June 1, 2020
June Newsletter
President's Letter (corrected link ); June WACA National Board Meeting; Star Speakers at Councils; Council of the Month; June Cover to Cover ; Columbus Council and WACA Partner on June 25 Program; Watch WACA's Keynote Program With USIP President Lindborg, plus more Council News and Highlights!
Dear Colleagues, Supporters, and Friends:

If I could ask for a moment of silence for George Floyd….

The scenes and conversations we have experienced – via television, social media, and in person – in the week since Mr. Floyd’s horrific murder at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, one of whom has been charged, have been by turns heart-rending, disturbing, confusing, and at times inspiring.

America’s crisis of racial injustice, layered on top of and intertwined with the global pandemic and economic crises, begs for leadership at the national level.

I can’t help but think of President Trump’s jarring inaugural address, whose tone and America First policy prescriptions contrasted sharply with those of his modern predecessors from both parties.

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he proclaimed, with Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush (43), Obama, and Chief Justice Roberts looking on.

Elaborating grievances domestic and foreign, he then said: “A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.”

In WACA’s February 2017 newsletter, I concluded: “Question: is it plausible that America's greatness today will devolve into carnage if the experiences and [executive] orders like we have seen over the last 10 days multiply in the weeks and months ahead?”

This president today on a conference call with governors called them “weak” in the face of largely peaceful protests and exhorted them to “dominate” the protestors by deploying the state’s force. Just six weeks ago, this president was encouraging protesters of a different sort, some who brandished arms as they marched toward state capitols, with all-caps tweets: “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN,” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA.”

Just as with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we as a nation rely on others for leadership to remedy social cleavages: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (and here) and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (and here).

And we can be guided by wise people of vast experience, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose weekend op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, offered this trenchant observation:

" I don't want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African-Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible even if you're choking on it - until you let the sun in. Then you see it everywhere."

World Affairs Councils have a role to play. We can help clear the air. As public conveners, we can help defuse and clarify an angry, tense, or confused situation by frank discussion. We must act intentionally. I urge everyone to peruse this Bridgespan Group resource, which provides a wealth of information that goes beyond its important theme of racial equity and the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is long past time to come to grips with centuries of American history and see it for what it is. American primacy in the world has become tarnished for many reasons. Adversaries will seek advantage, and the best way to position ourselves is to get our house in order. But it shouldn’t take great power competition to motivate us. Racial justice must be a top domestic and international priority for its own sake – are we going to Do the Right Thing?
Bill Clifford
President and CEO
Spring WACA National Board Meeting - June 11
On Thursday, June 11, WACA will host a virtual meeting of the National Board of Directors in lieu of the in-person meeting originally scheduled to take place during the Spring Leadership Meetings June 11-13. WACA and the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council, the 2020 Spring Meetings host, were disappointed that the pandemic prevented an in-person meeting, but look forward to connecting the Network in new and exciting ways!

Announcing: Council CEOs Zoom hosted by Bill Clifford on Thursday, June 4, at 2:00 PM ET, to discuss reopening strategies, programming updates, CxC Ideas Summit survey results, and more. This call will be helpful for the upcoming WACA National Board Meeting.

*Zoom details and a registration link will be provided to Council executives tomorrow.
Star Speakers This Week on Councils' Virtual Programming
Amb. (ret.) Frank Wisner, former U.S. Ambassador to India
Roxane Farmanfarmaian, Dir.
University of Cambridge
Tamanna Salikuddin
Director, South Asia Programs
U.S. Institute of Peace
Philip Yun
President and CEO
World Affairs
Amb. (ret.) Thomas Pickering
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, El Salvador, and the UN
Congressman Adam Schiff
U.S. Congressman (D-CA)
Nisha Blackwell
Founder and CEO
Knotzland Bowties Co.
*Scroll down to the Council Highlights section to view all programs from Councils this week!
WACA is pleased to announce WorldDenver as June Council of the Month!

The Council debuted its brand new logo and website redesign today, June 1, and we congratulate them for this fantastic rebranding. Under the leadership of Executive Director John Krieger, WorldDenver carries out its mission to strengthen and expand the community of engaged global citizens and organizations in Colorado through education, cross-cultural exchange, and personal interaction with international leaders, professionals, and students.

Stay tuned throughout the month of June for weekly highlights from WorldDenver!
Columbus Council and WACA Partner on June 25 Program
Columbus Council on World Affairs will present Alfredo Corchado, Mexico City Bureau Chief of the Dallas Morning News, for " Immigration, COVID-19, and the U.S. Economy" on Thursday, June 25.

After the success of the CxC: Amplified Putting the World Back Together Ideas Summit last month, WACA is delighted to amplify the voices of Councils around the country. To view CxC Summit recordings including the Summit highlights video package , check out WACA's  YouTube page here. (We will be adding more session videos as we receive them from Councils.)
June Cover to Cover : Mira Rapp-Hooper on America's Alliances
Register now for WACA's Cover to Cover conference call on Tuesday, June 23 at 2:00-2:30 PM ET, featuring Mira Rapp-Hooper, Stephen A. Schwarzman Senior Fellow for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and Senior Fellow at Yale's Paul Tsai China Center, on her new book Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America’s Alliances .

Mira Rapp-Hooper reveals the remarkable success of America’s unprecedented system of alliances developed during the Cold War. Today, China and Russia seek to break America’s alliances through conflict and non-military erosion. Meanwhile, U.S. politicians and voters are increasingly skeptical of alliances’ costs and benefits and believe we may be better off without them. But what if the alliance system is a victim of its own quiet success? Rapp-Hooper argues that America’s national security requires alliances that deter and defend against military and non-military conflict alike.
Cover to Cover and KNOW NOW on Podcast

Listen now to WACA's May Cover to Cover conference call with Michael Klare, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Arms Control Association and Prof. Emeritus of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, on his book All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change.

Listen now to WACA's May KNOW NOW conference call with Ambassador Luis Moreno, former U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica, and Armen Babajanian, Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, on U.S.-Latin America Relations.
Watch WACA's Keynote Program With USIP President Lindborg
Nancy Lindborg , President and CEO of the  United States Institute of Peace , delivered a virtual keynote address to the Council Network and all Academic WorldQuest students and teachers on  Thursday, May 28 .

In light of the current pandemic and the unfortunate but necessary cancelation of the  Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2020 Academic WorldQuest National Competition , Nancy addressed the students and teachers along with the national audience. She explored the unprecedented threats the coronavirus poses to fragile states and the important opportunities the pandemic offers to help fragile states recover better, as well as questions from the live audience. In case you missed it, watch now !
WACA 2020 Engage America Grant Awardees!
Monday 6/1 

Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall hosts David Kim, U.S. Congressional Candidate (CA-34), for “ What Is the Political Case for Universal Basic Income?
Tuesday 6/2 

World Affairs (Northern California) hosts Ambassador (ret.) Samantha Power, Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, for “ The Education of an Idealist.”

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts Ambassador (ret.) Frank Wisner, former U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines, and India, and Roxane Farmanfarmaian, Director of International Studies and Global Politics at the University of Cambridge, for “ Iran, the U.S., and the COVID-19 Crisis.”

Montana World Affairs Council hosts Alice Thomas, Executive Director of the Central Asia Institute, for “ Connect Montana.”

International Relations Council (Kansas City) hosts Tamanna Salikuddin, Director of South Asia Programs at the United States Institute of Peace, for “ Conflict and Competition in South Asia.”

World Affairs Council of Atlanta hosts J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President & Director of the Gobal Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, for “ COVID-19 Part II: What’s Next?

Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy hosts Mohamed Ahmed, Creator of Average Mohamed, for “ Average Mohamed: Combating Violent Extremism One Cartoon at a Time.”

Cleveland Council on World Affairs hosts a panel of experts for “ Happy Dog Takes on the World: Health Surveillance, Privacy, and the Future of Democracy.”

Wednesday 6/3 

World Affairs (Northern California) hosts Philip Yun, President and CEO of World Affairs, for “ Nuclear Proliferation in an Uncertain World.”

World Affairs Council of Atlanta hosts Doug Shipman, President and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, for “ COVID Side Effects: The Impact on Arts & Culture.”

Montana World Affairs Council hosts Board Member Mary LaPorte and Executive Director Ana Luise Ahern, EcoViva, for “ Connect Montana.”

WorldOregon hosts Mathew Burrows, Director of the Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative at the Atlantic Council, for “ We Saw It Coming: Foresight, Policy, & Three COVID-19 Scenarios.

WorldBoston hosts John Gans, Director of Communications and Research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House Global Policy Center, for “ White House Warriors.”

World Affairs Council of Connecticut hosts Meghan O’Sullivan, Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, for “ How Oil and Energy Will Shape Our Post-Pandemic Future.”

World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts J ames Olson, Professor of the Practice at Texas A&M University, for ” To Catch a Spy: The Art & Future of Counterintelligence.”

Upstate International hosts attorney Steve Buckingham and William Lasser, Director of the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University, for “ Checks and Balances: Presidential Powers in a Crisis.”

World Affairs Council of New Hampshire hosts scholar and researcher Martin Nekola for “ Heart of Europe.”

World Affairs Council of Greater Reading hosts political historian Randall Fegley, Penn State Berks College, for “ Red Sea Security.”

World Affairs Council of Maine hosts a panel of experts for “ Great Decisions 3: India and Pakistan.”

Thursday 6/4 

World Affairs Council of Seattle hosts Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns, Founder and Faculty Chair of the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard University, for “ Global Leadership and the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

World Affairs Council of Charlotte hosts Ambassador (ret.) Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, Jordan, and the UN, and Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Founder and Publisher of Bourse & Bazaar, for “ Oil, Sanctions, and COVID-19: What’s Next for the U.S. and Iran?

Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall hosts Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) for a livestream event.

Montana World Affairs Council hosts Lenka Beranova, Founder and Executive Director of Seeds for Dreams dba PLAYFWD, for “ Connect Montana.”

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts Amity Shlaes, Chair of the Calvin Koolidge Presidential Foundation, for “ Headed Toward Another Great Depression?

WorldOregon hosts Francisco Palmieri, Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, for “ COVID-19 & Latin America.”

World Affairs (Northern California) hosts William Drozdiak, Senior Fellow at Brookings, for “ France’s Emmanuel Macron, a European Leader in a Time of Crises.”

Santa Fe Council on International Relations hosts Julie McCarthy, Reporter at NPR, for “ Hong Kong, Democracy, and the Coronavirus.”

World Affairs Council of Orange County hosts a panel of experts for “ From the Tiananmen Protests of 1989 to the Hong Kong Crisis of 2019 - And Beyond.”

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts a panel of experts for “ NAFTA 2.0: Implementation of USMCA and Economic Response to COVID-19 Crisis.”

Friday 6/5 

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh hosts Nisha Blackwell, Founder and CEO of Knotzland Bowties Co., for “ From Bowties to Face Masks. How Local Business Is Responding to COVID-19.”

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts Jia Lynn Yang, Deputy National Editor for the New York Times, for “ On Immigration.”

Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall hosts a panel of experts for “ Benchmarks for the New Normal.”
World Affairs Councils of America 
World Affairs Council of Atlanta 
Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall 

World Affairs Council of Greater Reading 
World Affairs Council of Dallas Fort/Worth 

Upstate International 

Savannah Council on World Affairs 
The World Affairs Councils of America is an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to engaging the public and leading global voices to better understand the world, America’s international role, and the policy choices that impact our daily lives and our future.

Your generous contributions will strengthen our capacity to support the World Affairs Council Network through educational and civic initiatives - any amount helps.

Your donation goes to:

  • Academic WorldQuest Endowment
  • Our flagship youth education program. We are 23% away from achieving our $1M goal!
  • New Horizons Councils Fund
  • Any monies donated to this fund are set aside only for World Affairs Councils' use
  • New Horizons General Operations
  • Help support WACA carry out its educational mission with initiatives such as the National Conference, Cover to Cover and KNOW NOW monthly conference calls, the Engage America Speaker Series, and general office operations

You can give in one of several ways:

  • Pay with your credit card via the donation buttons at the bottom of this page
  • Mail a check to the WACA National Office (1010 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 516, Washington, DC 20005)
  • Make a gift of appreciated stock
  • Request a distribution from your Donor Advised Fund
  • Check with your employer to see if they will match your gift!

With the passing of the CARES Act, most individual taxpayers will become eligible for significant tax benefits for charitable contributions made this year. Two of these benefits will be:

  • A $300 Above-the-Line Charitable deduction, meaning that individuals who do not itemize their deductions will be eligible to claim up to $300 of charitable deductions in 2020, on top of the standard deduction
  • Modified Limitations on Cash Charitable Contributions - for 2020, the 60% AGI limitation on cash contributions to 501(c)(3) organizations, such as WACA, is suspended

Click on the categories below to make a donation and view more information about the benefits of your contribution. We thank you for your support!
Access Council Virtual Programming via WACA's Members-Only Portal
WACA is busy preparing a number of additional resources for the Members-Only section! WACA strives to provide Councils with easy access to tools, guidelines, events, and more that add value to our Members both personally and professionally, to our Councils' overall operations, and to the Network as a whole. This is a top priority for the National Office, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. That is why we've added two resource sections dedicated to COVID-19 related information and digital programming available to the public by Councils.

The goal is to make the Members-Only section a one-stop shop for all Council needs. However, these sections are only as good as the information contained within, so we are calling on all Councils to please submit any documentation per the categories below, or any other information helpful to the Network.

The Members-Only section is a private benefit for our Council Members. Please contact Rachel Pastor at rpastor@worldaffairscouncils.org for login details and account creation.
COVID-19 Updates & Tracker

Health & Wellness

Educator Resources
  • Ohio Council for the Social Studies Resource Document -- Bill Hilt, President/CEO, WAC Northwest Ohio
  • To help alleviate some of concerns with distance learning and explaining the current health crisis, the list is a compilation of K-12 Social Studies lessons, activities, and resources. It also has guidelines for explaining COVID-19 to young people.
  • Zoom CEO announcement of free platforms for K-12 schools

WACA Updates: Messages from President and CEO Bill Clifford

*To view Council Member Resources on the WACA website, you must be a Council leader, staff, or board member and have an account

Please contact Rachel Pastor at rpastor@worldaffairscouncils.org if you don't have an account.
WACA's National Speaker Database Needs You!
We have recently debuted WACA's Speaker Database 2.0. In this new iteration, we have expanded our list of speakers and made it easier than ever for you, as Council staff and board members, to engage with it. We want your speakers! Please submit your speakers through the " Submit Your Speakers" button on our website.

You need to have an account through our website in order to view and interact with the database and submit your speakers. To check if you have an account, please visit your Council Member page on the WACA website and see if you are listed as a staff or board member. If you are not, you will not be able to interact with the database yet.

If you do not have an account or are having issues accessing the website and/or the Speaker Database, please email Rachel Pastor.