“An absolutely phenomenal experience!”
History of the Camden Conference
In 1987, a handful of Midcoast residents with insight, enthusiasm, and connections launched the idea of “bringing the world to Camden.”
By February 1988, they had managed to attract a handful of big-name speakers and about seventy like-minded people for an intensive foreign affairs weekend. With strong ties to the worlds of diplomacy, journalism, industry, and academia, the organizers contacted former colleagues, rolled up their sleeves, and did everything from stacking chairs to directing traffic.
Fast forward thirty years, and the world has indeed arrived in Camden – and Maine. For a weekend every February, over one thousand people now sign on to listen, learn, and question. High school and college students from Maine and beyond are active attendees at the Conference.
Camden Conference topics have included The Making of American Foreign Policy, The Influence of the News Media on Foreign Policy, U.S. – Japan Relations, Globalization, The Global Politics of Food and Water, Religion, Global Leadership, and a number focused on specific regions of the world: China, the Middle East, and Latin America are just a few. (Click here to see the full list of previous Camden Conferences and keynote speakers)
Camden Conference attendees are from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages. What they have in common is a keen interest in foreign policy, a desire to participate in public discourse, and to always learn more about the world they live in. Over the years, the Camden Conference has increased its presence beyond the live Camden Opera House venue to streaming sites in Belfast, Portland and Rockland. Most recently, in-home streaming has made the Camden Conference available to people throughout the world.
The Camden Conference is still a volunteer-driven organization, and committed to keeping registration fees low and accessibility high. Funding comes from individual gifts and memberships, business memberships, corporate sponsorships, and grants from institutions, foundations and corporations.