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The Conference

The CWA Program

How it is Built: What makes the Conference on World Affairs unique, is that unlike most conferences that set an agenda and recruit speakers to address those topics, the CWA functions in the opposite manner.  Our Program Committee invites people with the widest range of interests, backgrounds, and occupations and then writes the program mixing and matching the full range of topics our speakers would like to discuss. The result is a week-long program of 200+ lively panel discussions addressing political, social, and policy issues, international affairs, arts, media, business, journalism, and science and technology.

Panel Topics: Most speakers participate in an average of 7 panels over the course of 5 days in and outside of their areas of expertise.  For instance, a scientist with a passion for movies will not only be on scientific panels but might also be on a panel with a film critic. This model allows our speakers to engage with others outside of their professional fields and bring a unique perspective into the conversations.  Our Program Committee will never place our speakers on a panel discussing a topic they have not specified or that their professional biography does not cover. 

Submitting Topics: We ask that you please provide topics you would like to discuss. You can describe the topic in just a few words or provide a sentence or two. The more topics you provide, the wider the variety of panels you will be placed on. If you would like some inspiration, feel free to look at a list of past panel titles.

Submit Topics     Past Panel Titles

The Panels

Your Panel Schedule: Once the Program is completed in March, you will be sent your personal panel schedule. Should you have any questions about your participation in a specific panel, please contact us, our committee is happy to elaborate!

Panel Structure: CWA Panels are 50 to 90 minutes, consist of 3 to 4 speakers and run by one of our local Moderators. Each panelist will be called upon to speak for up to 10 minutes followed by an opportunity to respond to one another. The conversation will then be opened up to audience questions. While our speakers do simple preparation regarding their assigned topics, the sessions are relaxed and informal in tone, without reading prepared speeches, delivering academic papers or using any slide presentations.  The emphasis of a CWA panel is on the live presence and interaction of our speakers with one another and the audience members.

30 Minutes Before Your Panel: In your personal itineraries you will notice 30 minutes prior to every panel is the "Panel Meet and Greet." These meetings will be held next to the CWA Headquarters, in the UMC Room 247. Here you will have an opportunity to meet your co-panelists, panel Moderator, and panel "Producers." Your Moderator and Producer can answer any questions that you may have, discuss preferences of speaking order, and will then lead the group to the panel venue.  

CWA Events

Outside of your scheduled panels, the CWA has organized additional program events through out the week.  You are not required to attend all or any of the events below, but they are designed to enhance your Conference experience.  An overview of the week's schedule can be found in the "Sample Speaker Schedule" below. The details of this year's events will be provided in your personal itineraries.

Sample Speaker Schedule

Sunday Evening: Welcome Dinner opening the Conference 

Monday: Student-hosted Brunch to welcome the speakers, the traditional Procession through the flags, Keynote Address, and Keynote Dinner.

Tuesday: Dinner honoring your Boulder Hosts followed by the traditional CWA Jazz Concert.

Wednesday: Free night to get to know your hosts, meet with friends, or explore Boulder.

Thursday: Celebration Dinner with music and dancing.

Friday: Molly Ivins Memorial Plenary to close the Conference followed by the Closing Dinner.


Airport Transportation

Although the Conference is unable to pay travel expenses, once here, University Student Volunteers provide ground transportation in courtesy vehicles.  Transportation between the Denver International Airport (DIA) and Boulder will be provided Saturday, April 7th through Sunday, April 15th.  

Submit Flight Itineraries

Our student volunteers will meet you in the airport at the Elrey Jeppesen Statue (pictured).  The statue is located in the main hall of the baggage level where the escalators ascend. Look for a smiling face holding a "Conference on World Affairs" sign. The student driver will transport you to the home of your hosts in Boulder. For your flight departures, transportation pick-up times will be confirmed prior to the Conference. 

Should you arrive or depart outside of 4/7 - 4/15 window, transportation to and from Boulder is available through the RTD SkyRide Bus, Green Ride Boulder, or by Uber/Taxi. For transportation between Downtown Denver and Boulder the Flatiron Flyer runs from Denver's Union Station all day.


Virtually all CWA speakers are hosted in private homes close to campus. This unique aspect of CWA lends an intimate, personal feel to the Conference experience. Many of our speakers form lasting friendships with the community members who have hosted them. More details about your accommodations will be available with your itinerary. 

Please note that if you chose to make your own housing arrangements, it may also be necessary for you to coordinate your morning transportation and if outside of Boulder, your own evening transportation. (See CWA Week Transportation for more details) 

CWA Week Transportation

In addition to airport service, our community and student volunteers will provide local transportation to and from CWA events. During the week, a Transportation Desk will be located in the CWA Headquarters and available to coordinate transportation needs. 

Transportation Desk Information

On Weekday Mornings: Your CWA Hosts will transport you to the University Memorial Center (UMC) on the CU Campus.  If you are staying in a hotel or your hosts in Boulder are unable to drive you, please arrange your desired pick up times with the transportation desk the day prior. 

Transportation to Evening Events: For off-campus evening events, our student drivers will take speakers from the UMC directly to the evening functions. As some events are on-campus, please refer to your personal itinerary for each night's transportation plans.

Transportation Home from Events: Transportation will be available to take you home after all events. When you are ready to leave, please visit the event's on-site Transportation Desk. Cars will be coordinated by neighborhood, which will be specified by a color marking on your credential. Unfortunately, if you are staying in non-CWA provided accommodations outside of Boulder, our student drivers will not be able to provide transportation to your home.

If you prefer to stay out in Boulder after the functions, our transportation volunteers can take you to your desired location (ex: Pearl Street), but will not be able to provide further transportation home. Uber is readily available in Boulder. 

Parking on Campus: As parking on campus is difficult, we are unable to provide parking permits for our speakers and encourage you to take advatage of our transportation services.

Exploring Boulder: Should you want to explore Boulder in your downtime, the Boulder City HOP Bus is free to all CWA attendees.  

HOP Map and Information

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Breakfast: In addition to any breakfast you may have in your host home, coffee and a light breakfast will be available in the Speaker Lounge, located on the 4th floor of the UMC. 

Lunch: Lunch will be provided daily from 11:30 - 2:30 in the UMC Aspen Room (located across from the Center Ballroom entrance). The only exception is Monday's lunch, which will be held after the Keynote Address. Your nametags will serve as your Lunch Room credentials.

Dinner: Every night (except for Wednesday - a free night) a CWA dinner has been planned as an opportunity for you to enjoy your stay in Boulder and socialize with your fellow speakers, Conference volunteers, and community members. Details for each night's events will be included in your personal itineraries.