The UCF Global Perspectives Office invites the UCF community to attend its annual global issues conference Thursday, Nov. 7. This year’s focus, “What is Global is Local,” seeks to understand challenges and opportunities in an uncertain, rapidly changing world. The event will be held at UCF from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with advance registration required. 

The conference features discussions on diplomacy, food security and unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones. Each panel or presentation highlights local and global trends related to these pressing issues.

The morning keynote features Ambassador Gary Grappo, former Head of Mission for the Office of the Quartet Representative Tony Blair, in Jerusalem.

A food-security panel will provide local insights on the issue from Gabriela Othon Lothrop, market director for East End Market, a neighborhood market and food hub in the Audubon Park Garden District of Orlando; national insights from Ricardo Salvador, director, Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists; and global insights from Jonathan Foley, director, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota.

The panel on unmanned aerial vehicles will be moderated by John C. Bersia, special assistant to the president for Global Perspectives at UCF, and includes local perspectives on the issue from Lt. Chris Francisco, Emergency Management/Homeland Security Section, High Risk Incident Command Division, Orange County Sheriff’s Office; and national and global insights from Bernard Finel, associate professor of National Security Strategy, National War College.

The luncheon keynote will feature Tamara Wittes, senior fellow and director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution.

UCF students, faculty and staff, and Central Florida community members are invited to attend but advance registration is required. Registration is provided at no cost, thanks to the event’s sponsors. To register, or for more information, email

In addition to Global Perspectives, sponsors and partners of the event include the UCF Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research and Studies, The India Center at UCF, UCF Diplomacy Studies, UCF Middle Eastern Studies Program, UCF China-Taiwan Cross-Strait Program, UCF Kurdish Political Studies Initiative, UCF Global Peace and Security Studies Program, UCF Al Ghazali Islamic Studies Program, UCF Human Trafficking Awareness Program, UCF Isle of Man Small Countries Program, Chastang Charitable Foundation, The India Group, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, UCF Political Science Department, UCF International Services Center, UCF LIFE and the Global Connections Foundation.