Every month, WACA selects one our Member Councils to be Council of the Month for outstanding programming, contributions to the WACA network, or other notable achievements. Check out our current star Council and our past Councils of the Month!
The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan has developed a strong reputation in the region for its comprehensive Great Decisions series, held annually in February and March. View the 2020 season's lineup now!
For eight consecutive weeks, global experts speak to WACWM members on a range of strategic international topics. Attendees have two opportunities to engage directly in Grand Rapids with presenters: Monday nights in the Aquinas College Performing Arts Center and Tuesday afternoons in the Calvin University Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall (see photo).
The Tuesday presentations are livestreamed to member corporate partners and across the state, to sites such as Northern Michigan University, the City of Holland, Montcalm Community College, Western Michigan University—and even to an institution in Germany, Rhein-Wall University. The speaker-experts brought to West Michigan are also scheduled for smaller interactions at business roundtables, in college classrooms, and with civic leaders.
January 6, 2020 Newsletter Update -- Read the full newsletter here!
The first 2020 "Council of the Month" recognition goes to the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan! WACWM will inaugurate an annual Vandenberg Prize to a national or international leader who has been influential in developing global understanding and collaboration on the world stage. The Vandenberg Prize is named after Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg (1881-1951), who inspired the founding of the Council in 1949 by Grand Rapids attorney (and later Federal Judge) Douglas Hillman and businessman Edgar Orr.
The first recipient of the Vandenberg Prize is Ambassador (ret.) Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., former Ambassador of the U.S. to Russia (2017-19) at the appointment of President Trump, to China (2009-11) at the appointment of President Obama, and to Singapore (1992-93) at the appointment of President George H.W. Bush. The award will be presented at a luncheon Tuesday, January 14.
“Ambassador Huntsman has demonstrated a lifelong interest in forging strong international ties for the United States, and his bipartisan service shows a willingness, like Senator Vandenberg, to bring people together for good of the country and the world,” said WACWM Board President Dick Gauthier.