The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan sponsors an annual Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Workshop for its corporate and educational members, thanks to a collaboration with global company Wolverine Worldwide and the Cultural Intelligence Center (CIC). Wolverine’s impressive campus provides a beneficial setting and the CIC helps Council members assess and improve effectiveness in culturally diverse work settings. This January, 35 professionals took the Council-organized CQ course, representing 11 of the Council’s corporate partners.
Participants learned why culture matters, mapped out their organization’s cultural diversity, examined their individual CQ assessments, and interacted together on ways to improve CQ drive, knowledge, strategy, and action.
Comments from participants were overwhelmingly positive: “It was time well spent…actually one of the workshops that could be longer.” “It was very informative, and I walked away with some changes that I will be making.” “The workshop was good. I appreciated the content and thought the information related to our personal assessments was helpful. The facilitator did a great job!”
The annual CQ Workshop is a prime example of how the Council works in concert with its member companies and local organizations to provide world-aware resources for the people of West Michigan.
The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan partners annually with the Kent District Library (KDL) for a free community series on issues important to the region. Past topics included civil discourse, peacemaking, and immigration. The 2020 series will be on “The Future of Work." Stay tuned for more details from the Council this upcoming March!
In 2019, the Council and KDL presented a series of four events titled “Oceans, Lakes, and Streams: Protecting Water Globally and Locally.” Beginning with Dr. David Guggenheim, known as “Doctor Ocean,” moving to the State of the Great Lakes and ending with a local panel of experts on the rivers and streams within the county, the series sought to provide credible information and paths to action for everyone attending.
A particularly moving presentation was led by Anna Clark (second from right), author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy discussing “Learning from the Flint Water Crisis.” The Poisoned City was named one of the best books of the year in 2018 by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, and more. Clark walked attendees though the troubled history of Flint, the series of events that brought environmental distress to that city’s residents, and the infrastructure challenges many American cities face that without attention will lead to future urban water disasters.
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.
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.