Conference on World Affairs

The University of Colorado is an incredibly unique place. Far beyond the beautiful landscape and weather, the school offers countless opportunities for growth, connection and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. One such opportunity is the Conference on World Affairs (CWA).

CWA is a five-day long ideas festival hosted by the University of Colorado. The event was founded in 1948 as a forum on international affairs, and it still holds true to those roots. However, the modern CWA stretches far beyond that, the conference offers events all year long, as well as at the conference, which is traditionally held in early April. The conference consists of expert panels and review on topics ranging from love and spirituality, to health and science, to war and politics. This year, the conference was held April 10-14, bringing in more than 100 expert panelists for over 200 events (including speakers, panels and performances) for about 70,000 attendees.

Like most events through the University of Colorado, CWA is created by the students, for the students. One of those students working tirelessly to bring this festival together is senior Evans Scholar Alex Atwater, who found out about CWA during his first year of college.

“As a freshman, I had a couple of friends who were student volunteer coordinators,” notes Alex. “I was talking to some pretty interesting people, and my friends who were involved, showed me a great deal during that conference my freshman year.”

Ever since then, Alex has been hooked on the unique and awesome festival that is CWA. Now he has two major roles: operating as both the speaker series coordinator, as well as a student volunteer coordinator. Both of these positions keep the current senior incredibly busy all year long.

“As the speaker series coordinator, I am tasked with researching, inviting and coordinating the logistics of distinguished speakers to come speak in class visits, as well as in public lecture.” Although the festival is in early April each year, the speaker series allows CWA to become a year-round entity, and to promote itself and its distinguished guests all year long. These speaker events also function as miniature conferences, to give students and community members alike a taste of what CWA is all about.

Alex’s other role is as a student volunteer coordinator. He says, “I am tasked with being the lead contact for the student committee, and leading initiative on participant research and invitation.” What this means is that he is in charge of delegating volunteer jobs, assigning leadership positions, maintaining communication with the directors of the conference, and helping to manage 100+ other student volunteers during the week of the CWA.

The Conference on World Affairs would not be possible if not for the overwhelming amount of volunteers and support from the University of Colorado student body, and at the end of the day, the event is for the benefit of those students.

Students interested in CWA are highly encouraged to attend and make their voices heard, as students get priority seating as well as priority when asking questions to the panelists. This is to ensure that student voices are heard and that students know their importance in the conference, and in the world.

The CWA events are entirely free to community members and students alike. More information on scheduling and events can be found at