UCB Libraries


Conference on World Affairs
Digitization Project

Conference on World Affairs (CWA) / Archives at Norlin Library


Every April for more than sixty years national and international figures representing a wide range of disciplines have gathered from all over the globe to appear together on stage at what the New York Times has called “a week-long extravaganza of discussion and debate.”


The Annual Conference of World Affairs is held on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus over five days and offers dozens of interdisciplinary panels, plenary speeches, and performances, all free and open to the public. These sessions are attended by thousands of people from the campus and Colorado communities, as well as many national and international visitors.


For decades the dialog at these extraordinary sessions has been recorded, providing a rare and unique collection of primary source material heretofore inaccessible to scholars. The collection of these recordings covers a multiplicity of themes—international affairs, domestic politics, human rights, media, science, technology, womens issues, business, diplomacy, environmental issues, the arts, spirituality, medicine, and other subjects.


The conference has included the famous and infamous, the known and unknown: Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Abba Eban, I.F. Stone, R. Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, Mayra Mannes, Arthur Miller, Ted Turner, Huey P. Newton, Studs Terkel, Molly Ivins, Charles Krauthammer, and many others.


More than 3,500 hours of audio recordings capture prominent speakers discussing all aspects of contemporary society from 1954 to the present. Nearly sixty years after its founding, the Conference continues to attract celebrated presenters who volunteer their time traveling to Boulder at their own expense. The Conference draws an audience of tens of thousands over five days with more than 100 speakers.


Now, the Archives has joined with the Conference of World Affairs to launch a collaborative pilot project to digitize selected tapes of key speaker spanning the years 1959 to 1994. More than eighty hours of audio recordings has been digitized. A web site is also being constructed to promote and inform the public and the research community about this project and provide access to the recordings. GW Hannaway & Associates has contributed its time and expertise to this project. We thank them for their generosity.


March 4, 2010


You can now see the joint Conference on World Affairs (CWA) / Archives at Norlin Library web site, featuring 60 hours of digitized audio recordings from past CWA sessions dating to the 1950s.


There is still much work to be done to digitize all 3,500 hours of the Conference's audio archive. These same audio recordings are being loaded into the Libraries digital library.


Special thanks to Holley Long and Michael Dulock for their assistance.