Conference on World Affairs

A forum on international affairs since 1948, the Conference on World Affairs is hosted annually at the University of C.U. campus and encompasses the arts, media, science, diplomacy, technology, environment, spirituality, politics, business, medicine, human rights, and more.


Sips from the Fire Hose: Distilled #CWA2015


My 2015 CWA attendance draws to a close–and before hearing reflections of 30 high school students tomorrow in Socratic Seminar, these are several of my first “sips,” distilled from reflecting on a number of panelists’ views. Over the next several days I’ll share others.

•Every voice is crucial. The eye cannot say to the foot, “I don’t need you.” Yay for having Robert Kaufman and Jim Smith and Valerie Wilson speak together…rich paradox, not comfortable, but Essential.
•”Friend your mom before you apply for jobs–she’ll clean up your page.” (John Smith) •Learn a language, get a passport, travel-it builds cultural intelligence and common sense. (Whole panel.) •If you want entrepreneurial funding, go West. Eastern establishment is a much harder sell. (Andrew Safir.) •Having your résumé sent via personal connection gets you much farther in the paper pile sorting.
•Understand what matters to organization to which you apply–ask them why they do what they do & see how your expertise can help.
•Synthesize vs. summarize with information.
•Whatever the work, “Own the outcome.” I am responsible. If things don’t turn out how I’d hoped, what can I learn? How can I do things differently? (Nina Richardson, former GoPro COO) (Kick-Ass Career Advice) :)

•We won’t know for at least six months after a nuclear agreement with Iran the nature of Iran’s intentions–we must look at follow-up behaviors, but musn’t we start somewhere?” (Jim Smith + Valerie Plame Wilson) •Can we afford to use force without understanding the I intended consequences of that use of force? (Jim Smith) •What are the stakes if Iran destabilizes the region further? Can we afford to believe that President Ruhani is sincere? The price tag is huge. (Robert Kaufman paraphrased) • Military service in U.S. Should be compulsory so that the public knows what it’s like to serve, be in harm’s way, what it takes to honor and heal our returning soldiers. (FYI: Thailand requires compulsory military service and at least one day’s service as a monk if all of it’s young men.) •Why can’t we have sacred circles of healing for our returning warriors? (Why is there such a dichotomy between being “mission ready” and acknowledging fear? Doesn’t this create a culture deeply resistant to healing? Isn’t it more psychologically whole to encourage embracing the real–me) Media must show the whole truth and not just sanitized version. Media has responsibility to tell the truth, so that public knows and supports those it sends/we send to harm’s way. We are responsible as a society.

(Malcolm Gibson)


Sipping from the Fire Hose #CWA2015


When South Boulder Creek jumped its banks last year there were just too many acre feet of rain to stay put. That’s how my brain feels after the deluge of:

The Globalization of Terror
In a Single Garment of Destiny
Gays Saved Marriage
Song making
Kick Ass Career Advice
Science Ethics: Means & Ends
Tuesday’s Jazz Concert
Negotiating Nukes with Iran
Lessons Not Learned in School
Performance: Art & Social Change

Wrangling with essential, complex questions, feelings, and conflicts about U.S. & international political issues, I am deeply grateful to end each conference day with the solace of cultivated beauty shared. Thank you, panelists, ALL, for your courage and willingness to come, to speak, to listen, to dare to live and give in ways that are uniquely yours. We need all the voices, all the knowledge and all the distilled wisdom. May we have the courage to sip and hydrate from the fire hose, not very comfortable….

Leanne Soucek

Thoughts on the CWA by Leanne Soucek


I’m on the elliptical at the gym, pondering the heart-nourishing, mind-sharpening experience of the first day of CWA 2015. After the emotional gravitas of hearing The Globalization of Terror and A Single Garment of Destiny, wondering anew what I can do personally, how I can help my students use their hearts, minds, skills to build inter-cultural bridges of understanding, respect and trust, I had the additional privilege to end my day with the experience of the having slogan sported for years on my car’s rear bumper: “Peace Through Music.”

Moderated by Boulder’s beloved Rebecca Folsom, the songwriters’ panel in UMC 235 wasn’t so much a “panel,” as it was a jazz quartet, with melody, solos, improvisation, interpretations and queries on heart-themes…simply beautiful. The tenderness of the communication between David Wilcox, Lillian Boutte, Tanya Ellsworth Boutte, Rebecca Folsom, a young rapper and the audience served as a model to me: this is what I, we, can do…the illustrious panel welcomed a one-minute open to healing performed acapella by the brave audience member. I left feeling strengthened, nourished, hopeful, ready to try again to love…

Quoting Leonard Bernstein after the shocking news of JFK’s assassination: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

by: Leanne Soucek and Students at the #CWA2015


Gays Saved Marriage Panel


David Bender, Tina Dupuy, Joel Gallant, Malcolm Gibson

Moderator: Fintan Steele

Macky Auditorium is only 1/5 full. Seems to me like a much younger audience.

Joel Gallant:

36 states now have legalized same-sex
Marriage, even Alabama.

53% if Americans approve if LGBTQ
42% approve of Evangelical Christians.

Greater marriage stability in “blue states.”

Same-sex marriage fight has made people think about the importance if marriage.

Brangelina said they wouldn’t get married until gays could.

David Bender:

Props to Leonard Pitts for amazing talk on civil rights…proud to follow him.

Back in 80s politicians wouldn’t even take $ from “gay community.” No alphabet-delineated group of people Organized with rights… However, if you study history, you.’ll see that “rights” are fragile if we take rights for granted… Such as the right to have an abortion , where women in some areas must drive to Colorado to obtain an abortion.

Evangelical Christians comprise a huge % of caucus voters who will determine Republican nominee… Same-sex marriage laws could be easily up for grabs…

Antonin Scalia has a fundamental belief that does bit support same-sex marriage. Everything that happens now going forward re same-sex marriage isn’t guaranteed-worth fighting for-keep fighting.

Tina Dupuy:

“I am from first generation if women who didn’t have to get married…women from my generation couldn’t be ‘raped’ by her husband.”

I had no interest in getting married…but gays came out with strong case for “partnership, a contract with the state declaring their love” + 138 tangible benefits with the state. Now women aren’t property but partners.

Gay activism has decriminalized sex. :). Thank a homo because they stood up! This improved the way straight people do it, thank a homo. They literally died for our sins.”

Uganda & Kansas

Malcolm Gibson

“Geography of issue may have resulted in my being on this panel.”

At U Kansas, becuase of youth of population there simply wasn’t discrimination that Malcolm saw or experienced.

However, Malcolm agrees with David Bender that rights must be protected and fostered.


Does U.S. Have a role in support of same-sex rights around the world?

David Bender (first things first; support even more fundamental human rights ). Jimmy Carter tried to lead by example in promoting human rights. Our cultural images that go out to the world do lead by example… We should export them daily by Instagram, etc..,

Malcolm-use voting to change power structure in Uganda. President there uses gay issue to distract from 70%. Youth unemployment. Ugandans are being pushed by U.S. Evangelical Christians.

Tina-”We are not a leader in human rights with two million people priding for non-violent crimes…”

?: to what do you attribute rapidity if social change?

Tina/G.L.A.D had a big impact in visualizing, helping people to realize we all knew gay people. Pictures = the mirror…

Malcolm: South Africa (ironically) chose as their first broadcast tv show The Cosby Show!!

About the Supreme Court vote regarding same sex marriage this summer???

Malcolm, thinks 20 years from now we will look back and say, “what the hell were we worried about?”

Can there be a GGSA @ Oral Roberts?

Tina- Mormons changed their views in marriage, allowing blacks into the church, and at the end if the day, religious leaders are politicians …

Andy, a Catalyst student, “Do celebrities impact acceptance of non-dominant sexuality?”

Neil Patrick Harris

Yes… These change how we see ourselves.

by: Leanne Soucek and Students at the #CWA2015

Leonard Pitts

Leonard Pitts talk


Americans think “problem solved” because we are ruled by a black president named Obama and a black queen named Oprah.

He opened with a joke about one white street group with a bat and one black street group with a bat: Which is the baseball team and which is the street gang?

Whoopi claims New York, not African-American.

JFK was Irish, formerly not considered white…

Race isn’t fixed and immutable… Blonde-hair & blue eyes no not = “white,” necessarily. Walter White, head of NAACP, blonde-blue-eyed, was not “white.”

Race & new ethnicity are stupid ideas…meaningless, but seething with meaning:health, income, employment, history, making us who we are…race is our invention, only a few hundred years old…

Define race??? What does black mean?
What does white mean?

Europeans didn’t see themselves as white, but as members of their countries…

European Slavery began in North America with indentured servitude of fellow-Europeans

Later Songhai, Mandinkans, Tuaregs, became seen as black, as Negros because They were enslaved…

Not only blacks get victimized. White underclass “at least has their whiteness.”

Historically, white was something immigrants earned by abandoning cultural identifiers…languages…

Example given of a Jew who exhorted his cousin to let the got in teach him how to treat the Schwartzes…

Racial divisions between newest immigrant groups with older ones kept people from aligning. And if they stepped out if line, their jobs would be given to African Americans.

9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina — aid given and power restored only to “blood relatives.”

“Weapons of mass distraction… “Chuck D of Public Enemy… = boogeyman, threats, such as a 17 year old boy in a hoodie, or gay couple or Muslims or undocumented immigrants vs. predatory lending practices that cost people homes, schools that yield unprepared youth, an over-stressed military, or…

Black is still separate from American

It is past time that we are oblivious to being tied together in a single garment of destiny… In this interconnection. Are we destined to ONLY share the separation, the ways we are superficially different vs the bone deep, soul deep wYs we are all human…

(Power running out )

Leonard challenges us to seek common cause… Injustice anywhere = threat to everyone everywhere…we are tied together in a single garment of destiny…

We can avert our eyes from lessons if Trayvon and Eric Garner and Ferguson or we can give a damn…

I am looking at you…

You are looking at me… What do you see?

Leonard Pitts Isn’t concerned about ravening sheet-clad racists, but the majority of whites who let systemic racism go on without doing anything about it..,

Do You Think That fear of black men would go away if we socially took Responsibility for slavery?

Why haven’t we had an economic & social revolution?


Student responses to globalization of terror



Use globalization

“Joanne Huskey talked about being in the EMBASSY bombing, she and her kids were in the basement and her husband was on the 4th floor. Everyone on the middle floors was killed. She strongly suggested using globalization against terrorism building understanding and connections with people of other cultures.” Erin, Sophomore from Catalyst HS

“Does it really help a situation to talk to an enemy, or does it make it worse? I tried to talk to a bully who was messing with me, and it turned out to be ten times worse.” (Student)

by: Leanne Soucek and Students at the #CWA2015


Mind-blower #CWA2015


As I stood in line to thank Joanne Huskey, I had the opportunity to visit with someone in line (since I didn’t ask his permission, not saying his name or position). He, too, had survived in the ’98 US Embassy bombing. I am humbled and praying for the safety of a child who is now working in Kenya…how do we create respect and trust? How do we release fear????

by: Leanne Soucek and Students at the #CWA2015


Conclusion #CWA2015


What is manageable degree of risk? Economy of security? Terrorists are winning because of money spent…

by: Leanne Soucek and Students at the #CWA2015


Student Questions #CWA2015


What is Rupert Murdoch’s role in world problems?

Because of how money runs media today, the few big dogs like Murdoch & Ted Turner have huge impact — we can invite them to CWA, but Rupert might not pay his own way and stay in someone’s guest room …

Question: to Muslim Community-would it be possible to have ten Imams from around the world to get up and present ten different views on terrorism?

Joanne-efforts occurring already between Unitarians and Muslims.

Jay Parker-must come from outside if U.S.

Malou- She would like to see it come from within Muslim community.

Joanne and husband gave kids choice to go overseas again, rather than not travel for “security” needs…kids said they wanted to learn about the world. ,)

by: Leanne Soucek and Students at the #CWA2015

Joanne Grady Huskey

Joanne Huskey #CWA2015


Media is culpable in creating us vs them..instead of responding after every incident …

Joanne asked moderator, Paul Voakes, how media could be more helpful. Paul said media would have to broaden from just appealing to sensational emotions to help broaden world awareness.

Student: Where do roots of all problems in Middle East start?

by: Leanne Soucek and Students at the #CWA2015Leanne Soucek and Students at the #CWA2015

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