December, 2016
President's Letter
Althea Georgantas Farewell
WACA 2016 National Conference
FPA Honors Dixie Anderson
Council of the Month: Columbia WAC
Cover to Cover Author Series
Middle East Program Series
WAC of Pittsburgh to Host Jeffrey Rathke
World Affairs Councils in the News
Travel the World
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President's Letter 

Dear Council Leaders , Supporters, and Friends:

Change is everywhere, and we have choices: we can embrace change, move with it, resist change, or ignore it. Only the latter option is foolhardy.

As we learned at last month's stimulating WACA National Conference: America and Global Megatrends, the U.S. election prompted some of our invited speakers to move with change and adjust their prepared remarks. Senator George Mitchell tried to relegate the subject of his new book on the Middle East to the Q&A session, to focus instead on the agenda and expectations of the Trump administration. Our audience moved, too: virtually all the questions were focused on domestic issues, such as civil liberties; immigration was a close as we came to international queries.

We are seeing new approaches in the nomination process for Cabinet positions, including auditions before the press at Jean Georges restaurant in Manhattan. We are seeing departures from decades of foreign policy, with the President-elect's telephone call with Taiwan's leader. And Mr. Trump's tweets criticizing Beijing's monetary policy and maneuvers in disputed Asian waters may herald new-wave diplomacy, that could upend both conduct and policy.

The job and relevance of WACA and World Affairs Councils are as important as ever. A hallmark of our nonpartisan forums is their civility, a quality the election campaign revealed to be increasingly and disturbingly lacking. We ought to hold the incoming administration to account for what Mr. Trump pledged in his acceptance speech: a sense of unity and inclusion; honor for our institutions, and respect for each other. Another of our Conference speakers, Carl Gershman, highlighted the challenges facing American democracy and democracies elsewhere. Whether we examine his argument from the Republican, Democrat, or Independent perspective, it is clear we must address these challenges together.

I am sober about our responsibilities as citizens and excited for what the Council network can do in the coming months and years. In the short-term, WACA will be grappling with an internal change: it is very bittersweet to say farewell this month to Althea Georgantas, who as you will see below, is about to take on a new professional challenge. She has been a superb colleague, and I could not be happier for her or more proud of her.

Lian Esehaki, Tori Baskind, and I wish our friend well as we move with this change, until a successor to Althea is found whom we can all embrace.

Wishing you a fulfilling holiday season,

Bill Clifford, President and CEO
WACA Bids Althea Georgantas Farewell

The World Affairs Councils of America would like to sincerely thank Althea Georgantas, Program and Office Manager at the WACA National Office, for her seven years of service to the mission of the World Affairs Councils. Althea has played a major role in delivering the WACA National Conference, Academic WorldQuest, grant funded program series, and equally vital day-to-day administration duties. Her superior dedication to the goals of our organization never wavered. We wish Althea all the best both professionally and personally as she moves on to a new position at Exponent Philanthropy in Washington DC.
WACA 2016 National Conference 

We are grateful to all attendees, speakers, and sponsors who participated in the WACA 2016 National Conference. Thank you for making it such a successful and memorable event! 

WACA will soon provide official recordings of the Conference on our YouTube channel. Meanwhile, Tennessee World Affairs Council CEO  Patrick Ryan recorded two keynote videos that we are pleased to share with you.  

The Honorable Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and David Abney, Chairman & CEO of UPS - Ambassadors Luncheon Keynote: Shaping the American Competitiveness Agenda for the 21st Century

Senator George J. Mitchell gives Opening Dinner Keynote on "A Path to Peace." 
Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, provides a keynote on "The Challenge of Resurgent Authoritarianism."
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Chairman & CEO of UPS
 David Abney, give the Ambassadors Luncheon keynote on American Competitiveness moderated by CFR's Edward Alden.

WACA Conference Scholarship sponsors Carlos and MalĂș Alvarez with this year's Scholarship Recipients .

Conference Survey
We emailed a 2016 Conference Survey to all Conference attendees. Your opinions are extremely valuable and will help us plan next year's program. If you have not yet filled out the survey, please take a moment to share your feedback with us. The last day to fill out the Survey is Thursday, December 8

Save the Date! 
WACA's 2017 National Conference will be held  November 8-10  at the  Capital Hilton . We look forward to your attendance! 

Special thanks to our 2016 Conference sponsors:
NATO logo
          fpa logo 1918  
FPA Honors Dixie Anderson
Dixie Anderson, Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan for the last twenty years, was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal, at the WACA 2016 Conference, for her outstanding work with Great Decisions in Western Michigan.
Dixie Anderson and Noel Lateef, President of FPA.
This unique award recognizes individuals who demonstrate responsible internationalism and work to expand public knowledge of international affairs. Past recipients include Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City; Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank; Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia; Sheila C. Bair, Chairman, FDIC, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, among others.
On behalf of the Council network, the WACA National Office congratulates Dixie on this great honor!
Council of the Month: Columbia WAC

Columbia logo
The WACA National Office this month recognizes the Columbia World Affairs Council for programming excellence, especially the Global Vision Award Gala.

This year, the gala honored Governor Nikki R. Haley (South Carolina-R), for her significant contributions to expanding the state's international engagement and economic development. Governor Haley has just been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump for the position of United States Ambassador to the UN. The Global Vision Award is presented to leaders who have made contributions to further South Carolina's global status. Past recipients include Dr. Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina, and Richard W. Riley, former Governor of South Carolina and Secretary of Education.

Councils and friends, be sure to submit your nominee for Council of the Month to Lian Esehaki at .
Cover to Cover Author Series 

Next month, Cover to Cover will feature author Philip J. Crowley on his new book Red Line: American Foreign Policy in a Time of Fractured Politics and Failing States , on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 2:00 - 2:30 PM ET

P.J. Crowley, is Professor of Practice and Fellow at the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at The George Washington University. He served as Assistant Secretary of State and Spokesman (2009-11) for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Crowley appears frequently as a national security commentator on national and global television networks, including as a regular contributor to the BBC.
Middle East Program Series 

With generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, WACA is delighted to present a fresh Engage America Speaker Series on  American Policy in the Middle East for a New Administration . Eight World Affairs Councils will participate in the program which is designed to inform the American public about policy options in response to opportunities as well as the multiple interconnected crises in the Middle East.  By bringing together policymakers and experts from the U.S. in public forums hosted by Councils, members of the public will benefit from balanced and high-level analysis to which they would not otherwise have access.

Upcoming events:
December 14 WorldDenver
WAC of Pittsburgh to Host Jeffrey Rathke

Pittsburgh The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh will host Jeffrey Rathke , Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), as a keynote speaker during their 85th annual meeting on December 13, for a discussion on "The Future of Europe, U.S. Interests, and American Leadership."

  Mr. Rathke, a Pittsburgh native, was a featured speaker at the CSIS "think tank offsite" visit at the WACA National Conference last month, where he discussed "Transatlantic Relations" with our members and leaders. He is a retired Foreign Service Officer and former Director at the State Department Press Office ( full bio ).
Councils in the News

World Affairs Councils of America

Columbia World Affairs Council

World Affairs Council of Atlanta


Sarasota World Affairs Council

International Center of the Capital Region

World Affairs Council of Western Colorado

World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California

Northern Nevada International Center

Global Minnesota

World Affairs Council of the Desert

International Institute of Buffalo
Travel the World from WAC Philadelphia

Just Announced:  Council Leaders to Lecture on Travel the World tours from the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia!
Ambassador Heather Hodges, President & Ambassador-in-Residence, Cleveland Council on World Affairs,  Colombia Rediscovered : February 3 - 13.

Joyce M. Davis, President, World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, Journey to  Southern Africa:  February 26 - March 13.

Megan Torrey, Executive Director, World Affairs Council of Connecticut,  Cultural Cuba:  March 26 - April 3.

Jim Falk, President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth,  Inside Iran:  April 21 - May 4.

Mimi Gregory, Vice President and Program Chairman, Naples Council on World Affairs,  Cruise the Face of Europe :   May 15 - 30.

Trina Medarev, Executive Director, World Affairs Council of Jacksonville,  Italian Riviera & Chianti:  June 11 - 20.

Dr. Carla Thorson, Senior Vice President of Programs, World Affairs Councils of Northern California,  Circumnavigation of Iceland: August 1 - 9. 

Kay Maxwell, Executive Director, World Affairs Forum, Stamford,  Silk Road Odyssey: October 1 - 20.

Derrick Olsen, President, World Affairs Council of  Oregon,  Trade Routes of Coastal Iberia :  October 9 - 17.

Craig Snyder, President and CEO, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia,  Burma :   October 10 - 22.

Ambassador Mark Johnson, Founder, World Affairs Council of Montana,  Mystique of the Orient:  October 17 - 29.

Dr. Jerry Leach, former President, World Affairs Councils of America,  Inside Morocco:  October 20 - November 2.

Contact or call 1-800-942-5004, extension 209 or 217.

The World Affairs Councils of America 

1200 18th St., NW, Suite 902, Washington, DC 20036

Phone (202) 833-4557  Fax (202) 833-4555

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