FREEPORT — The 32nd Camden Conference, a statewide event of fostering informed discourse on world issues, will be all about China: its complex social, economic, environmental, and political affairs, as well as its relations with Asian neighbors, the U.S., and the international community at large.

Freeport Community Library will present three events on the topic of China in the meeting room. The first, “The Eagle and the Dragon: the U.S. and China in the 21st Century,” will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9. This course in U.S. and Chinese relations presented by Matt Ward will cover all of the salient issues, similarities, differences, myths, facts and fallacies in the relationship between the two countries.

Ward is a retired Foreign Service Officer. He is past-president of the World Affairs Council of Maine and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work where he taught multicultural social work, and in the Political Science Department where he taught modern Chinese politics. He currently lectures on international issues and consults on cross-cultural matters.

Ward served the United States as a career Foreign Service Officer from 1967 to 1996. Specializing in economic, developmental and humanitarian issues, Matt served in Vietnam (CORDS), Cambodia, Haiti, Myanmar, Iran, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Luxembourg, China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) and the Sudan. He was a pioneer in developing refugee processing systems for those arriving via boats on the shores of Indonesia and Singapore, and was the director, in Taiwan, of the school that trained U.S. diplomats in Chinese language, culture, economics, history and politics in preparation for service in China and Hong Kong.

In both the Bush and Clinton White Houses, Ward was director for European Economies in Transition, the office that oversaw trade, developmental and humanitarian policies for the several nation-states that came into being with the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. He finished his diplomatic career as a senior inspector for the Foreign Service.

From 1999 to 2003, Ward was the director for Refugee and Immigration Services at Catholic Charities Maine. During that period he served on a number of state and local boards and committees dealing with cultural and linguistic diversity. He is a well-known advocate for the professionalization and standardization of foreign language interpreting and translating.

This event is free and open to the public. For questions or directions to the library, visit or call 207-865-3307.

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