Steamboat Springs The ninth annual Seminars at Steamboat will address Iran, President Barack Obama’s policies and immigration in summer.
The Board of Directors for the free summer public policy speaker series recently announced three-fourths of the lineup for its 2011 season.
Robin Wright, author, journalist and senior fellow at the nonpartisan U.S. Institute of Peace, will discuss “The Conundrum of Iran” on July 21. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh will deliver “A Foreign Policy Report from Washington: Are Obama’s Policies Working?” on Aug. 4. And Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of pro-immigration business coalition ImmigrationWorks USA, will offer “Fresh Perspectives on Immigration” on Aug. 11.
Seminars at Steamboat began after a group, while hiking, decided the area offered everything a person could want — from the neck down, co-founder and board member Jane Stein said. She said the group thought there would be interest in nonpartisan public policy discussions, which the city also had envisioned.
Stein said the first Seminars at Steamboat consisted of two speakers at Centennial Hall.
“We thought if we had 40, it wouldn’t be embarrassing,” she said. “We had standing room only. It was a success from the get-go.”
Stein said the Seminars at Steamboat Board of Directors met after the past season to discuss possible topics and speakers. She said getting the speakers lined up early allows visitors time to plan Steamboat summer vacations in conjunction with a particular speaker.
Seminars at Steamboat recently received two small grants, from the city of Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, to help cover the costs of bringing the speakers to town, Stein said. But she said much of the funding for the summer series comes from the Friends of the Seminars group, whose 150 members donate $50 to $3,000 annually.
Stein said the speaker series has evolved from great that first year to even greater. During the years, she said Seminars at Steamboat has paired speakers with appropriate community groups. For instance, she said former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue spoke to local youth athletic coaches and their players when he visited as part of the 2009 season.
The 2010 season set a record, with a total of more than 2,400 people attending the four speeches at Strings Music Pavilion. Stein called that response overwhelming.
“The acceptance by the community, I think, is a sign of not only our success, but filling a need.”