Be sure to read below about a chance to win $250 toward your room & board bill!

Greetings from the 2012 International Affairs Conference Chair

I hope you enjoy this first issue of our online newsletter.  The International Affairs Conference Committee is excited about this new method of communication for providing news and updates as conference planning moves forward.  You can expect to receive our newsletter approximately monthly between now and the July 21st start of the International Affairs Conference on Star Island.  Our theme this year is The Arab Spring and Beyond:  Where did it come from, where is it going, what does it mean?  I look forward to lively discussions on these and other related questions as well as to relaxing on the grand front porch overlooking the harbor while sipping an ice cold lime rickey from the Snack Bar and connecting with friends, old and new.


In this issue you will find information about our speakers and our Art Barn workshop leader, and news from our registrar and our youth program.  Be sure to read the Registrar's Corner carefully for details on your chance to win $250 towards your 2012 room & board bill. Upcoming issues with have more information on workshop leaders, youth programming and staff, registration, donating, and more.


The 2012 conference on idyllic Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire is shaping up to be a great week of intellectual stimulation, fun and creative workshops, vibrant youth activities and, of course, beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  I hope you will join us! 


In Star Spirit, 

Maria Getoff

Conference Keynote Speaker

Our week together will kick off with a keynote by Hisham Melhem.

Hisham is the Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya, the Dubai based satellite channel.  He is also the correspondent for Annahar, the leading Lebanese daily. 
Mr. Melhem's writings appeared in publications ranging from the literary journal Al-Mawaqef to the Los Angeles Times, and in magazines as Foreign Policy;  Middle East Report;  Middle East Insight; and Middle East Policy.  He is the author of Dual Containment: The Demise of A Fallacy, published by the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University.  In addition, Mr. Melhem appears regularly on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, The Charlie Rose Show, and National Public Radio.

Mr. Melhem has interviewed many American and international public figures, including President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, among others. Mr. Melhem had the first formal interview(one-on-one) with President Barack Obama on January 26, 2009, a week after the Inauguration.  Mr. Melhem will be attending with his wife. Click here to learn more about Mr. Melhem.

Conference Theme Speakers

A fascinating week will continue with three more speakers.

Jon B. Alterman

Jon  is director and senior fellow of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Prior to joining CSIS, he served as a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State and as a special assistant to the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Jon will attend with his wife, Kathy LaRiviere, and at least two of his three children.

Click here to learn more about Mr. Alterman.


Michele Dunne

Michele Dunne is Director of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Dr. Dunne has served in the White House on the National Security Council staff, on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and in its Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and as a diplomat in Cairo and Jerusalem. Michele will attend with her husband and two children.

Click here to learn more about Ms. Dunne.


Jillian Schwedler

 Dr. Jillian Schwedler is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is author of Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen (Cambridge 2006) and most recently editor (with Dr. Laleh Khalili) of Policing and Prisons in the Middle East (Columbia/Hurst 2010). Jillian will attend with her husband, Joel Sherman, and their two children.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Schwedler.

Registrar's Corner

It’s time to think summer!  There is lots of great information about the 2012 International Affairs Conference available on our conference website

We have updated the registration procedure this year, thanks to the help of IA conferee Bobby Williams and his brother-in-law Scott Stewart (from All Star I Conference).  An online registration form is available by clicking this link. The new online option will greatly improve the registration process.  Check for information, rates and the online registration process on the IA website's registration page.  


If your registration form is submitted by March 10 AND your check is postmarked by March 10 your name will be entered into an on-island drawing for a $250 payment toward your room and board bill.  So get your registration and checks in early.  You could be a winner!  Only those who are responsible for 100% of their own room and board bills are eligible.

Art Barn News

The IA Committee is thrilled that Julia Morgan-Leamon, long-time IA conferee and fabulous artist, will be returning to the lead the afternoon art workshop after a year’s hiatus.  This past year, Julia took two groups of students to Egypt.  In the winters of 2010 and 2011 she and her students were on a cultural exchange in Cairo when the revolution broke out.  She stayed on when the students left and began to paint the revolution.  She and her watercolors were later featured in a video on Time magazine’s website, entitled, An Artist Paints the Egyptian Revolution.  Click here to watch the video!


Julia was back in Egypt this month with another group of students.  Visit the IA website to see a photo of a collaborative art piece her students created together with students from the Luxor College of Art. 

Youth Program News


Our 2012 IA Youth Program staff is getting into gear, planning a week of old favorites (Capture the Flag, trips to Smuttynose Island), popular repeats from last year (the multigenerational dance party) and new, engaging activities—under the 2012 Youth Program theme of “Global Citizens”—for our 60 or so youngest conferees. The program provides several hours a day of guided play, crafts, music—and a little work: Among the many fun and diverse activities our kids participate in during the week is a low-key service project tied to the conference theme. In 2011 our theme was Water, and the kids raised money for Amman Imman, an organization that builds wells in the Azawak region of Africa and educates young people through its program Wells of Love about pressing global issues that directly affect indigenous people, such as climate change, desertification, and water scarcity. 


But mostly, there’s play, facilitated in same-age groups by experienced staffers, many of whom were children at IA themselves, all of them committed to each child’s personal needs and to assuring the most comfortable, joyful environment for all group members. Feel free to contact codirectors Jessica Patton Pellegrino ( and Emily Swomley ( with any questions. See you on Star!

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