Conference Registration Opens

Tickets go on sale to the public on Monday, November 26, for the next Camden Conference, “The Middle East: What Next?” scheduled for February 22-24, 2013. An outstanding slate of speakers has been assembled for the weekend-long conference, including many noted Middle East experts who have appeared frequently in the media. Advance ticket sales to Camden Conference members have already been brisk—the topic and the first-rate speaker roster have proven to be a big draw. Everyone with an interest in the topic should make reservations as soon as possible.

As previously announced, the keynote speaker on Friday evening, February 22, 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 of London, CBS News, Foreign Affairs, and many others. Her overseas assignments have included the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and several years as a roving foreign correspondent worldwide.

On Sunday morning, the closing speaker will be Ryan Crocker, a Career Ambassador—highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service—and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In midsummer 2012, he stepped down as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, a position for which he was recalled from retirement in 2011 after having been U.S. Ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009. Crocker previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon (1990-1993), Kuwait (1994-1997), Syria (1998-2001), and Pakistan (2004-2007). Over the course of his career, he studied Farsi prior to a posting to Iran in 1972 and he undertook long-term study of Arabic in 1976, followed by postings in Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt as well as the State Department in Washington. Crocker, who has been called America’s diplomatic superstar, is sure to provide significant insights on the Middle East and the U.S. role there.

Returning to the conference as moderator will be Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School. In April 2008, he retired from the State Department after a distinguished diplomatic career spanning 27 years. From 2005 until his retirement, Burns was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs—the third-ranking position in the State Department—where he led U.S. negotiations with such countries as Iran, India, and Kosovo and supervised U.S. diplomacy throughout the world. Burns was also U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005) and to Greece (1997-2001). He was the State Department Spokesman for two years and spent five years on the National Security Council staff, including a stint as Special Assistant to President Clinton, focusing on the former Soviet Union. Under President George H.W. Bush, he was the NSC Director for Soviet Affairs. Earlier in his career, Burns was posted to Egypt and Mauritania and served as Political Officer at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem. He is the Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group, and serves on many boards, including the Atlantic Council, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the American Ditchley Foundation, Veracity Worldwide, and the Center for a New American Security.

The 26th Annual Camden Conference, “The Middle East: What Next?” takes place live from the Camden Opera House and is simulcast to three satellite venues: the Strand Theatre in Rockland, the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, and the Grand in Ellsworth. For more information, visit or call 207-236-1034.

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