2013 Conference Announced

The Camden Conference announces that the topic for 2013 will be “The Middle East: What Next.” The Conference cannot provide all the answers to that question. But what it will do, with its roster of acknowledged experts—focusing on the key countries of the Middle East—is provide historical analysis with current insights, giving participants a firmer understanding of the elements that will influence the future. The 2013 conference will feature a line-up of outstanding speakers, many of whom are appearing regularly on today’s news shows and commentary.

The Syrian civil war escalates daily; riots spread from Cairo to encompass most of the Muslim world; terrorists assassinate the U.S. ambassador in Libya; political instability and sectarian violence increase in Iraq: where is the Arab Spring—that early, optimistic designation—heading?

All revolutions are unique. In Egypt, three decades of Mubarak’s corrupt rule ended almost overnight; in Syria, the Assad family dynasty could collapse tomorrow or hang on for the foreseeable future. Will peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors fall victim to the enveloping unrest? And where will Iran, with its nuclear ambitions, fit in the ever-evolving picture? Predicting what the Middle East will look like in five years, or even one, is clearly impossible. But Conference attendees will emerge from the weekend with a keener sense of the fundamental issues that underlie today’s complex Middle East, so that, as events unfold, they can view and understand them in a proper historical framework.

The keynote speaker on Friday evening will be Robin Wright, who has reported from more than 140 countries on six continents for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Time, The Atlantic, The Sunday Times (London), CBS News, Foreign Affairs, and many others. Her foreign tours have included the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, as well as several years as a roving foreign correspondent. She has covered a dozen wars and several revolutions. Besides a long career in journalism, Wright has been a fellow at the Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Yale, Duke, Stanford, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Southern California. Wright holds a joint appointment as a United States Institute of Peace Senior Fellow and Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar, during which she has produced three books: The Iran Primer: Power, Politics, and U.S. Policy (2010), Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World (2011), and The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are (2012).

The 26th Annual Camden Conference, “The Middle East: What Next?” takes place February 22-24, 2013, live at the Camden Opera House and simulcast to satellite venues, the Strand Theatre in Rockland, the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, and the Grand in Ellsworth. Tickets for the February weekend will go on sale to Camden Conference members November 5 and to the general public November 26. For more information, visit or call 207-236-1034.

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