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July 2012


A Note from the President
News from the National Office
What's Happening in the Network
National Office Highlight: Azerbaijan Study Tour
WACA Leadership Network
Available Authors
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2012 National Conference Sponsors

 Exxon Mobil


Hutchins Family Foundation




Hutchins Family Foundation 

A Note from our President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I have just completed my first month as President & CEO of the national office, and could not be more privileged and proud to lead the World Affairs Councils of America at this auspicious juncture in our history. I see numerous opportunities ahead for our incredible network of council leaders and staff, board members, and globally-minded citizens who will help influence our foreign policy goals in the years ahead through civil discourse in communities across the United States. Thank you for placing your confidence in me to lead the organization.

The 10 student winners of our National High School Essay Contest on the Republic of Azerbaijan have just returned from an amazing study tour in Azerbaijan. They were given a unique, insider's view of the country and its struggles and progress by ministry-level officials and hosted by the U.S. embassy. Students, parents, and staff on both sides of the globe are thrilled with the outcome of this study tour, and we hope to do similar things in the future with our young people. I want to thank my predecessor, Dr. Lori Murray, for her leadership in developing this special opportunity.

Things are coming together for what will be an outstanding National Conference November 7 - 9 at The Mayflower Hotel in DC, right on the heels of the national election. We will have much to discuss and dissect, and I hope to see many of you at this special event. You'll receive more details on speakers and the Wednesday Leadership Summit in the coming weeks. In the meantime, remember that early bird registration expires September 1. I would encourage you to freely share information about the conference on council web sites and in council publications. You will find details here

We have new national programs in the works, which we will announce soon, and many currently underway, including council events that are part of the "Understanding Muslim Societies" program funded by Carnegie Corporation. Several great programs took place this spring and many more are planned for fall. If you have not done so, watch the videos from events at WorldDenver the World Affairs Council of Northern California

Thank you again for the trust you have placed in me. Please contact me at any time if I may assist in any way. I look forward to seeing many of you in November for the National Conference, if not before.

Best regards,



S. Todd Culpepper
President & CEO
World Affairs Councils of America 

News from the National Office
2012 WACA National Conference
Registration is now open for the 2012 National Conference, U.S. National Security Policy: Six Top Issues for the President in 2013, being held November 7-9, 2012 in Washington, DC at the Mayflower Hotel. Take advantage of the Early Bird pricing!


The 2012 National Conference marks the launch of public discussion of the Six Top Issues for 2013, the central issues in the World Affairs Councils of America's effort to educate and engage the American public in 2013. The issues were voted in a national survey of World Affairs Council leaders to be the Six Top National Security Issue areas that need to be debated and discussed in 2013.


The issues are: US Economic Competitiveness, Afghanistan/Pakistan, US Education: Competing Globally, China, Middle East, and US Energy Policy.


Click Here for More Information and to Register  


Tentative Schedule 

Wednesday, November 7  

9:00am-5:00pm: Fall Leadership Meeting for Council CEOs, regional and national Board Members and Staff/Annual Membership Meeting


6:30pm-8:30pm: Opening Dinner


Thursday, November 8
9:00am-5:00pm: Main Plenaries


5:30pm-8:00pm: Embassy Receptions


Friday, November 9
7:30am-8:45am: 1918 Society Breakfast 


9:00am-3:00pm: Main Plenaries. Conference concludes at 3:00pm


Leadership Mission to China

As a reminder, applications for the Leadership Mission to China are due COB tomorrow, Tuesday, July 3. The World Affairs Councils of America and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) are offering a leadership mission to the People's Republic of China August 26 - September 1, 2012. More Information


Hot Topics Conference Call
On Thursday, July 12, the World Affairs Councils of America will host a network wide Hot Topics Conference Call with Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes, Senior Fellow and Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. From 2009-2012, Dr. Wittes served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and Deputy Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East for the State Department. Dr. Wittes will be speaking on Egypt. Further details will be announced later this week. Stay tuned!


Take the Facebook Challenge!
Win a Free Pass to WACA's 2012 National Conference! 
AWQ 10 Year Combined
In the run-up to our National Conference in November, WACA invites you all to answer a question from the 2012 National Academic WorldQuest Competition posted on our Facebook page every Monday and Thursday. All those who have correctly answered a question through September 13, 2012 will be entered into a lottery to win a free pass to our National Conference. All questions come from the 2012 AWQ Study Guide.

This week's category is NATO. Why not give Monday's question a shot? 


Which existing international treaty takes preeminence to the North Atlantic Treaty according to its Articles 1, 5 and 7?


A. The Charter of the United Nations

B. The Treaty of Lisbon

C. The Treaty of Brussels

D. The Treaty of Westphalia



Understanding Muslim Societies Live Streams from Denver and Northern California

WorldDenver live streamed their June 5 Understanding Muslim Societies program with Nader Hashemi to the entire National Network. Click here to watch the recording of the program.


Northern CaliforniaThe World Affairs Council of Northern California live streamed their June 20 Understanding Muslim Societies program with Rami Khouri to the entire National Network. Click here to watch the recording of the program.


Understanding Muslim Societies is part of the Six Top Issues for US National Security Engage America Series that is being undertaken by the World Affairs Councils of America network between now and the 2012 election.


The Understanding Muslim Societies program is funded by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. More Information, Program Dates and Locations


Academic WorldQuest 2012-2013

National Competition Date and Topics Announced!

AWQ Logo

WACA announced that the 2012-2013 Academic WorldQuest Competition will take place Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Georgetown University. 


Academic WorldQuest 2012-2013 will mark the 11th Annual Academic WorldQuest, the World Affairs Councils of America's flagship education program for high school students on global issues. More Information  


The 2012-2013 Categories will focus on the Six Top National Security Issues for 2013 voted on by leaders of World Affairs Councils across the country, plus several more categories and will include the articles from Great Decisions.


2012-2013 Categories 

US Economic Competitiveness 

US Education:Competing Globally

US Energy Policy

Middle East 



UN Millennium Goals: Environmental Sustainability


Current Events

Cuban Missile Crisis: 50th Anniversary


A Teacher's Guide is available to help Councils reach out to schools and explain how to get involved in Academic WorldQuest. Teacher's Guide


Azerbaijan Essay Contest

At the end of June, the Top Ten Winners of the 2011-2012 National High School Essay Contest on the Republic of Azerbaijan traveled to Azerbaijan on a Study Tour of the country. Read WACA Program Officer Althea Georgantas' article about the trip below. More Information


Spotlight on Turkey

Teachers Depart for Summer Study Tour

Teachers selected to participate in the Teacher Study Tour this summer as part of Spotlight on Turkey, sponsored by the World Affairs Councils of America in collaboration with the Turkish Cultural Foundation, began departing for Turkey last week. The program focuses on giving an overview of Turkey's rich culture. It consists of a spring Teacher Workshop, a Teacher Study Tour in the summer, and public cultural programs in the fall. Click here for the list of selected teachers and participating councils.


Film Screening -- Not My Life

On June 25, the World Affairs Councils of America partnered with thWorld Affairs Council of Connecticut and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to host a screening of Not My Life, Academy Award nominee Robert Bilheimer's extraordinary film about human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Bilheimer joined Susan Bissell, Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF, and others in a panel discussion moderated by WACA Chair, Ambassador Paula Dobriansky.


EU Educational Outreach Program

in the United States 2012
The World Affairs Councils of America's EU Educational Outreach Program is underway. WACA is conducting this program in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States and is working with 13 local World Affairs Councils to implement it in their communities as part of our Six Top National Security Issues programming - US Education: Competing Globally. The objective of the program is to engage American students and teachers on a personal level to deepen their understanding and knowledge of the European Union.


Materials for educators and presenters participating in the EU Educational Outreach Program are available. These materials are also available to any member of the network interested in learning more about Europe and the EU. More Information

WACs in the News

World Affairs Council of Harrisburg

Joyce M. Davis, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, penned an op-ed in the Patriot News defending the value of kindergarten in the face of budget cuts. Read Here


World Affairs Council of Atlanta

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlighted the World Affairs Council of Atlanta's role in the recent Atlanta Summit on Sustaining American Leadership in Global Health and Water. The article noted, "Wayne Lord, the president of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, said the summit was hatched with the realization of the expertise around global health that so many institutions in Atlanta possess. And he noted that water supply remains a top-of-mind issue in Georgia." Read Here

World Affairs Council of New Hampshire
The Concord Monitor interviewed Jeremy Hall who is off to Turkey for the Summer Study Tour as part of the World Affairs Councils of America and the Turkish Cultural Foundation's Spotlight on Turkey program. Read Here
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
The Montgomery News profiled Matt Miller from the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia who was one of ten high school students who traveled to Azerbaijan for a 10 day Study Tour through WACA's National High School Essay Contest: Republic of Azerbaijan. Read Here

What's Happening in the Network 

Visit News from the National Network on our homepage for updates from around the network that include programs you can attend, participate in virtually, get ideas about speakers, or model format. We encourage you to follow-up with the sponsoring council for more information.

National Office Highlight
National High School Essay Contest 2012 Study Tour: Republic of Azerbaijan
By Althea Georgantas, Program Officer, World Affairs Councils of America 


WACA conducted the National High School Essay Contest on the Republic of Azerbaijan in partnership with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, an NGO based in Azerbaijan in winter 2012. Fifty local World Affairs Councils participated in the program, wherein American High school students were tasked with writing a country brief including U.S. policy recommendations ahead of a visit to Azerbaijan by Secretary Clinton. Students sent essay submissions to local World Affairs Councils across the country, from Alaska and Hawaii to Texas and Florida. The local councils recognized their top three finalists and the national winners were selected from these regional finalists. The top ten student winners were invited to participate in a Study Tour of Azerbaijan, hosted by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.


The ten student winners were given the trip of a lifetime! Over the course of seven very full days, the group took part in a myriad of activities that served to fully educate the students on their host country. Already a group of junior experts on Azerbaijan, the students were able to discuss the country and its policies with think tank experts and government officials. Common themes of discussion included the country's rapid recent economic development, its unique geopolitical position and relationship with its neighbors, and its rich history. The students conducted themselves with thoughtfulness and poise beyond their years during these discussions.


The substantive meetings were mixed with more typical sightseeing visits, which allowed the students to fully understand the landscape, history, and culture of this dynamic country. The group was fortunate to be hosted on a side trip to the Gabala, a green and beautiful mountainous region with a history that dates back to Caucasian Albania in the 4th Century B.C.  


Other visits during the trip included the US Embassy in Baku and the Caspian Energy Center, a major oil refinery in the country. The students were also able to meet informally with Azeri students and young people during visits to the Diplomatic Academy and the American Center in Baku. Many new Facebook friendships were forged!


Overall, the students were very impressed and grateful for this unique, educational, and undoubtedly life-changing experience.

Contributed by Althea Georgantas, Program Officer, World Affairs Councils of America. For more information visit the World Affairs Councils of America's website.
 WACA Leadership Network

To access the WACA Leadership Network, go to our homepage and click on WACA Leadership Network on the right-hand side.  The WACA Leadership Network is a forum for sharing best practices and ideas among council members.  It includes: program resource materials, best practices, available authors and speaker recommendations, as well as a host of other information.

Available Authors

WACA Leadership Network

Working with the publishing houses, WACA has prepared a listing of authors on the WACA Leadership Network who are available to receive invitations from World Affairs Councils around the country.


button conferenceWe have specifically highlighted authors who can speak to one of the Six Top National Security Issues voted on by our Council Leaders. These authors will help us in our effort to conduct a national conversation and debate on these six top issues in the run up to the 2012 elections. We also have a listing of authors who can speak on other foreign policy topics under General Interest.


Among the latest additions to the Available Authors are:


Gary Gorton's Misunderstanding Financial Crises offers a back-to-basics overview of financial crises, and shows that they are not rare, idiosyncratic events caused by a perfect storm of unconnected factors. Gorton shows how financial crises are, indeed, inherent to our financial system. Economists, Gorton writes, looked from a certain point of view and missed everything that was important: the evolution of capital markets and the banking system, the existence of new financial instruments, and the size of certain money markets like the sale and repurchase market. Comparing the so-called "Quiet Period" of 1934 to 2007, when there were no systemic crises, to the "Panic of 2007-2008," Gorton ties together key issues like bank debt and liquidity, credit booms and manias, moral hazard, and too-big-too-fail--all to illustrate the true causes of financial collapse. He argues that the successful regulation that prevented crises since 1934 did not adequately keep pace with innovation in the financial sector, due in part to the misunderstandings of economists, who assured regulators that all was well. Gorton also looks forward to offer both a better way for economists to think about markets and a description of the regulation necessary to address the future threat of financial disaster.


Gary B. Gorton is the Frederick Frank Class of 1954 Professor of Finance at the Yale School of Management. He is the author of Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007.


Kishore Mahbubani's The Great Convergence premises that the twenty-first century has seen a rise in the global middle class that brings an unprecedented convergence of interests and perceptions, cultures and values. Mahbubani is optimistic. We are creating a new global civilization. Eighty-eight percent of the world's population outside the West is rising to Western living standards, and sharing Western aspirations. Yet Mahbubani, one of the most perceptive global commentators, also warns that a new global order needs new policies and attitudes.


Policymakers all over the world must change their preconceptions and accept that we live in one world. National interests must be balanced with global interests. Power must be shared. The U.S. and Europe must cede some power. China and India, Africa and the Islamic world must be integrated. Mahbubani urges that only through these actions can we create a world that converges benignly. This timely book explains how to move forward and confront many pressing global challenges. 

Kishore Mahbubani is a writer, professor, and a former Singaporean diplomat who served twice as ambassador to the UN. Currently, he is the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore. A prolific writer, he has published three books and numerous articles in leading global journals and newspapers, like Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and the Financial Times. Foreign Policy listed him as one of the top 100 global thinkers in 2005, 2010, and 2011.


For more information on these authors and more, go to our homepagethen click on WACA Leadership Network. Once logged in, click on "Available Authors." 

Be Part of the WACA Newsletter!

If you would like to highlight an upcoming program, email Ian J. Byrne at with the relevant information (a description of 200 words or less). Of course, if there is anything else we can do to help promote your programs within the network, please let us know.

The World Affairs Councils of America 

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