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2015-2016 Academic WorldQuest

2015-2016 Academic WorldQuest Topics
Asia Matters for America The Arctic
NATO Food Security

International Trade and Finance

Organization of the American States
Sultanate of Oman Great Decisions
Privacy in the Digital Age Current Events


2015-2016 AWQ Study Guide


Councils:  Please register your local competition by submitting your  Pledge Form  by October 31


Academic WorldQuest Endowment Campaign 2015-2016
Academic WorldQuest, a flagship program of the World Affairs Councils of America that engages more than 4,000 high school students annually across the U.S. to test their knowledge of global issues and foreign policy, has received a $500,000 commitment from a generous supporter. Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio, Texas, a businessman and philanthropist who serves on the WACA National Board of Directors, made the pledge as part of the nonprofit organization’s campaign to endow the Academic WorldQuest national competition. He is making the gift with his wife, Malu – the gift would be the largest to date for any World Affairs Councils of America fundraising initiative.

“Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez’s generosity is an inspiring affirmation of the purpose of Academic WorldQuest – to offer young people a fun and interactive way to learn about critical challenges facing the U.S. and the world – and their gift will enable WACA to sustain and expand the Academic WorldQuest national competition while enhancing support for educational programs provided by 96 local nonprofit World Affairs Councils,” says Bill Clifford, WACA President and CEO. “They truly understand the value of educating and engaging the public, and especially students, in international affairs and we are incredibly grateful for their commitment.” Read More

Thank You to Our Sponsors:
Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, CIEE, NATO, East-West Center 
ICI Education Foundation, Johnson+Sterling

About Academic WorldQuest

Weekly World News Update

The World Affairs Councils of America's National Office is pleased to share with you Weekly World News Update every Wednesday. An initiative of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, this weekly digest of thought-provoking pieces from respected global sources has become very popular with the Pittsburgh Council's members, as well as colleagues across our network, since its launch in 2013. We believe that all 96 World Affairs Councils will find value in this free weekly service.

Read Weekly World News Update for November 25, 2015

'Cover to Cover' Monthly Author Series

Our December Cover to Cover will feature William McCants on The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State. The call will take place on Wednesday, December 16, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET. WACA President Bill Clifford will moderate the call.

Register for the call 

WACA's November Cover to Cover featured award-winning journalist and former speechwriter for the Department of State Rena Pederson on The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the Struggle for the Soul of a Nation. The call took place on Thursday, November 5, at 2:00 PM ET.. WACA President Bill Clifford moderated the call. 

 Learn More About Cover to Cover 

Spotlight on Turkey 2015

The 2015 Spotlight on Turkey program, conducted in partnership with the Turkish Cultural Foundation, was launched this month with the selection of 12 local Councils. 
The 2015 councils are: Santa Fe Council on International Relations, World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (Hawaii), Northern Nevada International Center, Montana World Affairs Council, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, Dayton Council on World Affairs, World Affairs Council of Las Vegas, World Affairs Council of Seattle, World Affairs Council of Houston, World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California.

With a Teachers Workshop in the spring, a Teachers Study Tour in the summer, and public cultural programs in the fall, the program emphasizes classroom learning and public education about Turkey and its contributions to the global community. More Information

Hot Topics on Rising Global Terrorism

WACA hosted a Hot Topics conversation Measuring the Impact of Global Terrorism with Steve Killelea, Founder & Executive Chairman, Institute for Economics and Peace.  

The call was held on Thursday, November 19th at 3:00-3:30 PM ET. WACA President and CEO Bill Clifford moderated the call.

In 2007, Australian high-tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea founded the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), an international think tank dedicated to building a greater understanding of the interconnection between business, peace, and economics with particular emphasis on the economic benefits of peace. IEP's ground-breaking research includes the Global Peace Index and the Global Terrorism Index. (Full bio)

The 2015 Global Terrorism Index measures the impact of terrorism in 162 countries, covering 99% of the world's population. It investigates the patterns of terrorism by geographic activity, methods of attack, organizations involved, and national economic and political contexts. Steve Killelea will discuss the findings of the latest trends of Global Terrorism in this conference call. 

BoardSource Webinars: WACA Councils Attend for Free!

Leaders within the WACA network are eligible to become part of BoardSource's membership community of more than 26,000 nonprofit leaders across the U.S. The National Office encourages all Councils to take advantage and sign up for a complimentary BoardSource membership
November Webinar: Building a Collaborative Board Team
This webinar  will explore team building and the importance of determining a common purpose, developing trust, managing power and group dynamics, and fostering an innovative culture focused on leading together for better governance and ultimately the public good.

Featured Speaker: David Styers  is  a senior governance consultant for BoardSource. He serves as the manager of program and business development at the Presidio Institute, where he presents leadership development programs and convenes events that equip and connect champions for change. He is a Certified Governance Trainer, Civic Change Leadership Trainer, and Youth Leadership Trainer.

This BoardSource webinar will be held 
Thursday, November 18, at 2:00-3:00 pm ET
If you have activated your BoardSource membership, simply 

Register Here

Migration Crisis

With the WACA National Office's facilitation, several Councils over the coming months will host  Anne RichardAssistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration ( bio ). A/S Richard will speak about the record number of refugees and migrants, and what Americans can do about the crisis.


Rational Middle Program Series

The World Affairs Councils of America is pleased to continue  its national program series in partnership with the Rational Middle Energy Series. The 22-episode documentary film series, with more than 3.5 million views and/or downloads, has sparked a movement based on productive conversation around the current energy challenge and what it will take to achieve a cleaner energy future .More Information.

2015 European Union Outreach

Using the time period on or around May 9, Europe Day, as a focal point, this Engage America program is designed to raise awareness, knowledge, and understanding about EU policies, the EU's role as an international actor, and the value of the EU-US relationship. Events will have a wide European scope rather than focusing exclusively on one Member State of the EU, or bilateral relations between the US region and one Member State. Activities will highlight local and regional economic, social, and cultural connections to Europe and the local and regional impacts of those connections. More Information

WACA National Conference

Held annually for over two decades, the World Affairs Councils of America's National Conference engages our regional leaders and members drawn from the business, civic, and education communities with leading policy-makers and experts.


WACA's 2015 National Conference

Was held on November 11-13, titled Leading America: Foreign Policy Challenges and the 2016 Election. The Conference provided original and essential insights. Keynote speakers and relevant panel discussion - on the Middle East, great power rivals Russia and China, the global economy, energy, and transnational challenges from cyber to migration - framed the foreign policy agenda for candidates. Council programs in 2016 will be enriched by the policy conversations and networking that take place here. The Conference were held at The Fairfax at Embassy Row Hotel, in Washington, DC.  

Leadership Mission to Taiwan

The World Affairs Councils of America Leadership Delegation visited Taiwan. The Leadership Mission took place through June 21, 2015. The delegation included:
Mr. Bill Clifford - Head of Delegation
President & CEO, World Affairs Councils of America

James Allen
Chair, Colorado Springs World Affairs Council
Chad Bettes
Director & Past President, International Relations Council of Kansas City

Shelby Kardas
Vice President, Administration & Development, World Affairs Council of Oregon

Farah Killidar
CEO, World Affairs Council of Houston

Kimberly McLaughlin
Assistant Treasurer, World Affairs Council of Maine

Roger Naik
World Affairs Council of Atlanta

Judy Rubinstein
Board Member, Naples Council on World Affairs

Alida Skold
Board Member, World Affairs Council of Seattle

Future of Korea 2014-2015

We are pleased to announce continued collaboration with the Korea Economic Institute of America on the Future of Korea program series. The speaker program focuses on the economic and political situation on the Korean Peninsula as well as U.S.-Korea relations.

The centerpiece of the program is a panel discussion consisting of one representative each from the U.S. Department of State, the Korean Embassy, KEI, or other relevant institutions. The panel participants typically offer a general overview presentation (approximately 60-90 minutes in length), followed by a Q&A period. The speakers address political, security, economic and financial issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula and U.S.-Korea relations. 


The application deadline has passed. Participating councils will be informed of their selection shortly.

Ambassador Roman Popadiuk Elected Chair of the WACA National Board

The World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) has announced that Ambassador Roman Popadiuk, a principal at Morgan Lewis Consulting, has been elected as chairman of the national Board of Directors of WACA, the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit network in the United States dedicated to educating the public on global issues.


"Ambassador Popadiuk brings the complete package to this position - high-level experience in business and in government, expertise in nonprofit leadership, and the vision to strengthen and grow our nationwide network of World Affairs Councils," said WACA President and CEO Bill Clifford. Read More

World Affairs Councils of America Wins DANDI Award

The World Affairs Councils of America is pleased to announce that it was honored with the Diversity and Inclusion (DANDI) Award in the international category.
Accepting the honor at the 3rd Annual DANDI Awards Ceremony in New York City on December 1st, WACA President and CEO Bill Clifford said:
"The World Affairs Councils of America believes everyone benefits when we create a public environment where a diverse community is challenged to share ideas about international issues while considering other points of view. For our Councils, which put a premium on civil dialogue, the commitment to the values of inclusion and diversity of thought and perspective makes us better learners, employees, leaders, and citizens."
See our video above, submitted following WACA's nomination for a 2014 DANDI Award.
For more on the DANDIs, visit their website here. Read the press release here

World Affairs Council Travel Programs

Travel the World from the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
Just Announced: Council Leaders to Lecture on Travel the World tours!

Mimi Gregory, Vice President, Naples Council on World Affairs, Grand Danube: August 8-23, 2015. 

Kay Maxwell, Executive Director, World Affairs Forum Stamford, Vietnam and Cambodia: October 12-27, 2015. 

Dr. Carla Thorson, Senior Vice President of Programs, World Affairs Council of Northern California, Cuba: December 6-14, 2015. 

Ambassador Mark Johnson, Board, Montana World Affairs Council, The Mediterranean Through the Centuries: October 14-25. 2015. 

Dr. Jerry W. Leach, Former President, World Affairs Councils of America, Turquoise Coast Cruise, October 27-November 4, 2015. 

Contact or call 1-800-942-5004 x209 or x217.

There are over 80 World Affairs Council events scheduled this month across the country. Sign up for the WACA Weekly Digest to receive updates from around the network that include programs you can attend, participate in virtually, get ideas about speakers, or model format. We encourage you to follow-up with the sponsoring council for more information. If we missed something or if you have a program that you would like highlighted on our website or in the WACA Weekly, please contact Althea Georgantas at

The World Affairs Councils of America represents and supports the largest national non-partisan network of local councils that are dedicated to educating, inspiring and engaging Americans in international affairs and the critical global issues of our times.

Log-in for WACA Leadership and Staff: Access the Discussion Board, Resource Materials, Available Authors, Event Calendar Administration, and post your recommended speakers.

1918 Society Members

Carlson & The Carlson Family Foundation

Carnegie Corporation of New York


The Claremont Group

The Coca-Cola Company

Delegation of the European Union to the United States

Eden Hall Foundation


Foreign Policy Association

The Gambrinus Company

Global Ties U.S.

Goldman Sachs


The Holmes Organisation

Johnson + Sterling

Mr. Michael Phillip


Rational Middle Energy Series


Rosetta Stone


Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center  

Thomson Reuters

Tomassian, Throckmorton & Inouye LLP

Turkish Cultural Foundation

Van Andel Institute