March 20, 2017
KNOW NOW with James Schoff
KNOW NOW with Lindsay Plack
Travel to Cuba with WAC Atlanta
Update on WACA's New Website
AWQ 2016-2017
WACA 2017 National Conference
World Affairs Council Highlights
Travel the World
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KNOW NOW Conference Call: The U.S., Japan and Asia

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited East Asian capitals last week, following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's golf summit with President Donald Trump, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' trip to Japan and South Korea in February. WACA presents a KNOW NOW briefing by Jim Schoff, senior fellow in the Asia Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on the U.S.-Japan alliance, North Korea's nuclear threat, and security and economic challenges from China and the region. 

Register for the KNOW NOW call, to be held Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET. 

James L. Schoff, senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment, focuses his research on U.S.-Japan relations and regional engagement, Japanese politics and security, and the private sector's role in Japanese policymaking. He previously served as senior adviser for East Asia policy at the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense and as director of Asia Pacific Studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis. (Full bio)

Schoff is the author of a new book, Uncommon Alliance for the Common Good: The United States and Japan After the Cold War. He is available for speaking engagements at Councils. 
KNOW NOW: Sharp Cuts for International Affairs Budget

The Trump administration unveiled its first budget proposal, for FY2018, which would cut funding from large parts of the federal government to offset an increase in defense spending of $54 billion. Cuts to more than 18 other agencies would include slashing $10.9 billion, or 29%, from the budget for the Department of State, USAID, and the Treasury's International Programs. If implemented, these proposed cuts would reduce funding levels for diplomacy and development and programs to levels not seen since 9/11. 

The nonpartisan U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) will conduct a National Mobilization Week (March 20-24) to urge Congress to protect resources for America's international affairs budget. 

On Thursday, March 23, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET, WACA will host a KNOW NOW briefing by Lindsay Lee Plack, USGLC's Government Relations Director, to discuss the the implications of these proposed budget cuts and USGLC's efforts to stop them. A  Mobilization Toolkit  is offered to Councils and individuals wishing to participate in this effort. 

Lindsay Lee Plack, Director of Government Relations at USGLC, oversees the coalition's engagement with Capitol Hill and other policymakers. Previously, at the Glover Park Group, she managed government and public affairs work for a range of internationally-focused clients, including foreign governments, nonprofits, and multinational corporations. Plack also served as a senior lobbyist at The Oldaker Group. Prior to joining the private sector, she was an aide to Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), handling national security, foreign policy, and related appropriations portfolios.

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. 

Council CEOs: Submit your ideas for local experts to bring community and national issues of global dimensions to our network, using our national conference call platform. Please email Lian Esehaki at
Cuba - the Transition Begins. April 22-26

Ambassador Charles Shapiro, President 
of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, will lead a trip to Havana, Cuba from Saturday, April 22 to Wednesday, April 26 . Shapiro has led five trips to Cuba over the past two years. He served as the State Department's Coordinator for Cuban Affairs from 1999 to 2001.

In March 2018 Cuba will find itself in unknown territory - without a Castro running the country. Rául Castro will step down as president in February 2018. His brother Fidel of course ran Cuba, first as prime minister and then as president, from 1959 to 2008. 

We will meet with government officials to understand government of Cuba policy, changes in the economy, their efforts to attract foreign investment, and what the government will look like after Rául. And we will do a deep dive into the real Cuba. We will meet with independent entrepreneurs who are making their businesses succeed against all odds; visit people in their homes and let them explain how their ration cards work; get briefed by the U.S. chargé d'affaires (acting ambassador) at the U.S. Ambassador's Residence. And we will have a great time - mojitos, culture, art, and more. Maybe even a cigar or two. The trip is only three work days out of the office. Go on Saturday, back on Wednesday afternoon. If you want to finish out the week in Cuba, WAC Atlanta can help you make arrangements. 

For more information, contact Clare Morton at Prices start at $3,600 per person based on double occupancy. Click here for trip flyer and here for itinerary.
Update on WACA's New Website 

We would like to thank the World Affairs Council of Tennessee, World Affairs Council of Oregon, International Relations Council (Kansas City), and others for participating in today's conference call on WACA's new website. We strive to make the new website a platform that caters to our Council network's needs. We welcome suggestions, questions, feedback and ideas from Councils any time. 
AWQ 2016-2017: Hotel Block Expires March 30 

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: 
WACA 2017 National Conference 

Save the Date!

WACA's 2017 National Conference  will be held on November 15-17 
at the  Capital Hilton . Registration details will be available during summer. 

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!
World Affairs Council Highlights

Monday, March 20

Naples Council World Affairs hosts Dr. Stephen Sestanovich, the George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, on "Putin's Plans and U.S. Foreign Policy" Details (2016 WACA National Conference Speaker)

World Affairs Council of Western Michigan's Great Decisions lecture on "Is it all Politics?: Trade and U.S. Jobs" will feature Jeremy Haft adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and China expert Details (2016 WACA National Conference Speaker)

World Affairs Council of Monterey Bay Presents "Great Decisions: Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan" Details

Santa Fe Council on International Relations hosts a "Turkish Dinner and Film: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" Details

Tuesday, March 21

World Affairs Council of Atlanta hosts Nigel Farage, Fox News contributor, former chair of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), on "From Brexit to Trump" Details

World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts hosts Consul General of the United Kingdom Harriet Cross, on "British-U.S. Relations" Details

World Affairs Council of Palm Beach hosts Stephen Sestanovich, the George F. Kennan Senior Fellow at Council on Foreign Relations, on "Putin and a New American President" Details (2016 WACA National Conference Speaker)

Colorado Foothills World Affairs Council hosts Former Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, Gary Grappo, on "Challenges to U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East" Details

Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council hosts Pieter Visscher of the University of Connecticut, on "Lithium in the Andes: Economy, Ecology and Geopolitics of an Element that Is Key to Our Way of Life" Details

Sarasota World Affairs Council hosts John Cassara, expert in anti-money laundering and counter-terror finance, on "Terror Financing and International Money Laundering" Details

World Affairs Council of Jacksonville hosts James Astill, The Economist's Washington correspondent, on "An Update from The Economist: The Rise of Modern India" Details

World Affairs Council of Oregon hosts Dana Lynn Louis, on "Art, Craft & Connection in West Africa" Details

Utah Council on Citizen Diplomacy hosts Ms. Kathy Laurini,Senior Advisor of Exploration and Space Operations at NASA, on "International Cooperation and the Future of Human Space Exploration" Details

World Affairs Council of Austin hosts an "Advantage Dubai Seminar" Details

World Affairs Council of Seattle hosts "Asia Talks: Howard French with the Seattle Art Museum"  featuring Howard French, former New York Times Asia correspondent Details

Wednesday, March 22

World Affairs Council of San Antonio host its local "Academic WorldQuest 2017" competition Details

San Diego World Affairs Council hosts Juan F. Roche, Ph.D., adjunct professor at the University of San Diego, on "The Venezuelan Quagmire: A Riches to Rags Paradox" Details

World Affairs Council of Northern California hosts an event on "The Power of the Political Voice: Women as Voters, Candidates and Activists" featuring three speakers from The Asia Foundation: Michael R. DiGregorio, Vietnam Country Representative, Susan Marx Timor-Leste Country Representative, Jane Sloane, Director  Women's Empowerment Program, and : Sangeeta Chowdhry, Program Director of Economic and Political Empowerment at Global Fund for Women Details

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh hosts Oliver Massmann, General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam, LLC, and Ronald A. Brand, Academic Director of University of Pittsburgh's Center for International Legal Education (CILE), on "Vietnam: The Next Great Investment Opportunity for American Business" Details

World Affairs Council of Greater Reading hosts Dr. Eric Trager, Esther K. Wagner Fellow at The Washington Institute, on "Arab Fall: Why Egypt's Tahrir Square Revolution Failed" Details

World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts a two events on March 22-23 with Roby Barrett, Ph.D., former U.S. Foreign Service officer, on "The Gulf and the Struggle for Hegemony: Arabs, Iranians, and the West in Conflict" Details

Thursday, March 23

Columbia World Affairs Council hosts for its Distinguished Speaker Series Former President of Tunisia Dr.Mohamed Moncef Marzouki Details

The North County Chapter at the San Diego World Affairs Council hosts Andrew Blum, Ph.D., Director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego, on "Peacebuilding Success and Failure: What can we learn from Colombia and South Sudan?" Details

World Affairs Council of Sonoma County hosts Reese Erlich, award-winning journalist and author, on "The Islamic State, Assad, Russia, and the Failure of U.S. Policy" Details

World Affairs Council of Central Florida hosts in partnership with other organizations an event on "The Global Fight Against Human Trafficking" featuring Mira Sorvino, UN Goodwill Ambassador to combat human trafficking and Academy Award winning actress Details

Colorado Springs World Affairs Council hosts Dr. Jeff McCausland, U.S. Army Colonel (ret.), Founder and CEO of Diamond6 Leadership and Strategy, LLC, on "Back to the Future? Battlefield Nuclear Weapons in South Asia" Details

World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana hosts its monthly Speaker Series lecture on "Ukraine: Combating Human Trafficking and Forced Labor" Details

Friday, March 24

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts an event with Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas (D) Details

World Affairs Council of New Hampshire hosts U.S. Senator for New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen (D), to discuss "Russia and other International Issues" Details

Alaska World Affairs Council hosts General Joseph Ralston (USAF, Retired); and Lt. Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach, on "Military in Alaska: Past, Present, and Future" Details

World Affairs Council of South Texas hosts an event on "Women's Empowerment as Soft Diplomacy" Details
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: 

Megan Torrey, Executive Director, WAC of Connecticut, Cultural Cuba: Mar. 26 - Apr. 3

Mimi Gregory, VP and Program Chairman, Naples Council on World Affairs, Cruise the Face of Europe:  May 15 - 30

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