Thank you from the CC President

To members, supporters, and friends of the Camden Conference

As we start the new year, I must admit that I long for some good news. 

Populism and authoritarian regimes are on the rise worldwide and democracies seem to be in sharp decline.  Clearly part of this trend is driven by the refugee crisis, a topic that was covered by our 2017 Camden Conference, “Refugees and Global Migration:  Humanity’s Crisis.”  All forecasts point to this issue’s putting more pressure, not less, on Europe, the United States, and other nations in coming years. That message was also put forth by our speakers at the 2018 Camden Conference, “New World Disorder and America’s Future.”

On the media and information front, technology and social media have turned the world upside down in less than two decades.  The new information ecosystem has given authoritarian regimes and bad actors new tools—including social media platforms such as Facebook—for manipulating and controlling populations.  Operations based in St. Petersburg, Russia, attacked our 2016 election with impunity.   Maine’s Senator Angus King has called disinformation campaigns and the misuse of media “…the single greatest threat to democracy.”

The international institutions and alliances that have prevented a third world war for more than 70 years seem to be either crumbling or at high risk.  Our planet’s climate faces major threats, and we have yet to see a credible international response. Stock markets around the world spent most of last month in free fall.

Global affairs have never been more complex or more associated with such high-risk factors.

In the face of these daunting problems, the Camden Conference, through its mission and goals, provides a gateway to the knowledge and understanding that we citizens need to participate in our democracy.  The Camden Conference is a non-partisan, nonprofit citizens’ conference that exists to stimulate civil discourse and understanding of some of the most complex issues of our times. We bring in top experts from all over the world to present diverse viewpoints through presentations and question-and-answer interaction with attendees in all five conference venues.  We all learn from the conversation.

The 2019 Camden Conference—“Is This China’s Century?”—will live up to the high standards of previous conferences, when it is held February 22–24.  We will examine the relationship of two superpowers, the United States and China, and the options and implications for U.S. foreign policy.  I hope you will attend.  Visit our website,, to review the lineup of talented speakers and to buy tickets.  You can also become a member through our website.

I want to express my deep gratitude for your financial support over the past year.  Without the generous support of members and sponsors, we simply could not organize the Camden Conference.

And I wish for you and your family a peaceful, prosperous 2019, a year when we can all participate as citizens in our democracy, to help make a better nation and a more peaceful, just world.

Best wishes,

Bruce Cole


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