Jessica Ryan
Jessica Ryan

Not abroad this semester? Don't worry -- CWA is bringing the world to you.

Next week is my favorite week of the year.

I know what you're thinking -- "But spring break was last week!" Yep, it was... yet despite the joy of doing almost nothing for an entire week, I'm more excited for the days to come. The Conference on World Affairs -- or CWA -- starts next Monday.

CWA is one of Boulder's biggest events, bringing 100 experts from various fields to town, throwing them together, and having them talk about anything and everything -- from nuclear power to flirting.

I've been a committee member and volunteer with the conference for the last few years, and it is a truly amazing experience. We say the conference has been "bringing the world to Boulder" for 64 years -- a phrase that could not be more accurate.

From the subjects of panels to the backgrounds of the Conference's participants, attendees have multiple opportunities to learn more about specific cultures as well as to gain a more global perspective.

If you weren't able to study abroad this semester, take some time next week to see a panel or two (or twenty) -- there's something for everyone. Here are a few with an international twist that I think will be pretty cool.

Latin Music: A Conversation

One of the first panels of the week, it features six world-renowned musicians who are conference favorites. In addition to speaking on this and other panels, these incredible musicians will be performing at Tuesday night's jazz concert -- always a memorable conference event. Monday, 9 a.m., Grusin Music Hall.


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Evolution of a Revolution

Gigi Ibrahim, a 25-year-old activist who attended the American University in Cairo, will be talking about the Egyptian Revolution as well as her role in its progression. Monday, 3 p.m., VAC B120.

Cross-cultural Collaboration in Business

This panel features participants with backgrounds in advertising, science, and the performing arts. One participant, James Tanabe, has experience in... well, everything -- from space plasma physics to Cirque du Soleil. Tuesday, 11 a.m., ATLAS Black Box.

Technology and Growth in the Developing World

If you geek out at the thought of technology (like I do) and want to do awesome things in the world, check out this panel with some truly badass participants -- including Diana Ryall, a former director of Apple's Australia division. Thursday, 5 p.m., UMC East Ballroom.

Surviving as an Artist

Are you about to graduate and sick of people asking you how you plan to do anything with your BFA? Come to this panel to hear artists -- from storytellers to musicians to dancers -- from around the world explain how they survive while still pursuing their passions. Friday, 11 a.m., Old Main.

The Conference on World Affairs is obviously mind-blowingly amazing -- but one of the best parts for students? Unlike most conferences, it's completely free. No registration fees, no invitation required. All you have to do is show up.

You may not have been able to study abroad this semester, but with a host of internationally focused panels and participants from nearly every continent, CWA's got you covered.

Jessica Ryan is a junior media studies major at CU-Boulder. She writes about study abroad experiences once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.