February, 2017
President's Letter
1918 Society Call on U.S.-Mexico Relations
Future of Korea Program Series
Middle East Program Series
Cover to Cover
WACA Podcasts
AWQ 2016-2017
World Affairs Councils in the News
Travel the World
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President's Letter 

Dear Council Leaders, Supporters, and Friends:

It's here. The preening, careening campaign has transitioned to the Oval Office. President Trump, in unleashing a wave of executive orders and intensifying his self-proclaimed "running war with the media," shows no more inclination to unify the nation than he did in his dark Inaugural Address.

That speech has spawned a wide spectrum of strange bedfellows aghast at the Trump brand of economic nationalism: conservative columnist and Fox favorite Charles Krauthammer warns of the foreign policy peril of abandoning 70 years of America's global leadership; meanwhile, liberal economist and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman posits the new approach on trade will make the Rust Belt rustier, harming the interests of the president's core voter base.

In its first 10 days, the Trump administration was treated to unprecedented peaceful protests, in global solidarity with the Jan. 21 Women's March in Washington, across 60 countries and seven (yes) continents. His executive order Friday on immigration and refugees, an effort to make America more safe by attempting to ban selected groups of Muslims, caused chaos at U.S. airports and ignited further protests.

President Trump at first claimed his ban was "working out quite nicely," while VP Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan in spectacular reversals offered their support. Here is a cross-section of voices of those affected and those opposed amid growing outrage:
PM May just visited DC to rekindle the U.K.'s "special relationship" with the U.S., but in the Trumpian worldview of America First, she will be challenged to do so. At least she got her meeting, unlike Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who canceled his. Nieto refuses to pay for Trump's border wall, a huge promise of the latter's campaign; now Congress (i.e., U.S. taxpayers) will apparently pony up $12-$25 billion.

The crisis with Mexico could spark a trade war, and not just with our southern neighbor. Meanwhile, we are already experiencing a "war": the one with media, based on "alternative facts," declared by Trump, and waged by advisers such as White House strategist Stephen Bannon, who chillingly called America's media "the opposition party" in one of many "shut up" messages last week. Trump raised Bannon's stature by giving him a prominent seat on the National Security Council, while downgrading the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the director of national intelligence. Military historian and foreign policy analyst Max Boot sees Bannon as puppet master.

In authoritarian regimes where the media is muzzled (and reporters sometimes killed), civil society organizations are similarly at risk. U.S. journalists and media organizations have responded to Bannon, with CNN's Jake Tapper putting it best in a single word: No.

The World Affairs Councils of America stands in solidarity with our free and independent press - a vital component of democratic society. WACA and Council affiliates nationwide convene and value civil, inclusive, and locally-rooted discussions of the most critical foreign policy issues and global challenges.

The WACA National Office will launch in February a new monthly conference call program, Know Now, to present global and local expertise on key policy matters. (Stay tuned for the announcement!). Inclusiveness means we will share our platform any time with members of the Trump administration - but we will not fear challenging them, or any outside expert. 

President Trump's inaugural address articulated an end to "American carnage" to restore our country's greatness. Question: is it plausible that America's greatness today will devolve into carnage if the experiences and orders like we have seen over the last 10 days multiply in the weeks and months ahead?


Bill Clifford, President & CEO
1918 Society Call on U.S.-Mexico Relations 

WACA is delighted to announce an exclusive conference call for our 1918 Society chairman's circle, on the U.S.-Mexico Relations, this Wednesday, February 1, at 2:30-3:00 PM ET

James R. Jones, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, will discuss the critical issues of the current and future U.S.-Mexican relations. Jim Falk, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth,  will moderate the call. 

During his service, Ambassador Jones assisted with the negotiation, passage and implementation of NAFTA; and helped formulate the U.S. government's rescue package for Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis, preventing bankruptcy of the Mexican government. Ambassador Jones is the founder and chairman of ManattJones Global Strategies LLC, he provides strategic guidance to clients interested in investment and development in Mexico, Latin America and Asia. (Full bio). 

1918 Society Members, you are welcome to invite up to three guests to participate on the call. RSVP by replying to this email or write to Lian Esehaki at lesehaki@worldaffairscouncils.org
Future of Korea Series: Applications Due February 15

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.

All Councils may submit applications; six to eight Councils will be selected to participate. 
About the Program
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 45-60 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. 

Besides the mandatory Future of Korea  panel program, there are usually ancillary activities surrounding the main event. Local Councils can choose from the following options. All four are strongly encouraged, depending on the needs and capacity of the local Council. Ancillary events include:
  • Business meeting, such as with the local chamber of commerce
  • Student meeting, such as a university/high school forum
  • Community leader meeting, such as a meeting with local political/business leaders
  • Media meeting, such as an interview with local media outlets or editorial board
The Future of Korea program  will be conducted through December 2017. Interested Councils are as ked to include several preferred dates or date ranges in their proposals. Exact dates will be determi n ed in collaboration with the Korea Economic Institute.

Costs and Stipends 
KEI will directly cover the costs of airfare and hotel as well as some meals for panelists and other KEI participants (other than the meals at the programs).

This year, through the generous support of KEI, WACA will provide $2000 to each Council selected to participate in the program to help defray event expenses.

Councils are required to coordinate and cover the costs of the  ground transportation for speakers as well as costs directly related to the events, including food, publicity, facilities, audio-visual equipment, etc.

To Apply
Councils interested in hosting need to send a completed Application Form to Tori Baskind at  tbaskind@worldaffairscouncils.org by February 15, 2017.
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 Councils have been selected to 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.

Today's event:
January 30: features former U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering.
Cover to Cover
Author Series

February's Cover to Cover will host David Biello, TED's new science curator, on his new book The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age  on Wednesday, February 15, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET .

David Biello is an award-winning journalist who has been reporting on the environment and energy since 1999. He has been an editor and contributing writer at Scientific American, and he also contributes frequently to the Los Angeles Review of Books, Yale e360, Nautilus, and Aeon. Biello has been a guest on radio shows, such as WNYC's The Takeaway, NHPR's Word of Mouth, and PRI's The World. He hosts the ongoing duPont-Columbia award-winning documentary Beyond the Light Switch for PBS.
WACA Podcasts 

Available now! WACA's call series on podcast. Starting with January's Cover to Cover call with author David Priess on his book "The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to American Presidents from Kennedy to Obama". 

Listen to the podcast here.
Academic WorldQuest 2016-2017

This year's  AWQ Study Guide , is now available, along with complete information about the Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2017 Academic WorldQuest  National Competition.  

The  Carlos and Malu Alvarez 2017 Academic WorldQuest National Competition  will be held on  Saturday, April 29,  at the  National Press Club  in  Washington, DC .

This year's National Competition will feature a welcome reception at the  United States Institute of Peace , on  Friday, April 28, at 4:30-6:00 PM.  For Topics, Study Guide, and other information click  here

Registration for the AWQ National Competition has started.  Teams  must complete this Registration Form as soon as possible in order to participate.  Registration forms are due no later than March 20! 

Please see the 2017 Program Schedule and stay tuned for updates. 

Hotel Reservations:  
To utilize our special hotel rates, book your room now at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center (775 12th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005)For reservations click here . Book now! These discounted rates expire March 30

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors: 
World Affairs Councils in the News

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Travel the World from WAC Philadelphia

Travel with Council Leaders - hear them 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.

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.

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  www.wacphila.org/travel or call 1-800-942-5004, extension 209 or 217.

The World Affairs Councils of America 

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

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