The 2019 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs was a huge success. The 3-1/2 Day event at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg drew hundreds of people to over 30 Panel Discussions. Speakers and panelists included distinguished diplomats, military, media, and academic experts discussing critical international issues of the day. Stay tuned for details about the 2020 St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs scheduled for February 18 - 21, 2020.
Our Speakers
Each year the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs continues to improve the quantity and caliber of our high-profile panelists. 2019 was no exception. With over 30 Panel Discussions, the 2019 Conference featured speakers and panelists of intelligence officials, diplomats, media and academic experts for 3-1/2 days of discussions about critical international issues.
Lariana ForsytheInterim CEO

Lariana Forsythe joined CASA as its Interim CEO on June 5, 2017. (Interim status is a temporary designation being used while Florida Administrative Rule requirements are completed.) She has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience with the Boys & Girls Clubs, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Special Olympics. Ms. Forsythe has held a variety of roles within these organizations, most recently serving as the VP/CDO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix.

Angie McCourtvice president, transformation management office

Angie McCourt is vice president, transformation management office, Americas. In this role she is responsible for leading the organization through a transformation initiative. She previously served as vice president, Cisco Solutions Group, at Tech Data since September 2010. In that role, she led the company's dedicated team of sales, marketing and technical professionals in support of all Cisco solutions available through Tech Data. Under her leadership, Tech Data was recognized and awarded by Cisco for best-in-class partner enablement, innovation, technology enablement and execution.

Kavita MaySenior Vice President, Global Technology Distribution CouncilĀ 

In her role at the Global Technology Distribution Council, Kavita is instrumental in the leadership, strategic direction and operations of this worldwide industry association dedicated to defining and promoting the role of wholesale distribution in a successful and healthy information technology channel. The Council is comprised of the industry's top distributors serving this community of skilled solution providers, Internet resellers and retailers focused on providing hardware, software and services to businesses and consumers around the globe.

Raymond ArsenaultProfessor of Southern History, Author, Editor

Raymond Arsenault is the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, where he has taught since 1980. A specialist in the political, social, environmental, and civil rights history of the American South, he has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, the University of Chicago, the Florida State University Study Abroad Center in London, and the Universite d'Angers, in France, where he was a Fulbright Lecturer in 1984-85. A native of Cape Cod, he was educated at Princeton University and Brandeis University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1981. He served as Associate Director of the Fulbright Commission Summer Institute in American Studies from 1980 to 1988, and he has lectured on American history and culture in a number of countries, including France, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Norway, Iceland, Turkey, Tunisia, and Jordan.

Lynda SchusterJournalist, Reporter

As a former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Lynda Schuster began her career in 1980 in the paper's Dallas bureau, covering agriculture in the Southwest. Soon after, she was named the Central America correspondent, reporting on the wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. In 1983, she became the Journal's Mexico bureau chief.

Orlando Lieutenant Colonel (USAF) (Ret.)

Orlando "Moses" Acosta is a retired career U.S. Air Force officer with 13 years serving at 4-star command headquarters: U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, Florida, and the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan. As a combat officer, he commanded E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and ground radar station missions supporting multi-national humanitarian assistance, surveillance, and combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, South America, and the U.S. Moses later became the chief advisor to CENTCOM commanders on missile defense strategy, plans, policy, operations, exercises, foreign military sales and international engagement. Collaborating with the Joint Staff, other military Commands, U.S. Embassy staffs, and host nation militaries, Moses helped establish the U.S. missile defense forces and their supporting bi-lateral relationships that exist today in the Arabian Gulf region. Moses spent his last year of active duty first as aide de camp to Commander ISAF, Gen John Allen, helping manage his multi-national headquarters in Kabul; then as a military advisor helping State and USAID foreign service officers work with U.S. and ISAF militaries in transitioning security leadership to the Government of Afghanistan. He thereafter retired and worked at CENTCOM supporting the Commander with strategic plans, information operations, and passive defense initiatives.

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