RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Unfortunately, The Skinny is not among the 1,400 world leaders from science to literature, medicine to politics, who are gathering in Charleston, S.C. today for the 27th annual Renaissance Weekend.

For three days, leaders from across a broad spectrum of politics and talent will gather on a non-partisan basis to discuss a wide variety of issues we confront today.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto on Thursday is a clear demonstration that the world is in many ways as unstable as it ever has been. Long gone are the uplifting days of the ‘90s after the fall of the wall in Berlin and the launching of what was touted as Pax Americana.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful that some actual progress came forth from the Renaissance gathering to help this ball of confusion on which we live?

The crowd will include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, CEOs, ambassadors, tech leaders such as Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf and even the screen writer for Shrek III. They will attend lectures, network, and enjoy Charleston’s beautiful waterfront.

The Renaissance program was founded by Philip Lader, chairman of WPP Group (a global media and advertising company) and his wife Linda LeSourd Lader. This weekend’s program includes more than 580 lectures and seminars, workshops and panel discussions.

Lader, a former U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James, calls the weekends a building bridges event that cross “generations, ideologies, religions and politics.” He wants the events to be non-artisan so that “more light than heat” is generated.

"CEOs, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, artists and scientists, astronauts and ministers, judges, diplomats and professors far out-number the participants engaged in politics,” Lader said in a press release touting the event.

Here are some topics The Skinny would attend – if he had been invited:

• Where Should Your Money Be Now?

• Is Anybody Really "Normal?"

• Marco Polo’s Travels

• Did Jesus Die for Our Second Homes?

• Explosions of Scientific Knowledge

• How Should America Use Smart Power in Foreign Affairs;

• Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet on the Web

• What Would Machiavelli Advise Today’s Presidential Candidates?

• Secrets of 24

• Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine

• Elvis, the Beatles & the History of Rock & Roll