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2014 WACA National Conference

The World Affairs Councils of America hosted its 2014 National Conference, America and the World 2015, on November 5-7 at The Fairfax at Embassy Row Hotel in Washington, DC

Held annually for over two decades, the Conference engages our national network's leaders and members drawn from the business, civic, and education communities with leading policy-makers and experts. Confirmed Speakers and Embassy Receptions

The 2014 National Conference Agenda (available here) examined: China, the U.S., and Asia; Russia/Eurasia; Cybersecurity; Future of Education; Youth, Jobs, and Social Unrest; Food and Water; Global Economic Realignment; Future of Energy; Africa; and Climate Change. 

We Thank Our Generous 2014 National Conference Sponsors
Google, Chevron, The Gambrinus Company, Shell,
The Rational Middle Energy Series, NATO, Foreign Policy Association,
ExxonMobil, Johnson Sterling, Inc., The Claremont Group
and Global Ties U.S.

Leadership Mission to the People's Republic of China

The World Affairs Councils of America and Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) hosted a Leadership Mission to the People's Republic of China from October 11-19, 2014. The Leadership Delegation attended meetings at government agencies, companies, NGOs and the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies. Stay tuned for the trip report.

A Leadership Mission is a working visit made by a WACA National Leadership Delegation to a foreign country. It is an important membership benefit for our network leaders and sponsors. Missions allow participants to obtain firsthand knowledge of the host country, which helps them to design and operate programs, events and activities for their councils that make a real difference in fostering grassroots understanding and engagement in international affairs.

The Leadership Delegation met with U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus (center)
at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

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 over 18 months ago. We believe that all 92 World Affairs Councils will find value in this free weekly service.

Read Weekly World News Update for November 19, 2014

'Cover to Cover' Monthly Author Series

The World Affairs Councils of America's author series hosted Ambassador Christopher R. Hill on his new memoir Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy. The call was held on October 6. WACA President Bill Clifford moderated the call. A recording of the call is available here.

Amb. Christopher R. Hill
 is Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He writes a monthly column for the online journal Project Syndicate. He was a career diplomat, a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents. Hill has received many State Department awards including the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award and the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations. Full Bio

Best Practices Teleconferences

We have offered great opportunities twice a year to share "Best Practices": at Leadership Day workshops at the National Conference and at Spring Leadership Meetings held around the country. We would like to make the WACA national network's wealth of knowledge available year-round. 

The World Affairs Councils of America's National Office will host informative teleconferences every month so that Council peers can discuss Best Practices to make our programs more impactful and our organizations more effective. 

We have planned three teleconferences through the end of 2014. We also encourage you to suggest ideas for future Best Practices conference calls to shape our 2015 agenda.

Special thanks to WACA National Board Vice-Chair Dixie Anderson and the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan for taking the lead on this initiative.

Tuesday, October 21
How Your Council Can Use Social Media
Discussion led by Shannon McAfee, Director of Public Programs, Columbus (Ohio) World Affairs Council and Madonna Kramer, Director of Events/Programming, World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. Listen to the recording.

November 5 Leadership Day at National Conference
See you on Wednesday, November 5, in Washington, DC! No teleconference schedule this month because of Leadership Day at the 2014 National Conference

Tuesday, December 9, 4:00 PM ET
Programs that Attract Young Professionals
Discussion led by Trina Medarev, Executive Director, World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.
September 2014
Alternative Programming
Discussion led by Steven E. Sokol, President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Listen to the recording.
The National Office will send out reminders for each of these one week before and repeat the call-in number.  We look forward to having you on the calls and sharing your ideas and concerns with the rest of us.

2014-2015 Academic WorldQuest

2014-2015 Academic WorldQuest Topics
Russia / Eurasia Human Trafficking
Youth, Jobs, and Social Unrest Future of Energy

Millennium Development Goals: 2015 and Beyond 

Food and Water
Asia and the New Global Economy Great Decisions
Africa Rising Current Events


2014-2015 AWQ Study Guide Available Here

National Competition
The 2015 Academic WorldQuest National Competition will take place Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC.

2014-2015 Program Information

About Academic WorldQuest

Combating Human Trafficking

Carlson & The Carlson Family Foundation and the World Affairs Councils of America continue their partnership in a national program on combating human trafficking. More than 30 World Affairs Councils participated in the 2013 program, which featured screenings of the documentary film Not My Life. The 2014 program will feature discussion forums as well as film showings. Click here to see the schedule for the 2014 program.

As you know, WACA's 2013 National Conference in November featured a keynote address by Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former Chairman and CEO, Carlson, Inc. U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Co-chairs of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, joined the keynote discussion. It is both an honor and a responsibility that WACA embraces to advance public dialogue on this critical topic.

Understanding Muslim Societies

The World Affairs Councils of America, with the generous support of Carnegie Corporation of New York, continues its very successful Engage America Series Understanding Muslim Societies. The program will be held throughout 2014 and focuses on countries in the Middle East, as well as Afghanistan/Pakistan, and those relevant rising economic powers that are competing globally with the United States, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. More Information

Freedom and Power in the Digital Age

The World Affairs Councils of America is pleased to announce a new Engage America Speaker Series in partnership with Google:

Freedom and Power in the Digital Age
Eight councils were selected to host the program, which feature notable Google experts as speakers and is supported by a grant from Google. The program also includes an Educators Seminar with a separate team of Google experts who will address how teachers and students can best leverage the tools of the new digital age to further their educational missions. Click here for more information.

1918 Society Conference Call on Energy in the 21st Century

The World Affairs Councils of America hosted Karen Alderman Harbert, President and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for a 1918 Society Conference Call on September 9. The call was moderated by WACA President and CEO Bill Clifford.

Karen Alderman Harbert
 is president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy (Institute). Harbert leads the Institute's efforts to build support for meaningful energy action nationally and internationally through policy development, education, and advocacy. Under Harbert's leadership, the Energy Institute has evolved into a premier national and international organization dedicated to advancing a constructive energy agenda with the business community, policymakers, and consumers. Harbert frequently testifies in front of Congress and provides analysis to the media, policymakers, and industry leaders. Full Bio
Interested in joining the 1918 Society? Learn more here.

Spotlight on Turkey 2014

The World Affairs Councils of America is pleased to announce its eighth year of collaboration with the Turkish Cultural Foundation on the national Spotlight on Turkey program. The program runs a full calendar year and focuses on giving an overview of the history of Anatolia and Turkey with a special emphasis on Turkish culture to American educators and the general public.

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

Future of Korea 2013-2014

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.

WACA Virtual Library

Christian Sahner provides insight into Syria’s civil war and the impact of the emergence of the Islamic State through the lens of history. What can the country's past tell us about its future?

Christian Sahner is a historian of the Middle East. He is author of the book, "Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present" (Oxford University Press/ C. Hurst & Co). A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, he is currently completing his doctorate at Princeton, focusing on the role of non-Muslims in medieval Islamic societies. His essays have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.

CONTEXT is distributed in partnership with the World Affairs Councils of America. For more CONTEXT episodes, visit our Virtual Library.

The WACA Virtual Library also contains recordings from the World Affairs Councils of America National Conference, sponsored programs, and recordings from our Hot Topics Conference Calls.

Visit the Virtual Library

Six Top Issues 2014

The World Affairs Councils of America conducts a yearly survey asking the World Affairs Councils regional leadership to select the Six Top Issues for the president in the coming year. The annual National Conference in November launches the National Network discussion of the Six Top Issues and frames the yearly national programming. The issues selected for 2014 are Cybersecurity, U.S. Energy Independence, Global Economic Realignment, Middle East, Global Environment Issues, K-12 Education.

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!

L.J. Stambuk, President & CEO, World Affairs Council of Charlotte, Croatia and Slovenia:  September 7 – 20.

Ambassador Marilyn McAfee, Chair, World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, Inside Iran:  October 5 – 19.

Dr. Steven Sokol, President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, Turkish Treasures:  October 17 – 31.

Ambassador Heather Hodges, President and Ambassador in Residence, Cleveland Council on World Affairs, South American Tapestry:  October 16 – November 2.

Ambassador Mark Johnson, Founder, World Affairs Council of Montana, Landscapes of the Mediterranean:  October 23 – November 6.

Maria Wulff, President, World Affairs Council of Oregon, Best of Tanzania: November 1-11.

Maria Zammit, World Affairs Council of Hampton Roads, Sri Lanka: February 4-18

Contact or call 800-942-5004 x 209 or 217.

There are over 120 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 Ian J. Byrne 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

Duke Energy

Eden Hall Foundation


The Gambrinus Company

Goldman Sachs


The Holmes Organisation

Johnson + Sterling

Mr. Michael Phillip



Rosetta Stone

Steelcase, Inc.

Thomson Reuters

Tomassian, Throckmorton & Inouye LLP

Turkish Cultural Foundation

Van Andel Institute