Seminars at Steamboat series kicks off Thursday

Former US ambassador to discuss foreign policy at 1st lecture

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Christopher Hill

— Christopher Hill is no stranger to the world stage.

Three presidents have tapped him to represent the U.S. abroad as an ambassador to such countries as Poland, Korea and, most recently, Iraq.

Organizers of the Seminars at Steamboat lecture series say Hill is well-equipped to give a local audience a glimpse of the foreign challenges the next president will face after the November election.

“He has quite a broad portfolio of interests and experience,” Seminars at Steamboat Chairwoman Kate Hawk said. “I think he’ll be able to cover a wide geographical area.”

On Thursday, Hill will kick off the 10th season of Seminars at Strings Music Pavilion with a lecture about foreign policy.

He will be the first this season of four speakers, who will address topics ranging from politics to the still-recovering economy.

The other speakers include John Pomfret, the Washington Post’s former Beijing Bureau Chief; Robert Reischauer, former president of the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.; and Richard Murray, a political science professor at the University of Houston.

Seminars co-founder Jane Stein predicted this season’s lineup and breadth of topics will continue to fill Strings to capacity, especially on the kickoff night.

“Maybe because we are so isolated here, people have always been so attracted to seminars on foreign policy,” she said. “A lot of people have traveled. We have a lot of retirees or part-timers in Steamboat who have experience in foreign policy. The lectures are a way of connecting to what’s happening.”

All of the seminars are free to the public, but organizers encourage attendees to arrive at Strings at 4:15 p.m. to obtain a free ticket because space is limited. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and the program starts at 5 p.m.

Seminars also will celebrate its longevity this season.

Hawk said when the lecture series started nearly 10 years ago in Centennial Hall, she didn’t know how long it would continue.

“In the beginning, we had no idea if Steamboat would embrace the idea,” she said. “But 10 years later, it seems to have been a success. It has become a permanent part of Steamboat’s summer offerings.”

To celebrate, the public can sign up to attend an anniversary dinner Aug. 20 at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. David Wessel, chief economic correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, will be the featured guest speaker at the celebration.

For more information, or to register for the dinner, visit www.seminarsatsteamboat.com.

2012 Seminars at Steamboat schedule

All lectures are free and begin at 5 p.m.

■ Thursday: “Foreign Policy after the Election: Challenges and Opportunities” with Christopher Hill. Hill has served as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Korea, Poland and Macedonia. He is the dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at University of Denver.

■ July 19: “Insights from a China Watcher” with John Pomfret. Pomfret is the former Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post. He serves as editor of the Post’s weekly commentary section.

■ July 26: “Adjusting to America’s New Fiscal Reality: Why This Time It Really Is Different” with Robert Reischauer. Reischauer is formerly the president of the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., and director of the Congressional Budget Office.

■ Aug. 13: “The Presidential Race: Polls, Swing States and More” with Richard Murray. Murray is a professor of political science and the director of survey research at the University of Houston.

■ Aug. 20: 10th anniversary dinner with David Wessel, chief economic correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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