International Affairs – America’s Place in the World: Power, Influence, and World Order

July 21, 2018 to July 28, 2018

What are America’s biggest challenges on the international stage? Since the end of the Second World War, the US has dominated the world politically, economically, and militarily. But America’s place in the world is constantly changing and evolving. During the morning theme talks, we will look at different perspectives on the question of how the US formulates a new global strategy and how to implement it, including, what are the new challenges and opportunities for American leadership? What role does the US have in the global economy? On energy and climate change? As a model for democracy and human rights? And what about our relations with rising powers, especially the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China)?

In addition to the morning theme talks, we offer a variety of daily workshops including writing, chorus, yoga, and art. Afternoon activities include swimming, softball, visits to the Marine Lab, rowboat and kayak trips in the harbor or to neighboring islands, low tide walks and history tours. There is also time for reading a book in a rocking chair on the front porch or taking a walk to the back of the island. Evening activities include a bonfire, an intergenerational dance, a conference talent show and a staff talent show, lay-led chapel services, and more.

Youth Programming

Children and teens at IA are enthusiastically welcomed into the IA Youth Program by friendly faces and an engaging and dedicated children’s staff who make it their goal to make each day fun and exciting. The program is filled with cool, age-appropriate activities and interesting topics often related to the conference theme. The island itself also influences what we do together with its rich offerings and history, stories (sometimes ghostly!), outdoor adventures and opportunities to learn about the world and water that surround us. Star Island is the kind of place where you meet someone for a week, feel like you’ve known them forever, and end up staying friends for generations!

The young people at IA are assigned to groups based on age. Groups won’t be finalized until close to the start of the conference to ensure equal distribution. Groups are developed based on the number of children registered overall and in any given age group, with an eye toward keeping groups a fun, manageable size while meeting the needs of the children in age-appropriate ways. The youth are divided into six groups, the names of which generally reflect the name of the room or building in which they meet. The Youth Program is open to toddlers through senior high students, and meets each day for approximately two hours in the morning and one and a half hours in the afternoon. One exception, the Senior group, meets in the afternoons and evening and not in the mornings.

Theme Speakers

Barry Posen is a professor of political science at MIT.
Charles Maynes, a former IAer, is an independent radio producer based in Moscow.
Jendayi E. Frazer, visiting professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a former US Ambassador to South Africa, and former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Minister of the Week

Rev. Darrick Jackson, Consulting Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Storrs, CT and the Unitarian Universalist Parish of Monson, MA.

Program Fee

Adults: $170
Youth: $130


Visit our website for information on scholarships. Applications will be due early March 2018. NEW PEOPLE DISCOUNT!! This year IA will offer a $100 discount to people who are new to the conference.

Room & Board Rates

These rates include lodging, meals, and ferry transportation.

IA Standard Shared Standard Single Motel Shared Motel Single
Adult 18+ $967 $1,315 $1,191 $1,747


Youth rates are determined by age on the first day of the program, regardless of room type.

IA Under 6 6-11 Yrs 12-17 Yrs
Youths Free $448 $640

Ferry Schedule

Saturday, July 21
Departure: Portsmouth 2:25 p.m.
Arrival: Star Island 3:25 p.m
Saturday, July 28
Departure: Star Island 8:20 a.m.
Arrival: Portsmouth 9:45 a.m.


Email Kristin Laverty the registrar at