The 2019 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs was a huge success. The 3-1/2 Day event at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg drew hundreds of people to over 30 Panel Discussions. Speakers and panelists included distinguished diplomats, military, media, and academic experts discussing critical international issues of the day. Stay tuned for details about the 2020 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs scheduled for February 18 - 21, 2020.
Our Speakers
Each year the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs continues to improve the quantity and caliber of our high-profile panelists. 2019 was no exception. With over 30 Panel Discussions, the 2019 Conference featured speakers and panelists of intelligence officials, diplomats, media and academic experts for 3-1/2 days of discussions about critical international issues.
Laura ReileyRestaurant Critic, Author, Multiple Award Nominee and Paul Hansell Award Winner

Laura Reiley is the Tampa Bay Times' restaurant critic and a former critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Baltimore Sun. She is the author of four books in the Moon Handbook series: Florida Gulf Coast; Walt Disney World and Orlando; Tampa and St. Petersburg; and the Paradise Coast. She has cooked professionally and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. In 2017 she was a Pulitzer and James Beard finalist and won the Paul Hansell Award for Distinguished Achievement in Florida Journalism.

Michael BurchProfessor of Political Science

Michael Burch (Ph.D. in Political Science, University of Colorado at Boulder; M.A. in Security Policy, George Washington University) currently teaches at Eckerd College, emphasizing the role of rebel and criminal actors in shaping globalization with a focus on the Middle East and Africa. Recent publications examine how rebel groups fund conflict and how the international community decides to support rebel groups during civil war. He is currently researching the use of violence against journalists and also why certain communities engage in xenophobic violence in sub-Saharan Africa. Before working at Eckerd, he taught at Wabash College, worked in Washington, DC and completed fieldwork in Ghana, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Robert WhiteheadFormer Ambassador

Ambassador Robert E. Whitehead retired in December, 2016 after a 33-year career in the United States Department of State. His final posting was U.S. Ambassador to the Togolese Republic. Prior to that he served as Chief of Mission/Charge d'affaires in Khartoum, Republic of Sudan from 2009-2012 and as the first U.S. Consul General in Juba, South Sudan in 2006. During his career. Whitehead served in an array of positions in mostly African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (then called Zaire), Zambia and Zimbabwe. He undertook assignments of varying length in four other Central Africa countries, including a period as Charge in Kigali, Rwanda in 1994 after the civil war.

Don ChambersProfessor of Physical Oceanography

Dr. Don P. Chambers is a Professor of Physical Oceanography at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of sea level science. He specializes in using satellite observations to understand the mechanisms driving sea level change, both globally and regionally. He served as a Lead Author on the 5th Climate Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in September 2013 and is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Joannie BewaPhysician, Fulbright Scholar at USF College of Public Health

Joannie Marlene BEWA is a physician, and an international expert in public health from Benin Republic. She is currently enrolled as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, specializing in public maternal and child health.

Andrew HanoHematologist/Medical Oncologist

Dr. Hano is a hematologist/medical oncologist having practiced in Pinellas County, Florida for 32 years and retiring in 2015. He has served as an associate medical director with Hospice of the Florida Suncoast for 10 years and was on the board of the American Cancer Society, Pinellas chapter. He served on the staff of several local hospitals, including being Chief of Medicine and Chief of Staff at Largo Medical Center Hospital. He belongs to the Pinellas County Osteopathic Medical Society, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, American College of Osteopathic Internists, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and, more recently, the American Association of Cannabis Medicine.

Hosted in Beautiful
St. Petersburg, FL