Dear Council Leaders, Friends, and Supporters:
I hope you enjoyed a happy Fourth of July holiday weekend with your loved ones. Independence Day is a wonderful celebration of our nation’s birth 245 years ago. For many of us, this year’s Independence Day felt like a return to some sense of normalcy, but this is not so for the 600,000 fellow Americans who are no longer with us due to the pandemic and for their families. Members of our Council network are undoubtedly among those lost, a sobering reminder of the human toll of the last sixteen months.
As our nation re-opens, I am excited for the future of the World Affairs Councils of America and our partner Councils around the nation. The opportunity to return to gathering in person is one of many reasons for optimism. While WACA and Councils have delivered outstanding virtual programming since the pandemic began, I look forward to the opportunity to be together, to share a meal, and to engage in lively discussion. The 2021 National Conference, in celebrating the 35th year of WACA's founding, will be one such occasion. I hope you will join us November 16-19 in Washington for this very special anniversary year.
The extraordinary $10 million endowment gift of long-time WACA director Carlos Alvarez and his wife Mal
ú, which was announced at the WACA Board meeting one week ago today, is yet another reason to be incredibly optimistic for the organization's future. Carlos and Mal
ú’s gift is the largest charitable contribution in WACA’s 35-year history and will have a transformative impact on WACA and our ability to serve our nationwide Council network. Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez of San Antonio, Texas, have been outstanding supporters of WACA for over 20 years, including funding the Academic WorldQuest endowment as well as hundreds of student scholarships to attend WACA’s National Conference. I could not be more grateful to Carlos and Mal
ú for their belief in WACA and our mission to serve the Council network and to educate, inspire, and engage the public in world affairs.
I am also tremendously appreciative of WACA CEO Bill Clifford and his team for all that they have accomplished over the last year. The year has been challenging in so many ways, but Bill’s steady leadership and indefatigable work ethic has brought us through a difficult year in solid shape.
WACA’s new fiscal year began officially on July 1. I am grateful to be supported by a terrific WACA National Board, whom I am pleased to introduce:
Glenn M. Creamer, WACA Chairman
Mimi Gregory, WACA Vice-Chair (VP of Programs, Naples Council on World Affairs)
A. Alex Lari, WACA Vice-Chair (Chairman, The Claremont Group)
Charles J. Stout, WACA Treasurer (Senior Financial Advisor, DBR & CO.)
Karen Burghart, WACA Secretary (Executive Director, Colorado Springs World Affairs Council)
Bill Clifford, WACA President and CEO (ex-officio)
Carlos Alvarez, Chief Executive Officer, The Gambrinus Company
Kim McCleary Blue, President and CEO, Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall
Mimi Burke, Senior Policy Advisor, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
José de Arimatéia da Cruz, PhD, President of the Board, Savannah Council on World Affairs
Michelle Harpenau, Executive Director, World Affairs Council of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Matthew Hughes, Executive Director, International Relations Council (Kansas City)
Dr. Chuck Leonard, President of the Board, Montana World Affairs Council
Maryanne Maldonado, Chief Executive Officer, World Affairs Council of Greater Houston
Derrick Olsen, President, WorldOregon
Serge Tomassian, Managing Partner, Tomassian, Throckmorton, Inouye & Grigorian LLP
Megan Clark Torrey, Chief Executive Officer, Connecticut World Affairs Council
Mary Yntema, President and CEO, WorldBoston
It's a privilege to work with these dedicated leaders, and indeed with all the talented executives, staff, and volunteers across our diverse and engaged Council network. At the same time, I want to thank our departing Directors who are completing their terms. They have been an invaluable resource to me and to WACA:
Sylvia Fields, Executive Director, Eden Hall Foundation
Stephen J. Petras, Jr., Board Director, Cleveland Council on World Affairs
Dr. Joan Apple Lemoine, Past Executive Director, WAC Hilton Head
Forough Hosseini, Senior Vice President, ICI Homes
Xiao Yin Zhao, Executive Director, WAC Kentucky and Southern Indiana
In closing, I hope you share my optimism for the future of WACA and our Council network. We have an exciting year ahead and the future is bright.
Glenn M. Creamer