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.
Noel CruzChef

After pursuing a Microbiology degree and Chemistry Minor at the University of Florida, Noel made the decision to look to the hospitality industry as his career of choice. While in college, Noel took his first kitchen job at Saddlebrook Resort and Tennis School in Wesley Chapel, Florida. There he spent his time cooking in the resort's banquet kitchen facilitating thousands of high-quality meals daily.

Fabrizio GugliuzzaLawyer

Fabrizio Gugliuzza is a Lawyer with post-graduate studies in Corporate Law (Universidad Metropolitana - Venezuela), Studying a LL.M. in International Law at Stetson University in Gulfport; Graduated in 2014 as a Lawyer, later came to Tampa to improve his English skills at USF returning to his country afterwards to pursuit a postgraduate study and work. He witnessed the progressive collapse of economy and society by the modern dictatorship stablished in his country, and faced the deterioration of living standards and the oppression of the regime to remain in power, killing and imprisoning innocent people, he collaborated observing past elections and now tries to explain what is happening and find support and help to end the dictatorship with the hope of making possible the future reconstruction of Venezuela.

Jim VerhulstJournalist, Tampa Bay Times

Jim Verhulst edits the op-ed page at the Tampa Bay Times and writes editorials as a member of the editorial board, mostly about science, education, environment and civil rights. He was a 2016 Pulitzer finalist in public service for editorials based on Failure Factories, a series about St. Petersburg schools that were allowed to resegregate, become almost exclusively poor, and then were denied the resources to serve their challenged students. The series went on to win the local reporting Pulitzer for three of the Times' metro reporters. He has contributed on occasion to PolitiFact, the fact-checking website owned by the Poynter Institute, which, in turn, owns the Times.

Wayne GriffithForeign Service Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Wayne Griffith was a career member of the Foreign Service from 1972 to 2002, serving in Mexico, Jerusalem, Nicaragua, Peru, Japan, Great Britain and Washington. He retired as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in September 2002. Wayne is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the National War College. A native of New Jersey, he now resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Robert BlakeState Department Leader

Ambassador Blake served for 31 years in the State Department in a wide range of leadership positions. In 2009, he was nominated by President Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, serving from 2009-2013, for which he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Service Award.

Ronice BarlowHead of Strategic Planning & Business Development and Co-Head of Internal Sales for US Advisory Services at Franklin Templeton Investments.

Ronice Barlow is a Senior Vice President, Head of Strategic Planning & Business Development and Co-Head of Internal Sales for US Advisory Services at Franklin Templeton Investments. Before this role, Ronice was Chief Operating Officer for US Advisory Services. She is responsible for multiple functions that support the US retail and institutional divisions including strategic planning, financial strategies, technology infrastructure, globalsourcing, and sales management.

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