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Academic WorldQuest

Carlos and Malu Alvarez Make Unprecedented Donation Commitment
World Affairs Councils of America would like to thank Carlos and Malu Alvarez for their $500,000 commitment to endow the Academic WorldQuest national competition. Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio, Texas, serves on the WACA National Board of Directors, made the pledge along with his wife as part of the nonprofit organization's campaign to endow the Academic WorldQuest national competition. The commitment is the largest to date for any World Affairs Councils of America fundraising initiative.

'Cover to Cover' Monthly Author Series

June's Cover to Cover hosts Walter Laqueur, historian and author of Putinism: Russia and Its Future with the West. The call will be held on Thursday, June 18, at 2:00 PM ET. WACA President Bill Clifford will moderate the call.

For two decades, Laqueur has been ahead of the curve, predicting events in post-Soviet Russia with uncanny accuracy. In Putinism, he deftly demonstrates how three long-standing pillars of Russian ideology: a strong belief in the Orthodox Church, a sense of Eurasian "manifest destiny" and a fear of foreign enemies, continue to exert a powerful influence on the Russian populous. Looking to the future, Laqueur explains how America's tendency to see Russia as a Cold War relic is dangerous and premature. As the situation in Ukraine has already demonstrated, Russia can and will challenge the West and it is in our best interest to figure out exactly who it is we are facing--and what they want--before it is too late. 

Walter Laqueur
 was the director of the Institute of Contemporary History in London for 30 years. Concurrently, he served as chairman of the International Research Council of CSIS in Washington, DC. He was also a professor at Georgetown University and is the author of more than 25 books including After the Fall andThe Last Days of Europe. He has had articles published in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and countless other newspapers worldwide.
Save the Date: Our July Cover to Cover will feature Nina Ansary, journalist and author of Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran. The call will take place on Tuesday, July 14, at 2:00 PM ET.  
May's Cover to Cover hosted Chris Woods, London-based investigative journalist and author of Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone WarsListen to the Recording

1918 Society Trip to Centro Fox

The World Affairs Councils of America will host a special 1918 Society Members Trip to Guanajuato, Mexico to visit Centro Fox, the presidential library of former Mexican President Vicente Fox. The trip will be held May 21-24, 2015. Details

During the four-day visit, attendees will dine with President and Mrs. Fox, receive tours of Guanajuato City and Centro Fox, visit the tequila distillery Corralejo Hacienda, and more. All attendees will stay at Hacienda San Cristobal
The cost of this trip is $1499, payable to the World Affairs Councils of America, and does not include airfare. This opportunity is open to current 1918 Society members. 
Please contact Ian J. Byrne, Manager of Outreach, at 
or 202-833-4557 to register and for more information. 
About Guanajuato
Located in the state of the same name, the city of Guanajuato is a World Heritage Site and a historically rich area. Guanajuato is known for its fascinating architecture, which was heavily influenced by its background as a mining town, and its unique layout, which follows the natural terrain of the valley instead of the standard grid plan of colonial towns in New Spain.

About Centro Fox
Centro Fox, official name The Vicente Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum, is a presidential history center founded by former President of Mexico Vicente Fox on the site of his childhood home in San Cristobal. The mission of Centro Fox is to "contribute to the training of leaders based on social values."

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 May 20, 2015

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

Congratulations to Academic WorldQuest 2015 Winners and Participants
The World Affairs Councils of America is proud to present the winners of the 2015 Academic WorldQuest National Competition! Congratulations to First Place duPont Manual High School from the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. See all winners and more details.

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

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

Thank You to Our 2015 Sponsors:
NATO, Johnson+Sterling, ICI Education Foundation,
Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation, and CIEE
Embassy Reception Host: Delegation of the
European Union to the United States

2014-2015 Program Information

About Academic WorldQuest

1918 Society Conference Call

The World Affairs Councils of America hosted a 1918 Society Members Conference Call with Ambassador James B. Cunningham, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, on The Future of Afghanistan on April 29.

Ambassador James B. Cunningham served as U.S Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2011 to December 2014. Before his tenure in Kabul, Ambassador Cunningham was the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, beginning August 2008. Prior to Israel, he was U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong, responsible for the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China. Previously, he was Ambassador and Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1999-2004) and Acting Permanent Representative from January to September 2001. Ambassador Cunningham holds the rank of Career Minister in the Foreign Service.

Rational Middle Energy Series

The World Affairs Councils of America is pleased to announce a new national program series in partnership with The Rational Middle Energy SeriesWith nearly 2 million views and counting, the 22-film series has sparked a movement based on productive conversation around the current energy challenge and what it will take to achieve a cleaner energy future.
The film screening-and-discussion series, moderated by producer and director Gregory Kallenberg, will be offered to World Affairs Councils across the U.S. through a competitive bidding process. Programs will be underway across the country shortly.

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. Please share the link - with Council colleagues, staff, and all Board members - and enjoy an array of benefits and easy-to-access news, resources, and best-practices webinars in nonprofit board leadership, as well as practical experience and suggestions from other members of BoardSource's community. Be sure to sign up today!

2015 WACA Spring Leadership Meeting

The World Affairs Councils of America hosted Member Council executives, staff, and board members at this year's Spring Leadership Meeting. The program provided a unique, concentrated opportunity for fellow Council leaders to network and discuss best practices. 

The World Affairs Councils of America thanks the World Affairs Council of Atlanta for hosting the program, including an excellent Opening Reception on Thursday evening, March 26, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Attendees enjoyed engaging with Fed Atlanta President & CEO Dennis Lockhart. Mr. Lockhart is the founding chairman of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta.

2014 WACA National Conference

The World Affairs Councils of America thanks all sponsors, speakers, embassy reception hosts, and attendees for helping to make the 2014 National Conference a great success.

Whether or not you attended the Conference, we want to hear from you in order to best serve the network next year: 2014 National Conference Survey

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. 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.

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

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

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. More Information

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

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.

Leadership Mission to Taiwan

The World Affairs Councils of America is proud to announce the Leadership Delegation to Taiwan. The Leadership Mission will take place June 13-21, 2015. The delegation includes:
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

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!

Anna Berry, Executive Director, World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, Burgundy & Provence River Cruise: May 3-14.

Mimi Gregory, Vice President of Programs, Naples Council on World Affairs, Inside Iran: May 18 - June 1.

Dr. Gail Stevenson, Executive Director, Vermont Council on World Affairs, Norwegian Splendor: June 11 - 26.

Maria Wulff, President, World Affairs Council of Oregon, Coastal Life from the Adriatic to the Aegean, June 15 - 23.

Dr. Carla Thorson, Senior Vice President of Programs, World Affairs Council of Northern California, South Africa: August 17 - 28.

Kay Maxwell, Executive Director, World Affairs Forum Stamford, Viet Nam and Cambodia: October 12 – 27. 

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

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

There are over 100 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

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


Thomson Reuters

Tomassian, Throckmorton & Inouye LLP

Turkish Cultural Foundation

Van Andel Institute