I attended a conference called Forum 2000 on Monday. It was created by the Czech Republic's former President (and national hero) Vaclav Havel for the purposes of discussing relevant and important issues with really important people (basically!). This year's topic was "Our Global Co-existence: Challenges and Hopes for the 21st century".
For me, it was dork heaven! There were so many people there from all ranks of office, all different countries, and all different opinions. Unfortunately Vaclav Havel was not as impressive as I imagined. However there were a few highlights of the conference which I will mention.
Meeting John O'Sullivan! He is editor-at-large for National Review (which I read online every day!). He is a very brilliant man who was able to defend many of his controversial (aka. conservative) ideas better than most. I introduced myself to him afterward. He seemed enthusiastic to have such young readers. He also recommended that I get in touch back in New York for internship possibilities. Very cool. http://www.nationalreview.com
Seeing my professor Jan Urban (the former dissident who knows everything and everyone under the sun....that is not an exaggeration). Professor Urban was the moderator of one of the panels discussing water in the Middle East. A very contentious subject. It was SOOOO bizaar to see him moderating this discussion with many intellectuals including His Royal Majesty, the King of Jordon. And in the front row watching the discussion was none other than Vaclav Havel (they are buddies)! It was weird to be sitting about 3 rows behind this national hero as if we were equals, just listening and learning together.
Free coffee and lunch. Need I say more?
Hearing James Woolsey speak. The former director of the CIA. Very intense man.
Meeting Kim Campbell. I actually met her twice! Once waiting for the bathroom where she signed an autograph for me. And then again after her interesting lecture on Women in Politics. She is the former Prime Minister of Canada and now Secretary General of the Club de Madrid (basically the club for all former head's of state). While I don't agree with a lot of her policies, her studies of women, sociology, and pyschology are fascinating and she is a very good public speaker.
The pictures aren't that great but just take a look anyways and pretend to be impressed! I promise, all of the people in them are pretty important and it was a treat to be in such close proximity to them all.
If you are interested in reading about the conference the website is: