ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2023) — Distinguished speakers from across the political spectrum and around the world will convene this week at the largest conference on global affairs in the Tampa Bay region.
The 2023 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs will bring together diplomats, military officers, lawyers, activists, journalists and thousands of community members to provide both a global and local perspective on the biggest challenges facing the world. The hybrid conference from February 21-24 will take place on the USF St. Petersburg campus and at Eckerd College, along with a virtual option.
This year, the conference theme explores the many global issues connected to power and empowerment. The war in Ukraine, authoritarianism and empowering women are just some of the topics to be explored and debated.
“Both power and empowerment imbue a lot of the issues happening in the world today and can have positive as well as negative implications,” said Willi Rudowsky, the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs board president. “For each of the talks this year, we will look at the dynamics of power, from those who hold power to those looking to be empowered.”
The conference will kick off at Eckerd College on the evening of February 21 with a keynote address on rethinking American power. The keynote speaker will be retired U.S. Army Colonel Isaiah (Ike) Wilson, who has extensive combat and operation experience and is an internationally-recognized scholar on America’s use of force. His book, “Thinking beyond War: Civil-Miliary Relations and Why America Fails to Win the Peace,” along with his service on the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group increased public awareness on the errors in U.S. post-war planning in Iraq and led to policy reforms.
A myriad of in-depth panel discussions and book talks will follow over the next three days on the USF St. Petersburg campus. Along with delving into the year-long war in Ukraine and hearing about the challenges in empowering women in countries such as Afghanistan and Nepal, discussions will also explore the influence of international sport bodies such as FIFA on politics and the importance of international trade for powering prosperity in the Tampa Bay region.
“We’ve always tried to put together panels of people with distinct backgrounds that don’t necessarily interact often. Getting them to speak to each other produces a kind of magic where you never know how the debate will unfold, but it produces fresh perspectives and a wealth of ideas,” said Thomas Smith, co-founder of the conference and acting campus dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on the USF St. Petersburg campus.
This year’s conference will conclude with a breaking news roundtable at Eckerd College on the evening of February 24, which will cover topics from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria to the Chinese spy balloon incident.
Attendees in Tampa Bay and around the world will still have the option to tune in virtually via the conference’s website. Last year, thousands tuned in virtually, including attendees from 18 different countries, enhancing the conference’s international reach. Those who are unable to attend will still be able to watch recordings of all the panel discussions afterwards, also on the conference’s website.
For more information about the 2023 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs, visit:
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.