By Cory Waltrip, features editor
The Muslim Revolutions, the climate, WikiLeaks and a panel titled “Nuclear Family Meltdown” — certainly this year’s edition of the Conference of World Affairs packs no less of a punch than in past years. The CWA returns for its 14th year at Boulder High School next Tuesday and Thursday, and as always, there is a buzz filtering through the halls. Perhaps students are deeply interested in the issues in the world right now, or maybe they are excited about missing class. Either way, the CWA is a big deal.
This year’s CWA will be very informative, and many students are excited about the talks.
“I’m excited because it only happens once a year, and no other high schools get to see world-class scholars speak right in your own auditorium,” sophomore Benjamin Brown said.
It has been at times a controversial week ever since conservative Fox News host Bill O’Reilly raised a stink about a panel concerning sex and drugs back in 2007. Last year, BHS hosted a panel on the legalization of medical marijuana called “Medical Marijuana: Opening the Door.” Of course, the auditorium was packed, and the crowd was almost unanimously in favor of the three liberal panelists who supported the legalization. One almost felt bad for the conservative panelist, Prof. Robert G. Kaufman of Pepperdine University, as he was showered with boos for many of his comments.
While this year’s panels may not spark quite the same controversy as years’ past, don’t expect debates to be devoid of arguments and contrasting opinions. The panels are full of interesting speakers from all over the world. On the panel titled, “Climate Strange,” Cambridge grad and MIT teacher Dr. Sanjoy Mahajan will be welcomed. Mahajan has published a book about his philosophy “Street-fighting mathematics.” This book teaches “The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving.”
In the panel named “1001 Arabian Rights: New Liberal Revolutions,” Zulfiqar Ahmad, a native Pakistani, joins the panel as well as Iranian Reza Ramazani. On the WikiLeaks panel, writer Robert Dreyfuss joins an experienced slate with Dan Gillmor, a Walter Kronkite School of Journalism graduate, and Lorelei Kelly, who directs the New Strategic Security Initiative, which educates Americans and elected leaders about security in an interconnected world.
This year language arts teacher Holly Gossard set up panels along with the help of media specialist Becky Vancurra and student groups. Their work is duly appreciated as students will sit back and absorb the knowledge next week in the BHS auditorium.