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USFSP’s OPEN Spring Lineup Features Dynamic Speakers in Its Six Themes

St. Petersburg, FL, February 22, 2018 --( USFSP’s OPEN adds two new themes to its collection of events that encourage community dialog and connections - Civility and Frontiers. These topics join OPEN’s foundational four themes: Seeds, Rad Schools, Live Well, and Future City which were launched last fall.

OPEN brings visionaries with ideas together with leaders and community members who are taking action and making a difference. In online and in-person learning opportunities, OPEN is facilitating dialog and connecting people around topics important to St. Petersburg.

OPEN’s Spring 2018 speaker’s program focuses on Future City and Civility themes. Speakers share compelling personal experiences and aspirational visions as they provide insights into money, world peace, global affairs and women in combat.

Future City speakers tackle the hot topic of crypto currency and Jacque Fresco’s vision for society beyond politics, poverty and war.

· March 1, 5:30-8pm at the University Student Center @ USFSP (140 USFSP Harborwalk S) - The world of cryptocurrency with Charlie Shrem – Aresty Speaker and bleeding-edge pioneer in this new world. Charlie discusses bitcoin, blockchain and his personal journey to create an alternative financial exchange industry. Charlie was convicted and served prison time for his cryptocurrency exchange activities - unlike traditional bankers and traders behind the 2008 collapse of the global economy. His ideas and first-hand experiences provide thought for what money truly is and how traditional and new ideas of money impact almost every part of life. Charlie is featured in the documentary “Banking on Bitcoin.”

· March 15, 5:30-8:30pm at The Edge at Coquina Hall (700 4th St S) - A vision for a world beyond politics, poverty and war with Roxanne Meadows – Aresty Speaker and representative of the Venus Project. The Venus Project is a model for a futuristic society as well as a practical, sustainable campus in Venus, Florida that embodies the concepts envisioned by Jacques Fresco. Ms. Meadows will present the state of this project since Mr. Fresco’s passing last year and will reflect on how the campus fared during last year’s furious Hurricane Irma.

Civility speakers look at world affairs from the perspectives of diplomacy and policy making as well as the experiences and learning of a female combat photographer.

· February 20, 6:30-8pm at University Student Center @ USFSP (140 Harborwalk S) – World affairs today and tomorrow with Thomas Pickering - distinguished Aresty Speaker and now-retired Career Ambassador. Mr. Pickering’s four decades of diplomatic service have put him at the center of events that have changed the world. Mr. Pickering will participate in the St. Petersburg World Affairs Council conference panels and activities Feb 20-23. His extraordinary life experience and direct responsibilities provide a rare lens through which conference participants can observe and better understand the dynamics of today’s world.

· March 29, 11:15am-1:15pm at USFSP Kate Tiedemann College of Business (140 7th Ave S) – life as a female combat photographer, and what follows after that - Stacy Pearsall began her military career at age 17 as an Airforce photographer and extended to three tours of duty which included assignments in over 40 countries. She has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Air Force Commendation with Valor for her combat actions. Her St. Petersburg conversations will focus on the aftermath of this experience as a wounded veteran – and the special challenges she faced as a female in combat zones.

In addition to formal presentations, panels and conference settings, OPEN will host a community party to celebrate last year’s launch of this platform and welcome 2018’s new ideas and community connections.

· On February 21st from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at Green Bench Brewery, 1144 Baum Ave N - OPEN invites the community to celebrate the accomplishments of 2017 and plans for 2018. This informal and fun event brings together some of the city’s most dynamic, interesting and creative leaders to share ideas, leverage, resources, break down silos, suggest initiatives to launch and meet in ways that create a smarter, better connected city that learns and grows together. All are welcome.

About Open Partnership Education Network
The Open Partnership Education Network, or just OPEN, seeks to make us smarter, better connected cities learning together. For more information, visit and watch the video at
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Open Partnership Education Network
Walter Balser

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