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Stephanie Rudy,Â? who works on the Conference on World Affairs' housing committee, has opened her Boulder home to guests for many years.
Cliff Grassmick
Stephanie Rudy,Â? who works on the Conference on World Affairs’ housing committee, has opened her Boulder home to guests for many years.

BOULDER, Colo. –

Sex expert Evelyn Resh typically charges between $5,000 and $7,000 to speak at conferences.

But the certified sexuality counselor will pay her own airfare to Boulder, stay at a friend’s house and eagerly speak for free on panels at this year’s Conference on World Affairs.

The funding scheme of the annual conference presents a multimillion-dollar mystery: Organizers ask high-profile speakers to come to the University of Colorado campus â with the caveat that they must pay their own airfare, stay at a Boulder family’s home and forego their often-hefty honorariums.

And year after year, panelists clamor for the opportunity to come back.

The event would cost $2 million if conference organizers paid panelists their going speaking rates, put them up in local hotels, reimbursed their travel and hired a fleet of organizers, according to a CWA analysis.

But the university this year will spend just $165,000 for the extravaganza, with most of the money going toward office supplies and to pay some staff. The conference, which runs from April 6-10, relies heavily on volunteers to shuttle panelists to the airport, cook them breakfast and moderate panels.

It also relies on panelists’ enthusiasm for a week of debate in the shadows of the Flatirons.

Ilina Datkhaeva, a spokeswoman for the conference, said it’s initially difficult to convince panelists to donate their time and pay their own way.

“It takes a year,” she said. “Once they come out for one year, they beg us to come back.”

This will be sex expert Resh’s fifth year participating on panels alongside an eclectic mix of academics and artists, pundits and politicians, storytellers and scientists. Her line-up this spring includes discussions on coddled kids and their overprotective parents, universal health care and alternative family structures.

And she can’t wait.

“This is out of love,” she said. “There’s no question.”

On a ‘shoestring’ budget

CU student Madeleine Tengler’s description of her work for the conference sounds like the set-up for a joke: “So, one year, I had a full car. There was an international businessman. A politician. And a fiction writer.”

And Tengler, an international affairs major, was the airport chauffeur.

“It was probably one of the most interesting car rides of my life,” she said recalling the excited banter of racing minds as she drove her passengers from Denver International Airport.

Tengler is the coordinator of student volunteers, who recruit guests and brainstorm panel topics that appeal to young people. The reward for their labors is the chance to have the kinds of stimulating car-rides that Tengler still remembers.

Conference director Jim Palmer said the annual event can only happen because of those enthusiastic volunteers, who every year donate thousands of hours of their time. It’s because of their efforts that more than 80,000 people will come to the campus for nearly 200 panels, a jazz concert and “Cinema Interruptus,” an annual event with celebrity film critic Roger Ebert.

All events are free and open to the public.

“There really is nothing like the Conference on World Affairs,” Palmer said. “The Conference on World Affairs is a million-dollar conference that is basically run on a shoestring.”

Conference organizers say the event’s modest funding model deserves attention, especially during a recession. And, yes, the global economic crisis will be the focus of at least 10 events this year. Panel discussions and plenary addresses include, “Are We Stimulated Yet?” “What the Economic Crisis Has Taught Us” and “The Economy: Nightmare for the Next Generation.”

Boulder’s intellectual inns

Every year, about 100 Boulder residents volunteer to open up their homes to panelists, agreeing to put up guests who could range from an Irish storyteller, the chairman of the Communist Party USA or a New York Times reporter.

The volunteer hosts serve as Boulder ambassadors, showing the stars more than they’d discover if they were lodged in a hotel, said Stephanie Rudy, who works on the conference’s housing committee.

Over the years, Rudy has housed many guests, including repeat-visitor Leonard Shlain, an author and surgeon. She remembers stimulating conversations about Shlain’s latest book and worldly topics as the two started their days at 5:30 a.m. with breakfast and the New York Times.

“You really get to know the people that you house, especially if you’ve have had them stay at your house for more than one year,” she said.

Arranging inns for the intellectuals can be an entertaining exercise. It’s hard to find arrangements in Boulder for panelists who smoke or are allergic to animals, Rudy said.

Scientists like to hosts scientists. Sometimes, a piano in a living room makes an obvious match for a musician. And it’s always fun to put a conservative with a liberal.

But the guests’ housing arrangements are kept confidential.

“The housers don’t want groupies outside of the door,” Rudy said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or

Conference on World Affairs (CWA)

Conference on World Affairs

The 61st annual Conference on World Affairs runs Monday through Friday on the University of Colorado campus.

For more news on the CWA, see’s Special Section and Archive.

For a full schedule of events and participant bios, visit

Archived comments

I bet anyone would have rather heard Eliot Spitzer’s call girl than the sex therapist.

She commands fees of 5-7K and is coming to the Mental Hospital of Boulder for free?

Should we laugh now or later?Or cry that such a lack of intellectualism exists in Boulder?

The Daily Camera sinking to such journalism is beyond disgusting.Another reader lost.

Sexuality doesn’t exist to make money.The Daily Camera is officially “in the business.”


3/28/2009 11:16:47 PM

certified sexuality counselor?


if the photo says anything, counsel me with the lights off ….

…and please make it brief


3/29/2009 12:40:13 AM

Be fun to sit in and watch them drink urine.


3/29/2009 1:44:15 AM

“This will be sex expert Resh’s fifth year participating on panels alongside an eclectic mix of academics and artists, pundits and politicians, storytellers and scientists. Her line-up this spring includes discussions on coddled kids and their overprotective parents, universal health care and alternative family structures.”

Why would someone go listen to a “sex expert” give a talk on coddled kids and their overprotective parents?


3/29/2009 4:24:30 AM

An even better question is, why would anyone listen to a “sex expert” talk about universal health care?


3/29/2009 6:59:25 AM

CWA is a free resource for the entire community — why that inspires y’all to snark all over it in as nasty a way as possible is a mystery.Please, get outside, enjoy this beautiful place, and try to be kind to your fellow human, who, while definitely imperfect, is most likely a whole lot less imperfect than you.


3/29/2009 7:16:34 AM

See Evelyn Resh’s bio below.Perhaps the degree in Psychology and the book about teen-age girls qualifies her to talk about coddled kids/parents and perhaps the undergraduate degree in nursing and the Master’s Degree in public health qualifies her to talk about health care.

Evelyn K. Resh, CNM, MPH, is the director of Sexual Health Services at Canyon Ranch. She is also in practice as a certified nurse-midwife and sexuality counselor and has worked in the field of women’s health for over 20 years.

Resh holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and nursing in addition to her masters of public health degree. She practices integrative midwifery and gynecology with women of all ages and lecturers frequently throughout the nation on the topics of women’s health and sexual satisfaction. She takes a fresh, lively approach to sexuality and the spiritual aspects of sexual fulfillment at any age. Her first publication, The Secret Life of Teen Girls, will be released in the fall of 2009. The book is intended for women of all ages and parents of teenage girls.

Resh is warm, good-humored, and very open about sex and sensuality. She has a talent for making others feel comfortable with often hard-to-discuss subjects.


3/29/2009 8:11:02 AM

Hey DC staff- on the front page of the website where this article is featured, the paragraph “But the certified sexuality counselor… Conference on World Affairs” appears twice in a row.

3/29/2009 9:11:27 AM

Dear sexpert….So I have a friend that likes ______and_______ with _______.Should I be worried, can this cause any long term damage?What are the benefits if any?


3/29/2009 10:24:52 AM

I heard she is staying in Ward Churchill’s tee pee.


3/29/2009 10:36:32 AM

I am looking forward to the Conference on World Affairs. Guest speakers and visitors come from all over the country and the world for CWA and we are lucky to have it in our town.

Bravo to everyone who contributes to CWA!


3/29/2009 10:52:17 AM

Bravo for the annual self-aggrandizing liberal love fest!

Oh, doesn’t it feel all warm and fuzzy?!

The CWA has become a running joke.

Kind of like an ‘academy awards’ show for other like-minded lemmings to have ‘free and open debate’ about little or nothing.

Liberalism is a mental disorder.


3/29/2009 11:14:51 AM

Thanks but no thanks.I’ll continue using CraigsList’s erotic services ads to learn about self-aggrandizing liberal love and who I am.

I think Brigham Young, the Morman leader, said it best: “I don’t care how you bring-em as long as you Brigham Young.”

But this sounds like just the ticket for Dr_Johnson’s type.


3/29/2009 12:23:08 PM

Stephanie Rudy: You look great in jeans!


3/29/2009 2:25:34 PM

i find it incredibly reasssuring that

resh, the certified sex counselor, is “very open about sex and sensuality” —

really good to hear


3/29/2009 3:22:21 PM

Instead of pretending to be better than everyone else, why don’t you try to get someone invited to the Conference who will represent your brand of “intellectualism” and to prevent it from becoming a “self-aggrandizing liberal love fest!”

We work really hard to get diverse views on every panel.Many of the conservatives that we invite simply won’t come because we don’t pay them.Perhaps you could persuade them?

You might try checking it out before you judge, too.Chuck Hagel (Former Republican Senator from Neb.) is the Keynote, and you might also like to hear what people like Daniel Odescalchi, Robert G. Kaufman, Michael Franc, Val Koromzay, Deirdre McCloskey, and Robert George have to say.

It’s awfully easy to sit on the side and hide behind your screennames.Why don’t you get up and do some real work?

3/29/2009 8:48:50 PM

Next weeks CWA will be my first and I’m really looking forward to it. Coming from Virginia, the program looks huge and extremely diverse. I thought I had made all my selections, but the sex therapist is generating so much discussion maybe I will go and see what she has to say. Whatever I decide, it will keep this ultra conservative thinkingal thinking…..and learning. Isn’t that, after all, the purpose of the conference?


3/30/2009 12:13:24 PM

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