After a decade running the events program for CIS, it is with sadness that I write to say a fond farewell. After 10 Consilium conferences, roughly 450 events, 750+ speakers and some 22,000 guests through the doors, it’s time for me to move on to new adventures.
Heartfelt thanks go to CIS founder Greg Lindsay and CIS General Manager Jenny Lindsay for the privilege of working for an organisation whose mission is to defend and advance the noble cause of freedom. And my gratitude for the opportunity of meeting and working with some of the world’s most interesting, brave and inspiring people. It’s been a joy to spend my days immersed in words and ideas.
The experiences I’ve been so fortunate to have, and the wonderful people I have met over the past 10 years will stay with me always. The humility, grace and strength of Zimbabwean Senator David Coltart in opposing the Mugabe regime, his early visits for us requiring covert communications and managing logistics via a chain of third parties. The erudition and charm of Theodore Dalrymple, and the outrage of a fan concerned that we were in danger of having him and his lovely wife starve by accommodating them in the wilds of McMahons Point. The never-diminishing thrill of being backstage at the Sydney Opera House. The abject horror of underground footage brought to us by a freedom fighter from the Arab world, risking his life to reveal the true depths of Islamic extremists’ barbarity. The challenge of catching counter-insurgency expert and all-round good guy David Kilcullen between sand-dunes and insurgents to chat. Hilarity and late-night adventures in golf buggies with my conference crew. Helicopter and vineyard tours in New Zealand with the brilliant and wickedly funny PJ O’Rourke. Literally entangling myself with the President of the Czech Republic in possibly the most awkward greeting and lanyard exchange in history. The dashing academic star who nonchalantly stripped naked for a wintery ocean swim post-conference. All the dear and delightful colleagues who have turned into life-long friends.
I look forward to cheering from the sidelines for the continued work and success of the CIS under the passionate guidance of new Executive Director Tom Switzer. The struggle to safeguard our liberty is never-ending.
Good wishes to you all.
Meegan Cornforth is the former Event Director and outgoing Curator of Major Events for The Centre for Independent Studies.