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From the Road: CWA in Boulder

Participants proceed along a path lined by flags from around the world for the opening of the CWA.

When I lived in Colorado I never attended the University of Colorado’s annual weeklong Conference on World Affairs (CWA). What a mistake. I am spending this week as one of 100 invited panelists. I just returned from a panel entitled “A Spiritual Soup: Defining Faith.” In the previous couple of days I have been on panels entitled “The Sacred and the Scientific” and “What is a Cult?” Each one of these has been packed—I would guess 250 to 300 people, perhaps more.

My fellow panelists have included Margot Adler of NPR (a UU and author of Drawing Down the Moon and Heretic’s Heart) and Seth Shostak, an astronomer known for his work on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

The CWA is an amazing event and a wonderful opportunity for our UU identity to be showcased. The conference goes on for a full week, involves dozens of panel discussions, and involves thousands of people from the university community and from the surrounding Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. A key part of it is that it is free to anyone who wishes to attend. All of the invited participants come at their own expense, but are housed with volunteer families in the Boulder area.

CWA opening keynote at Macky Auditorium.


At each panel I am introduced as the president of the UUA. After each session I have a bunch of people who come up and want to continue discussion on the topic. I love the way Unitarian Universalism is getting so much visibility.

As I write this, I am about to head off to a panel on “Beyond Slacktivism: How to Make a Difference When You Have No Time.” In the next couple of days I am on panels dealing with racism, religion in politics, prisons and immigration.

I hope our participation at CWA becomes a tradition. What a terrific opportunity to engage with opinion leaders and the wider community.

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