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September 2012


In this Issue
A Note from the President
News from the National Office
What's Happening in the Network
Reflections from the Leadership Mission
WACA Leadership Network
Available Authors
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A Note from our President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


I have just returned from a successful Leadership Mission to the People's Republic of China, and was amazed at how much the country had changed in the 20 years since I had been there. I expected changes in Shanghai but was surprised by the many changes in Beijing, largely precipitated by the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. My five fellow delegates and I were hosted by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), who worked hard to insure our delegation learned from the trip. They carefully arranged meetings with several top Chinese officials. We look forward to sharing details of the mission with you in the trip report, to be completed and disseminated in the coming weeks.

With summer coming to a close, we at the national office are looking forward to a productive fall. We continue to work hard on making preparations for the National Conference in November and are pleased with the excellent slate of speakers. If you have not yet registered, you can do so here.

Further below, you will see we are releasing the 2012-2013 Academic WorldQuest Study Guide today. The national office has worked hard to include the most up-to-date, authoritative sources that we think will fuel intellectual discovery and fierce competition in the coming months. Good luck students and teachers! I look forward to meeting you in Washington, DC, at the 2013 Academic WorldQuest competition!

Please take a look at our homepage to see all the exciting events happening around the national network in September. It is always inspiring to see the opportunities you offer to your communities in order to educate and encourage healthy debate on global issues. If at any time the national office can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to ask.

We look forward to a great fall. I hope to see you in November at the National Conference!

Best regards,


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

News from the National Office
2012 National Conference

If you have not done so already, be sure to register for the 2012 National Conference, U.S. National Security Policy: Six Top Issues for the President in 2013. See the list of confirmed speakers here. The conference commences at a very exciting time in Washington: one day after the election on Wednesday, November 7. Join us November 7-9, 2012 at the historic Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC for the launch of our network-wide discussion and analysis of the issues the President of the United States will face in 2013. Conference Flyer


The National Conference, held annually for over two decades, gathers our regional leaders drawn from the business, civic, and education communities. Leading policymakers and national security experts lead the discussion on the critical national security challenges before us and help our council leaders plan their programming for their local communities in the coming year.


Featured Panel

Keynote Discussion: Six Top IssuesU.S. National Security: Opportunities and Challenges for 2013




Ashton B. Carter

Deputy Secretary of Defense





Daniel B. Poneman 

Deputy Secretary of Energy




Moderator: Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky

Chair, WACA National Board of Directors; Distinguished National Security Chair, U.S. Naval Academy; former U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland



Registration Rates

$430 World Affairs Council CEO/Staff/Board Membe

$495 World Affairs Council Member

$545 Non-Member 


Click Here to Register Now


Lodging at the Mayflower Hotel 

We have secured a special group rate at the Mayflower Hotel of $224/night. To book a room at this rate, click here or call 1-877-212-5752 and let the booking agent know you are with the "World Affairs Councils of America."  


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

From left to right: Nigel Sutton, WAC-DC Board  & Raytheon executive; Dr. Lori Murray, WACA National Board; Judy Rubinstein, Naples Council on World Affairs Board; Todd Culpepper, President & CEO, WACA; Mr. Li Haiyan, Director General Department of International Cooperation NDRC; Michael Phillip, World Affairs Council of California Central Coast & WACA National Board; Patrick Terrien, President & CEO Columbus Council on World Affairs.


The World Affairs Councils of America's Leadership Delegation recently returned from the People's Republic of China. The five member delegation of World Affairs Councils representatives visited Beijing and Shanghai and met with government, business, and civic leaders during the seven day mission. The World Affairs Councils of America thanks its gracious host, The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) for making the Leadership Mission possible. The delegation is already busy putting together the trip report for the National Network, stay tuned in the coming weeks. 

Academic WorldQuest 2012-2013

Study Guide Released

AWQ Logo

The Study Guide for the 2012-2013 Academic WorldQuest Competition is now available here. The 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


Take the Facebook Challenge

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 today's question a shot?  


By what year does NATO plan to transition the security responsibilities of Afghanistan to the Afghani Army?


A. 2014

B. 2015

C. 2016

D. 2017



Future of Korea


The World Affairs Councils of America is excited to announce our participating councils for the 2012-2013 Future of Korea program in collaboration with the Korean Economic Institute. The program runs from September 2012 - June 2013. Participating World Affairs Councils include:


World Affairs Council of Harrisburg


Minnesota International Center


World Affairs Council of New Hampshire


World Affairs Council of Central Florida


World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana


World Affairs Council of San Antonio


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 60-90 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.


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

Dayton Council on World Affairs

The Columbia Star interviewed Rickland Northeast High School's Charles Vaughan about his experience in Turkey through the World Affairs Councils of America and Turkish Cultural Foundation's Spotlight on Turkey program. Read Here


World Affairs Council of Atlanta

Global Atlanta covered the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's President and CEO and World Affairs Council of Atlanta's Board Chair Dennis Lockhart's talk on Latin America's economy. Read Here


World Affairs Council of Charlotte

The Daily Record covered American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard's speech to the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. Read Here


World Affairs Council of Maine

The Forecaster chronicled Freeport High School teacher Karen Massey's experience in Turkey through the World Affairs Councils of America and Turkish Cultural Foundation's Spotlight on Turkey program. Read Here 


World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh's President and CEO Steven E. Sokol appeared on Pittsburgh's Our Region's Business to discuss the upcoming One Young World Summit October 18-22. Watch 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. If you have a program that you would like highlighted on our website or in the WACA Weekly, please contact Ian J. Byrne at

Reflections from the Leadership Mission
The Orderly Chinese Way of Life
By Patrick Terrien, President & CEO, Columbus Council on World Affairs

Mr. Terrien recently returned from the People's Republic of China where he was taking part in the World Affairs Councils of America's Leadership Mission there. This is an excerpt from his contribution to the Leadership Mission Report. Stay tuned for the full report in the coming weeks. 


Seven days in three cities of the world's most populous country does not make one an authority on China. China's diversity and complexity emerges from a civilization whose history is 20 times as old as the United States and whose citizens represent more than 50 ethnic and cultural groups.  So to provide conclusions or assessments is not only difficult and premature, it is also arrogant and risky.  I can, however, paint my picture of China; a snapshot in time, through my lens, that combines my education about China with my experience of China.


One of the most fun parts of eating Chinese food in the U.S. is the fortune cookie (by the way, not even once in my seven days in China did I eat, let alone see, a fortune cookie).  While slightly more tasty than cardboard, the cookie's greatness is not its taste. The cookie holds inside a gift; the gift of a surprise. However, surprises do not govern the Chinese people. Order and stability in Chinese society is treasured, and gained only by equity in fortune by all people. Wealth, ironically, is pursued in China with vigor and the government not only encourages it, but demands it. The difference from the U.S. system is that, in China, wealth must be gained by all -- any lack of balance, any disparity, is not good. The government's purpose is to ensure, and enforce, that balance.


China is a very orderly place. I was surprised by how two of the most populated cities in the world functioned so smoothly. Shanghai's roads and sidewalks are cleaner, better maintained, and less crowded than New York City's, yet twice as populous. When I got off the plane in Beijing, I expected chaos. Visions of long lines at Customs and bottlenecked traffic filled my head. I briskly passed through Customs, swiftly transported to baggage claim, and was quickly found by our driver. Almost every experience of movement during my time in China was efficient, swift, and on time.


This commitment to order shows itself in meetings. Each business meeting had several things in common. First, everything was set up well in advance: we all had assigned seats with name tents, a glass for tea, a water bottle, a pencil, and paper. Second, our hosts were always already in the meeting room waiting for us. Third, we knew the highest-ranking official based on who sat in the middle of the entourage. Fourth, the host always opened up with introductory comments: first with compliments to us, then with structured remarks. Last, but not least, the meeting always ended with the presentation of a gift and a group photo. This level of preparation and mindfulness was humbling, gracious and unparalleled in the U.S. system.


Read the rest of Mr. Terrien's account of his trip to China in the upcoming Leadership Mission Report.  

 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

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:


James Paul Gee's The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning

Today's schools are eager to use the latest technology in the classroom, but rather than improving learning, the new e-media can just as easily narrow students' horizons. Education innovator James Paul Gee first documented the educational benefits of gaming a decade ago in his classic What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. Now, with digital and social media at the center of modern life, he issues an important warning that groundbreaking new technologies, far from revolutionizing schooling, can stymie the next generation's ability to resolve deep global challenges.  

The solution-and perhaps our children's future-lies in what Gee calls synchronized intelligence, a way of organizing people and their digital tools to solve problems, produce knowledge, and allow people to count and contribute.  Gee explores important strategies and tools for today's parents, educators, and policy makers, including virtual worlds, artificial tutors, and ways to create collective intelligence where everyday people can solve hard problems. By harnessing the power of human creativity with interactional and technological sophistication we can finally overcome the limitations of today's failing educational system and solve problems in our high-risk global world. This is a powerful and important call to reshape digital learning, engage children in a meaningful educational experience, and bridge inequality.
James Paul Gee has been featured in a variety of publications including RedbookChildTeacherUSA TodayEducation WeekThe Chicago Tribune, and more. He was formerly the Tashia Morgridge Professor of Reading at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is now the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies at Arizona State University.  He is a founder of the Center for Games and Impact at ASU which orchestrated a national conversation on games and learning for the White House Office of Science and Technology. Described by The Chronicle of Higher Education as "a serious scholar who is taking a lead in an emerging field," he is the author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. 

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

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