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November 2012


In this Issue
A Note from the President
A Letter from Ambassador João Vale de Almeida
News from the National Office
Author Spotlight
Available Authors
What's Happening in the Network
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A Note from the President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As the Atlantic coast recovers from Superstorm Sandy, I trust all within our network are safe. Our thoughts are with those in the most heavily damaged areas as they seek to go back to life as normal. 

This is an important week in the lives of our council members and Americans at large: We will elect the leader of our nation and immediately spend time discussing the national security and foreign policy implications of that choice at the 2012 National Conference in our nation's capital. 

We have an amazing line-up of speakers and look forward to welcoming you to Washington, DC, for this very important gathering of our network leaders. 

The conference begins with the opening night dinner on Wednesday and continues with two days of plenaries that will thoughtfully examine critical global issues of our day, including the Six Top Issues you as a network selected earlier this year: U.S. Education: Competing Globally, U.S. Energy Policy, Afghanistan/Pakistan, U.S. Economic Competitiveness, the Middle East, and China. 

We trust you will be inspired to develop your own local programming around the Six Top Issues in the coming year. 

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Best regards,


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

A Letter from Ambassador Vale de Almeida

Dear Members,


Your 2012 National Conference takes place at an interesting time, just days after the Presidential election, and a little over a week after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.


First, I wish to extend sympathy to all in your membership who have been affected by the hurricane, and to the people of New York and New Jersey who have lost family, homes and livelihoods, and are being tried by extreme circumstances the storm created. We wish every success to all involved in the repair and recovery efforts.


Regarding the presidential election, for all the twists and turns during this close race, I am comforted by the knowledge that whoever wins the White House, relations between the European Union and the United States will continue to grow and prosper. Since our founding back in the 1950s, every U.S. President, regardless of party, has supported a stronger, peaceful Europe as in America's best interest. So, the support of the United States has been a constant in our journey from the European Coal & Steel Community of six war-torn European nations to the 27 member European Union of today.


I feel honored to address the World Affairs Councils of America's membership on November 9 for several reasons:

  • In one month's time, on December 10, the European Union will receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize is a well-deserved recognition of our achievements in favor of peace, democracy and freedom in Europe. It also reminds us at a time of economic difficulty in some European countries that peace remains an over-arching goal that economic integration has helped us to achieve. That is why we are making every effort imaginable to exit the crisis and to put our economies on a sounder, more sustainable footing.
  • As the U.S. election draws to a close, we will resume working with the Administration and Congress to strengthen our cooperation in key areas and to work towards a more comprehensive trade cooperation agreement that would do much to create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Last but not least, having traveled to some 25 U.S. states since my arrival, I am truly appreciative of your organization's work and value. In several places I have visited, I have benefited from World Affairs Councils' connections to the local community, business leaders and educators. Whether in Missoula, MT or Washington, DC, I have been impressed by the quality and impact of your events.

The European Union supports the World Affairs Councils of America in its important mission of engaging and educating Americans about global issues.


Through the European Union Educational Outreach Program, more than a dozen World Affairs Councils are currently working with high schools in 14 U.S. metropolitan areas to organize on-site teaching visits by European diplomats.


Through our Getting to Know Europe grant program, the EU supports programs like the one developed by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, which successfully engaged local secondary school teachers, students, and professionals with the European Union through a series of lectures, workshops and panel discussions.


And the World Affairs Council -- Washington, DC has been an invaluable partner, working with the Delegation to host teacher workshops on the EU and helping to recruit participants for our Euro Challenge initiative. Every year, more than 100 high school teams from around the nation take part in the Euro Challenge, where students learn about the EU and the economies that share the euro.


I applaud World Affairs Councils around the country for your tireless work in promoting international understanding. I wish you all the best in your annual conference.


Jo�o Vale de Almeida

EU Ambassador to the United States

News from the National Office
2012 National Conference
In the article, "D.C. is Ready for the Day After," the DC insider's insider news journal Politico asks, "How does the election affect national security policy?" The answer: "The World Affairs Councils of America has that covered."  


The World Affairs Councils of America's 2012 National ConferenceU.S. National Security Policy: Six Top Issues for the President in 2013, starts this Wednesday, November 7 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. We are looking forward to seeing all of you who have registered there, and for those who have not, we still have very limited space if you would like to register.


We are excited to announce two additions to our already impressive slate of confirmed speakers:




Ambassador Said T. Jawad

Afghanistan's former Ambassador to the U.S.

CEO, Capitalize, LLC






Heidi Crebo-Rediker

Chief Economist, U.S. Department of State 





Last minute accommodations are available at the following hotels in the area:


Capital Hilton (.2 miles from the Mayflower)


Courtyard Washington Embassy Row (.2 miles from the Mayflower)


The Quincy (.2 miles from the Mayflower)


The St. Regis (.3 miles from the Mayflower)


Registration Rates

$430 World Affairs Council CEO/Staff/Board Member 

$495 World Affairs Council Member

$545 Non-Member 


Click Here to Register Now


The Leadership Day Agenda and the Agenda to Date have been released. The agendas outline all speakers, plenary sessions, embassy receptions, and meal times.


1918 Society1918 Society Members: Will you be attending the 1918 Society BreakfastWhat Just Happened: The Elections and U.S. National Security, on Friday morning, November 9? Will a guest accompany you? If so, please let Ian J. Byrne know via email or at 202-833-4557. For more information about joining the 1918 Society, visit our website.  
The Embassy of Malaysia, the Embassy of Sweden and the Embassy of the United Kingdom will host receptions for conference attendees on the evening of Thursday, November 8. Ambassador Hafstr�mAmbassador Othman, and Ambassador Westmacott are looking forward to hosting you all.
You can find all of the National Conference's speaker bios on the official blog for the 2012 National Conference.  

From the Cuban Missile Crisis to Iran

The World Affairs Councils of America is excited to announce World Affairs Council events for our new Engage America Speaker Series entitled, From the Cuban Missile Crisis to Iran: Confronting the Nuclear Threat. The program is made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. More Information

The Colorado Springs World Affairs Council hosted the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Nuclear Policy Program Senior Associate James Acton last Friday, November 2. See other scheduled events below. More to come as well.

November 20 -- Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione speaks at WorldBoston

December 5 -- Alabama World Affairs Council Executive Director James Nathan speaks to the World Affairs Council of Rochester

December 11 -- Stimson Center Co-founder and Distinguished Fellow Barry Blechman speaks to the World Affairs Council of New Orleans

December 10 -- New America Foundation National Security Fellow Tim Naftali speaks to the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire

December 16 -- CSIS Pacific Forum Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation and Disarmament David Santoro speaks to the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg

Spotlight on Turkey 2013

The World Affairs Councils of America is pleased to announce the World Affairs Councils participating in the Spotlight on Turkey Program. This is the seventh year of collaboration with the Turkish Cultural Foundation on the National Spotlight on Turkey program. More Information


Participating councils include:


Minnesota International Center

Pacific and Asian Affairs Council 

Peoria Area World Affairs Council 

Santa Fe Council on International Relations

South Dakota World Affairs Council 

Vermont Council on World Affairs 

World Affairs Council of Connecticut 

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Forth Worth

World Affairs Council of Jacksonville 

World Affairs Council of Montana

World Affairs Council of New Hampshire 

World Affairs Council of Seattle

World Affairs Council -- Washington, DC 



Academic WorldQuest 2012-2013

Pledge Participation Now

AWQ Logo

Councils: Pledge participation in the 2012-2013 Academic WorldQuest National Competition by submitting this AWQ Participation Pledge Form to Althea Georgantas at Councils who pledge to participate will have access to a full set of questions to utilize in local competitions.


The Study Guide for the 2012-2013 Academic WorldQuest Competition is now available here. The National Competition will take place Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Georgetown University


2012-2013 Categories 

  • US Economic Competitiveness 
  • US Education:Competing Globally
  • US Energy Policy
  • Middle East 
  • Afghanistan/Pakistan
  • China
  • UN Millennium Goals: Environmental Sustainability
  • Geography
  • 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


European Union Educational Outreach Program

in the United States 2012
As Ambassador Vale de Almeida mentioned above, the World Affairs Councils of America's European Union Educational Outreach Program is underway right on the heels of the European Union receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. The program is being conducted in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States and is working with 13 World Affairs Councils. 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 European Union. More Information

WACs in the News

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh hosted over 1,300 future leaders from 182 countries during  One Young World October 18-22. "'This was a great opportunity to keep Pittsburgh on the world stage,' said Steven Sokol, president of the World Affairs Council who in fact took the stage at Heinz Hall like a rock star and energized the crowd on Thursday night," reports Pop City. For more of the media coverage, visit the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh's website.


World Affairs Council of Western Michigan

The Council recently hosted former Mexican President Vicente Fox. WOOD TV 8 published a segment, "Ex-Mexico President Fox speaks in GR," and Michigan Live covered the event in "'We're in a trap': Former Mexican President Vicente Fox talks immigration, 'failed' war on drugs." Watch Here and Read Here


World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts

Former Council President and World Affairs Councils of America National Board of Directors Member Ken Furst penned an op-ed for The Republican titled, "Afghanistan war a critical issue for Americans."


World Affairs Council of Harrisburg

President and CEO Joyce M. Davis was interviewed on WITF's Smart Talk on the importance of educating women. The Council is hosting a lecture series titled Great Female AuthorsListen Here


World Affairs Council of Greater Reading

The Reading Eagle sat down for lunch with the World Affairs Council of Greater Reading's President Sam Dewald. The Council recently hosted S. Eugene "Gene" Poteat, a former CIA officer who knew the CIA officers involved in the operation depicted in the film Argo. Read Here


World Affairs Council of Atlanta

The World Affairs Council of Atlanta had a busy month hosting Ambassador Jorge Arguello, Argentina's ambassador to the U.S., and Ambassador Claudia Fritsche, Liechtenstein's ambassador to the U.S. Global Atlanta covered both events in "Argentine Ambassador to Strengthen Bilateral Trade and Educational Ties" and "Liechtenstein: More Than a Tax Haven." 


World Affairs Council of Philadelphia

The Council's Vice President for Travel Joan Russell was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times about their travel programs to Cuba. Read the article, "After a lull, more U.S.-Cuba trips get green light," and visit the Council's website to learn more about their Travel the World programs.

Author Spotlight: Robert Litwak

Robert Litwak, an expert on nonproliferation, international security, U.S. national security, and terrorism, has recently published a new book, Outlier States: American Strategies to Change, Contain, or Engage Regimes, (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), a follow-up to his acclaimed Regime Change.

In the Bush era, Iran and North Korea were branded "rogue" states for their flouting of international norms, and changing their regimes was the administration's goal. The Obama administration has chosen instead to call these countries nuclear "outliers" and has proposed means other than regime change to bring them back into "the community of nations." Outlier States, the successor to Litwak's influential Regime Change: U.S. Strategy through the Prism of 9/11 (2007), explores this significant policy adjustment and raises questions about its feasibility and its possible consequences.


What do the precedents set in Iraq and Libya teach us about how current outliers can be integrated into the international community? And, perhaps most importantly, how should the United States respond if outlier regimes perceive integration as a threat to their survival and continue to augment their nuclear capabilities?


Robert Litwak is vice president for scholars and academic relations and former director, International Security Studies, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


If interested in having Mr. Litwak speak to your Council, please contact Dana Steinberg at 202-691-4038 or

Available Authors

The World Affairs Councils of America works with publishers and has prepared a list of authors on the WACA Leadership Network who are available to receive invitations from World Affairs Councils around the country.


Among the latest additions to the Available Authors is:


Dr. Julie Fisher's Importing Democracy: The Role of NGOs in South Africa, Tajikistan and South Africa


Nothing has so discredited the attempt to export democracy militarily as the Iraq and Afghan wars. Both Iraq and Afghanistan remind us that democracy must be built from within. Even peaceful efforts to export democracy often flounder on the shoals of simplistic western visions of other societies.


A common response to this failure is to assume that many countries are simply not suited to democracy, at least for the foreseeable future. This book is about three countries where some citizens refuse to be so easily dismissed, and have already initiated the long, arduous process of democratization from within. They build on democratic traditions, particularly at the local level. But they also import powerful democratic ideas such as accountability and the concept of a loyal opposition.


While taking account of the impact on democracy of civil society, broadly defined, the book focuses on the more specific impact of democratization NGOs in South Africa, Tajikistan and Argentina. It is based on 90 field interviews, 84 of which were with the leaders of indigenous NGOs that focus primarily on a wide range of programs to strengthen democracy. While these deliberate attempts at democratization are at best part of a fragmented, long-term journey, their wide scope has achieved tangible democratic advances within both societies and governments.


Before joining the Kettering Foundation, Dr. Fisher was a Scholar in Residence at the Program on Non-Profit Organizations at Yale University and a lecturer in the Biology Department for a course on World Population. She previously taught comparative politics and a course called "The Politics of Third World Development" at Connecticut College. As a specialist on nongovernmental organizations and microenterprise development, she has been a consultant to numerous international agencies, including CIVICUS, Technoserve, CARE, Trickle Up, Lutheran World Relief and Save the Children.


If interested in having Dr. Fisher speak to your Council, please contact her directly at 207-541-9330 or To learn more about Dr. Fisher or the book, visit her website here


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

What's Happening in the Network 

There are 118 World Affairs Council events across the country scheduled in November. 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. Also be sure to check out travel programs offered by World Affairs Councils on our homepage. We encourage you to follow-up with the sponsoring council for more information. If you have a program that you would like highlighted on our website or in the WACA Weekly, please contact Ian J. Byrne at

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 

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

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

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