Save the date! Next Conference February 23 – 26, 2021
8th Annual Conference February 18 – 21, 2020
Join us for the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs! This year’s 3-1/2 day event begins with a Keynote Address at the Palladium, 5:00 pm Feb. 18, and ends with a Closing Address at Fox Hall - Eckerd College, 7:00 pm Feb. 21. Panel Discussions are daily 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Feb. 19 – 21 at University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) Student Center and Kate Tiedemann College of Business. Admission is free and open to the public.
Expand Your World View………. Further!
The success of the Saint Petersburg Conference on World Affairs inspired Mayor Rick Kriseman last year to proclaim the creation of St Petersburg International Week to run concurrently with the conference. During the week of Feb 17 – 21 we will be offering additional activities in support of our program, including various international culinary and artistic events.
Speakers for 2020 Conference
Each year the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs continues to improve the quantity and caliber of our high-profile panelists. Here is a peek at some of them.
Ken YamashitaExecutive Mentor and Coach for the U.S Agency for International Development

Since his retirement from the federal government in December 2016, Dr. Yamashita has been serving as an Executive Mentor and Coach for the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID). In this capacity he has travelled to various USAID Missions in Latin America, providing support to senior managers and the staff on matters ranging from leadership skills, strategic direction, and engagement with other U.S. government agencies, such as the State Department. During his over 25 year career, Yamashita served as a USAID Foreign Service Officer, attaining the rank of Career Minister, the highest rank in the Senior Foreign Service at USAID. Immediately prior to his retirement, Yamashita served as a White House Senior Executive Service Appointee as the Associate Director for Global Operations at Peace Corps. In this role, Yamashita was responsible for all operational aspects of Peace Corps programs and offices in over 60 countries supporting over 7,000 volunteers. Prior to this appointment, Yamashita was the U.S. State Department Coordinator for Economic Assistance, Rule of Law and Law Enforcement at Embassy/Kabul. In this Ambassador-rank position, Yamashita directed policy and operational coordination across 13 US Departments, Agencies, and Offices operating in Afghanistan on matters related to economic and development assistance, law enforcement, and rule of law. He was the principal point of contact for NATO and US military assistance in Afghanistan. Yamashita is one of the few three-time Mission Directors at USAID, having served in Kosovo, Colombia, and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, he was the first Mission Director to serve two consecutive years after USAID re-started its operations in 2002. In this role he oversaw the surge in development personnel from 250 to 500 and an annual program budget of over $2.0 billion. He was instrumental in starting the first ever Women’s Empowerment program in Afghanistan and the largest of its kind in USAID worldwide. In Colombia Yamashita was instrumental in starting the first-ever dedicated program for Afro-Colombians and Indigenous Colombians. In South Africa as Director of the Health Office, Yamashita and his team started the USAID’s first HIV/AIDS program for the country. This program and the Regional Corridors program that Yamashita directed were key inputs into the design and creation of the PEPFAR program. Yamashita brings over 35 years of development experience in policy and field operations across all major regions of the world. In addition to his leadership in policy and program matters, he has been instrumental in inspiring and empowering staff by serving as mentor and coach. He has been recognized for his service and accomplishments, including a Presidential Rank Meritorious Award in 2008.

Pierre GuerlainProfessor

Pierre Guerlain is Professor emeritus of American Studies at Université Paris-Nanterre, France. His fields of research are US foreign policy, US politics and social movements, Discourse Analysis, and Intercultural Studies. Professor Guerlain has done a lot of work on “anti-Americanism” and the image of the US abroad. He has also published a number of articles on social and political movements in the US. Professor Guerlain’s book about the mutual perceptions of the Americans and the French is titled Miroirs transatlantiques: la France et les Etats-Unis entre passions et indifférences. It was published by L’Harmattan in 1996.

Josh CohenStudent in Politics and International & Global Studies with a minor in Social Justice & Social Policy

Josh Cohen is a senior at Brandeis University majoring in Politics and International & Global Studies with a minor in Social Justice & Social Policy. During the past Spring semester, Josh studied in Geneva, Switzerland and interned with the Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR-Centre). CCPR-Centre is an organization that works closely with the UN Human Rights Committee and NGO’s that wish to participate in a specific country’s review process when they send delegations to a session of the Committee. The organization aids the NGO’s in putting together their report to be presented before the Committee, sometimes helping them organize private briefings with Committee members before a country’s delegation presents their report. After the session, CCPR-Centre aids the Committee and the NGO organize a post-session reviewal trip to the country in question, meeting with state officials and viewing human rights situations and requested improvements first-hand to ensure that the state is complying with the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. Josh’s role with the CCPR-Centre included taking notes of the Committee’s activities, tweeting about them during the session to the CCPR-Centre’s Twitter, and summarizing the Committee's discussions and their Concluding Observations to be posted to the CCPR-Centre’s website. Josh has also worked for the National Organization for Women and the Office of State Representative Ben Diamond (FL-68). Josh is a native of the Tampa Bay area and an avid Tampa Bay Rays fan.

Nickolas BruetschHouse commander and team leader with ALTHEA

Mr. Bruetsch brings wide ranging experience working both with the European and Swiss military as well as the private sector. In his most recent role, he served as a House commander and team leader with ALTHEA, the European Union military peacekeeping mission in Bosnia & Herzegovina. While serving in Bosnia, Mr. Bruetsch was responsible for operational leadership and development of reports for his area.

Ronald Grigor SunyProfessor of History and Political Science

Ronald Grigor Suny is the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago, and Senior Researcher at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The grandson of the composer and ethnomusicologist Grikor Mirzaian Suni and a graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University, he taught at Oberlin College (1968-1981), as visiting professor of history at the University of California, Irvine (1987), and Stanford University (1995-1996). He was the first holder of the Alex Manoogian Chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of Michigan (1981-1995), where he founded and directed the Armenian Studies Program. He was Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and Political History at the University of Michigan from 2005 to 2015 and director of the Eisenberg Institute of Historical Studies from 2009 to 2012.

Brittany Maxey-FisherPatent Attorney

Brittany J. Maxey-Fisher belongs to the firm Maxey-Fisher PLLC. Brittany manages the firm’s intellectual property practice. In addition to managing the day-to-day aspects of the firm, Brittany has gained extensive experience in counseling clients in a wide range of intellectual property issues. Her practice includes representing clients in patent, trademark, trade dress, and copyright matters, including domestic and international trademark protection, intellectual property licensing and agreements, and technology transactions. Brittany has state and federal litigation experience in connection with patents, trademarks, and copyrights. She also has an extensive practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Patent Trial Appeal Board and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Brittany received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science in 2001 from the University of Mississippi and her J.D. in 2007 from Stetson College of Law.