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.
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.

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.

Eric LynnSenior Advisor Secretary of Defense, Policy Office Special Advisor on the Middle East Secretary of Defense

Eric Lynn served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and as Special Advisor on the Middle East in the Policy Office of the Secretary of Defense. He advised three U.S. Secretaries of Defense (Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel) at the Pentagon, as well as the Undersecretaries for Policy, focusing on National Security and a range of Middle East issues.

Linda Weil-CurielFrench Attorney and Human Rights Activist

Linda Weil-Curiel is a French attorney and human rights activist who campaigns against female genital mutilation (FGM) and plays a vital role in the prosecution of perpetrators throughout France. She has played a leading role in La Commission pour l'Abolition des Mutilations Sexuelles (CAMS).

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.

Manu SamnotraAssistant Professor of Political Science

Manu Samnotra is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of South Florida. He received his B.A. in Economics and Politics from Ithaca College, in Ithaca, NY, an M.A. in Politics from the New School for Social Research in New York, NY, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida, in Gainesville, FL. He has been living in the Tampa Bay area since 2015.

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