About the Forum:

The Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations was organized in 1983 by a small group of area residents with a special interest in the United States role in international affairs. At its first meeting, the Board of Directors adopted the following statement of purpose: The purpose of the Forum is to consider all aspects of foreign affairs as they impinge on our national life.  Different and controversial views will not be avoided, but Forum analysis will be conducted in a spirit of open, free inquiry, with tolerance for differing views in the best tradition of our democratic heritage.  The Forum hopes to contribute to increased knowledge of its members and to a vigorous consideration of foreign policy options facing our nation.

This purpose and the means of accomplishing it were further refined when the Forum was formally established as a non-profit corporation under the laws of Maine in 1988.  The articles of incorporation define the purpose of the Forum as:  To promote, for the benefit of its members, study and discussion of the development, formulation, and implementation of United States foreign policies by means of a program of speakers, the organization of discussion and study groups, and the production and distribution of relevant materials to the membership.

Membership of the Forum is currently about 250. The membership includes individuals who have considerable experience in virtually all aspects of international affairs while serving with the United States government, corporations, and private agencies.  Writers, physicians, educators, journalists, lawyers, business people, and others seeking to stay informed on international issues are also represented in the membership.  Maine high school and university students studying international and foreign affairs are often invited to attend Forum meetings.

The Forum members and their guests meet monthly throughout the year, generally on one of the first two Mondays of the month, in Hedges Hall at Point lookout Conference Center in Northport. Meetings are held over the lunch hour and run from 11:30 AM until approximately 2:00 PM. The format includes a brief social period, speaker’s presentation, and question and answer period followed by a luncheon where members discuss and debate the subject of the presentation with others seated at their table.  Speakers typically arrive the day before and are hosted by one of the Forum Directors.

Forum speakers have included current and former U.S. and foreign government officials, including from the diplomatic corps and the military, representatives of non-governmental international organizations, academicians, working journalists, exchange students, international businesspeople, and other foreign policy specialists.  See the Speakers page for past and upcoming speakers.

The Forum also organizes a monthly discussion group (dubbed the “Lunch Bunch”), which meets at The Waterfront Restaurant in Camden.  This group provides members a chance to exchange views and information on a foreign relations topic prevalent in the current news.  Attendance at this discussion is limited to 25-30 participants on a first-come basis in order to give participants the opportunity to express his or her views in an open and interactive environment.

In addition to its monthly meeting and discussion group, the Forum occasionally sponsors other events both for its members and the interested public.

Directors of the Forum:

  Jim Algrant is been active in all things related to Foreign Affairs in mid-coast Maine. In his earlier life he was a radio officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine from 1944 to 1948 and saw action in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Following the war he spent several years in Cuba and in Venezuela followed by an enlistment in the US Army as Tech Sergeant and  NCOIC of the 2d Armored Division  Radio  School in  Germany.  He was recruited by the Department of the Army and after the appropriate training served as an operations officer in the Far East,  Morocco, France and several  European and  North  African countries. He is fluent in French and Spanish.
  Mac Deford served as President of the Mid-coast Forum for 17 years until retiring from that position in 2017.  Since retiring to Maine in 1977, he has served as Chair of the Farnsworth Museum, Executive Director of the Penobscot Marine Museum, and Treasurer of Camden Conference.  He is the Mac half of the Tom and Mac show, an annual Camden Conference Community event.  Mac spent much of his early professional life at the Middle East or Arab desks of the State Department. He subsequently headed Merrill Lynch Private Banking offices in Seoul, Manila, and Buenos Aires, ending his banking career as Regional Director for Private Banking in Asia, based in Hong Kong.
  Tom DeMarco is Treasurer of the Mid-Coast Forum.  He has lived in Camden for thirty plusyears.  Tom has served on the Board of Pop Tech and of the Camden Conference and is half of the famous Tom and Mac Show, which has, for 12 years, filled houses in Camden, Belfast and now Portland as part of Camden Conference.  Tom is the author of fourteen books, including novels, business and software-related related non-fiction, and a book of short stories,  His latest work is the novel  Airship Nation published in 2017. He is a Principal ofThe Atlantic Systems Guild, a technology think-tank with offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
  George Look:  Prior to his retirement to mid-coast Maine in 2012, George spent three years with the National Security Council as Senior Director for Arms Control and Nonproliferation.  Before that he was the Director for Nonproliferation and Counterproliferation of the Congressional Graham/Talent Commission. From 2003-2008 George served in several positions at the Department of State, including as Executive Director of Secretary Rice’s International Security Advisory Board and head of the United States delegations to the Moscow Treaty, START Treaty, and INF Treaty implementation commissions.  From 1977-2003 he served in various positions in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and in the private sector.
  Jim Mays worked in mid-coast Maine summers when he was a student and developed a love of the area.  In 1989 he and his software business, which developed the first commercial application to predict tides and currents, moved here from San Francisco. Jim was a co-founder and de facto executive director of the Camden Technology Conference (PopTech) in 1997 and served on Governor King’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the Internet.  He has served on several municipal boards in Camden and been involved in a number of local non-profits including the Rockport Apprenticeshop, Maine Coast Artists and the Penobscot School.  In an earlier life he flew the EA-6A, electronic countermeasures missions for the Marine Corps in Viet Nam. His interests still include many things STEM.
  Sarah Rheault was born in England and grew up in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Ghana. She and her husband Andy moved to Rockport Maine in 1974, where they started Penobscot Boat Works.  They were founders of The Mid-Coast Forum in 1983. Sarah has served on various non-profit boards state-wide, including the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Maine Trust for Public Lands, and locally, including Maine Coast Artists and Coastal Mountains Land Trust.  When not involved with The Forum and other things she travels with her old car (Bugatti type 37) and with friends around the world.  Sarah is Secretary of the Mid-Coast Forum and keeps us all in line.
  Jan Rosenbaum has been involved in photographic imaging for 50 years. After moving to Maine in 1997, he taught at Maine Media Workshops + College.  His work is included in museum and private collections. In the 1980’s, working for Agfa, Jan designed imaging systems for medical and computer graphics systems. For many years his designs for cameras that convert digital x-ray information to film images were used in most major hospitals and medical schools around the world, as integrated components in digital imaging systems from General Electric, Picker, Siemens, and other companies. His mathematical modeling of the color reproduction remains a standard method in the computer graphics industry.
  Dick Snyder: Since moving to Maine full-time in 2001, Dick has been a leader in the Restorative Justice movement.  He has served as Chair of the Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast, and on the boards of United Midcoast Charities and Maine Community Foundation Waldo County Fund. He is Professor Emeritus of Theology and Ethics and former academic dean of New York Theological Seminary.  He has lectured, conducted research, and preached throughout Latin America, Cuba, Asia, Europe and South Africa and lived for a time in Brazil. Dick is the author of three books and numerous articles and chapters on social justice and is completing a new book dealing with “othering” tentatively entitled, “Those People”: Resisting Tribalism
  Judy Stein and her husband Mike moved from the New Haven, CT area to Belfast in 1994 because “we sail.”  Since living here she has served as President of the Library Board in Belfast, on the Board and for three years as President of Camden Conference, on the Board of the Penobscot Marine Museum, and on the Hutchinson Center Advisory Board.   In previous lives she was a securities analyst, started the Communications Skills program at the Yale School of Management and was a principal in Strategic Communications, a management consulting firm. She is the co-author of two books on management communications –Writing for Decision Makersand Presentations for Decision Makers.
  Lee Webb is on the boards of the Maine Historical Society, the Coastal Healthcare Alliance, the Maine Center for Economic Policy, and the Andover Abbot Association. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine.  Before moving to Union, ME, he served as President of the Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington, Executive Vice President of the NY Urban Development Corporation,  Acting President of NY Job Development Authority, Vice President of Partners Health Care in Boston and Vice President for Administration at the New School University in New York City. As a young man, Lee was a founder of Students for a Democratic Society, and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
  Patricia Welte:  Patricia’s interest in foreign affairs began with her Armenian heritage and was reinforced in her early 20s when she lived and studied in Rome and Paris. She is licensed to practice in NY, Massachusetts and Maine and has lived and practiced law in Camden since 1987. Patricia initially specialized in immigration law with a focus on treaty visas, NAFTA and international business ventures. Her clients ranged from multi-national businesses to race car designers and drivers. Patricia is certified as a mediator and has replaced her immigration practice with probate, estate, elder law and mediation matters involving business and family issues. She served on the Board of Mid-coast Forum from 2007 to 2009 and rejoined the Board in 2012.  She has also served on the Board of Camden Conference.

The Board of Directors

  • James J. Algrant
  • Thomas M. Deford
  • Tom DeMarco, Treasurer
  • George Look, President
  • Jim Mays, Comptroller
  • Sarah B. Rheault, Corporate Secretary
  • Jan Rosenbaum
  • T. Richard Snyder
  • Judy Stein
  • Lee Webb
  • Patricia Welte

(See board member bios here)