March, 2017
President's Letter
KNOW NOW Podcast
Global I.Q. Minute
WACA 2017 National Conference
AWQ 2016-2017
Travel the World
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President's Letter

Dear Colleagues, Supporters, and Friends,

The World Affairs Councils of America enjoys a longstanding partnership with Global Ties U.S., which in early February convened its outstanding annual meeting, the successful and aptly titled " Unity in Community" conference.  

WACA recognizes our 28 common member organizations as "Councils of the Month" for March, applauding their excellent job of promoting international leadership exchanges and citizen diplomacy. (Twenty-eight is too big a number for individual listings; you know who you are - keep up this crucial work!) We are delighted to highlight one, International Institute of Buffalo, whose executive director, Eva Hassett, was quoted in a recent New York Times article on refugees.  

As always, WACA convened a breakfast at the Global Ties meeting. Topping our agenda: Programming in the Trump Era. This reflected the interest of the 35 Council colleagues who attended, as well as the questions and concerns about nonpartisanship and advocacy which other Council heads had communicated to WACA after Inauguration Day. Many Councils wonder what activities are permissible or not, and how these could affect nonprofit tax-exempt status.

First, we should be clear on what it means to be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. WACA, like its member Councils, is organized and operated for the exempt purpose of advancing education.

The National Council for Nonprofits offers a useful guide to Principles and Practices, including nonpartisan activities and potential risks to tax-exempt status. In exchange for 501(c)(3) status, organizations such as WACA and Councils must not engage in political campaign activity:

Thus, we do not support or oppose any political candidate for public office. Nor do we provide our assets as campaign contributions to any candidate for public office (ditto as to political parties). These activities are prohibited because if 501(c)(3) organizations were to electioneer, it would mean diverting resources that were solicited and exempted from tax under the assumption of "public benefit" to influence instead the outcome of an election. But WACA and Councils are not prohibited from ever indicating approval or disapproval of a candidate after s/he is elected. That said, you may wish to consult legal professionals on local Council boards.

Section 501(c)(3) organizations are allowed to engage in advocacy (including limited lobbying) in support of public policy positions that align with their fundamental mission. Keeping in mind the prohibition of campaign activity on behalf of one political candidate over another, a tax-exempt organization that focuses on issue-only advocacy to raise public awareness of a given issue of importance would not jeopardize its favored tax status. For example, some Councils have advocated against the Muslim ban executive order, and they are well within their rights to do so.

Some lobbying activity, a form of advocacy, is also permitted, but such lobbying must be "insubstantial" compared to an organization's exempt purpose activities. Since its establishment in the 1980s, WACA has not engaged in any lobbying that I am aware of. Many resources on advocacy and lobbying can be found online; here are four: Council of Nonprofits; Grantspace; DC Bar Pro Bono Center; and BolderAdvocacy.

World Affairs Councils are independent members of WACA that share a common mission. WACA offers guidance, when asked, on matters of programming, speakers, best practices and the like, but never do we compel. Councils freely determine the decisions that are right for them.

With that in mind, a Facebook forum has been set up by and for World Affairs Council leaders. As Anna Berry, executive director of WAC New Hampshire, puts it, "The forum is a safe space to connect, exchange ideas, and offer encouragement to others on a variety of issues." For those who haven't yet joined, WACA will send opt-in instructions to Council CEOs in a separate message later this week.


Bill Clifford, President and CEO
KNOW NOW Podcast: Anne Applebaum

WACA's new KNOW NOW conference call series featured Anne Applebaum, Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics Institute of Global Affairs, in a discussion with WACA President Bill Clifford on "The U.S., Ukraine, and Russia's Western Ambitions". 

Listen to the podcast here.

KNOW NOW conference calls feature global thought leaders hosted by WACA as well as local authorities in government, business, academia and cultural fields who are identified and moderated by local Councils, using our national conference call platform to bring local and national issues of global dimensions to our network.

Council CEOs: Submit your ideas for local speakers to Lian Esehaki, WACA Communications Officer, at 
Global I.Q. Minute with Jim Falk

The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth's Global I.Q. Minute hosts some of the world's leading thinkers, writers, and diplomats. Check out the latest podcasts below:

WACA 2017 National Conference 

Save the Date!

WACA's 2017 National Conference  will be held on November 15-17 
at the  Capital Hilton

For more than two decades, the World Affairs Councils of America's annual conference has presented top government officials, diplomats, business executives, civic leaders, think tank policy experts and journalists to a national audience. Council leaders and members from WACA's affiliates across the country engage with these speakers and thought leaders over the course of three stimulating days in our nation's capital. The 2016 event was great, and we look forward to welcoming you back this November!
Academic WorldQuest 2016-2017

This year's  AWQ Study Guide , is now available, along with complete information about the Carlos and MalĂș 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

International Institute of Buffalo
A Surprising Salve for New York's Beleaguered Cities: Refugees -- The New York Times
26 New Citizens Glad to be in America --

World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana
Refugees Share Experiences at World Affairs Council Panel -- INSIDER Louisville

Northern Nevada International Center
New Ban Could Threaten Reno Refugees -- The Nevada Sagebrush
Time to Truly Enforce Immigration Law -- Nevada Appeal

World Affairs Council of Montana
Missoula Students Learn about Refugee Crisis 'Diversity Week' -- KTVH

World Affairs Council of Charlotte
Bank of America CEO Says NC Still Missing Out on Jobs because of HB2 -- The Charlotte Observer

World Affairs Council of Palm Beach
Cyber Threats Growing, Expert Says at World Affairs Council Event --   Palm Beach Daily News

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
In Your Neighborhood: Two Desert Vista High School Teachers Picked for International Study Groups -- Ahwatukee Foothills

World Affairs Council of Harrisburg
Contributions to the Common Good Panel Pays Tribute to MLK -- The Etownian
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!

2017 travel schedule includes trips to: 

Journey to Southern Africa :  Feb. 26 - Mar. 13.
Cultural Cuba: Mar. 26 - Apr. 3
Inside Iran: Apr. 21 - May 4
Cruise the Face of Europe: May 15 - 30
Circumnavigation of Iceland: Aug. 1 - 9
Silk Road Odyssey: Oct. 1 - 20
Trade Routes of Coastal Iberia: Oct. 9 -17
Mystique of the Orient: Oct. 17 - 29
Inside Morocco: Oct. 20 - Nov. 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

Email Website