA has always been about reaching a more diverse community and student population. Laurie focuses on how best we can keep CWA thriving and engaging, whatever the current issues may be.

  • Alexander Pham is a sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder pursuing a degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering, and serves as a member of the Global Engineering Program. Pham is currently the CWA Student Program Chair for the 2021-22 conference year. Apart from CWA, Pham also works in research in HIV vaccination, advocates for improved access to healthcare, and is a volunteer with Children's Hospital Colorado.

  • Betsy BlockAfter retiring in 2013 from a career in women's health, Betsy attended her first CWA. Entralled with the experience, she decided to volunteer. She was warmly welcomed by the Human condition sub-committee and became a co-chair two years later. During the past six years she has loved meeting and working with students and community members, searching for the finest speakers and creating innovative and stimulating panels. She looks forward to meeting new challenges and continuing CWA's tradition of excellence. When not working on CWA, Betsy is passionate about watching and playing tennis, cycling, opera and being with her family, including her two granddaughters.

  • Robin Luff is an Advisory Board member for Watson Institute and is CWA Community Outreach Chair for the Conference on World Affairs. Professionally, Robin had a long career in publishing, working with magazines that focused on sports or health. Robin has also worked in post-conflict countries with programming in Early Childhood Education with a Respecting Differences Curriculum. Over the years, she has served on the board of Impact on Education, Summit Charter School, The Community Foundation, The School Food Project and El Centro Amistad. She worked with Community of Sudanese and American women and hosted Sudanese Refugee, Mary Ingiria, who lived with Robin’s family as Mary she finished her degree at CU. Her team is Kevin, Kerrick and Aidan Luff.

Other new CWA board members are as follows:

  • Elise Miller (Community Seat) - Originally from San Francisco, Elise Miller has been a Boulder resident for over 30 years. She is a University of Colorado, Boulder alumna with a BA in Psychology. She worked in business development, sales and marketing for over 20 years, served as Chair of the Board of Jarrow Montessori, on the Executive Committee for the Parent Council and on the Development Committee at Alexander Dawson School. Elise has been involved in CWA in various capacities, including on the Development Committee, Chair of Keynote Committee and a member of the Business Committee. She is currently pursuing her JD at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law.
  • Benjamin Teitelbaum (Faculty Seat) - Benjamin R. Teitelbaum is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and International Affairs. He earned a Ph.D. from Brown University with auxiliary studies at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm and Harvard University, and a B.M., summa cum lade, in nyckelharpa performance from Bethany College. Prior to coming to the College of Music, he was Instructor and Head of Nordic Studies, also at the University of Colorado Boulder.
  • Yvette Lowney (Community Seat) - Yvette Wieder Lowney is a Boulder native and second generation CWA volunteer. After returning to Boulder in 1989, she re-engaged with CWA, subsequently volunteering as her parenting and professional schedules allowed. Over the last decade, she has volunteered with CWA in many capacities, and now looks forward to bringing that background to her participation on the Board. 

For a complete list of board members and information on the CWA governance structure, visit the CWA Board webpage.