January 8, 2019
January Newsletter
President's Letter; Major Council Events; January Cover to Cover ; Global Ties U.S. National Meeting; Conference Speakers in the News & WACA Videos Online; AWQ Update; Councils of the Month and Councils in the News
President's Letter
Dear Council Leaders, Supporters, and Friends:

“I alone can fix it” (Trump) and “The buck stops here” (Truman) are two distinct approaches to presidential responsibility and leadership – and the difference has nothing to do with partisanship.

President Trump last month embraced some buck-stopping – at least initially – when he told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before TV cameras in the Oval Office: “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck….I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

Tonight, 18 days into the partial (but punishing) government shutdown, Trump will deliver a defining televised address from that same office to make the case for his border wall to the nation. Some argue that news networks should not broadcast the speech. I believe that they should do so, and provide fair time for a Democratic response .

It is up to citizens to arm themselves with facts, a critical responsibility on which a healthy democracy rests, and one which has become immeasurably difficult in recent years. I heard this point underscored repeatedly at the Santa Fe Council on International Relations’ excellent Journalism Under Fire conference last month.

The Washington Post’s Daily 202 newsletter reports that the paper’s Fact-Checker Team has “documented 7,645 false or misleading claims made by Trump  since taking office . Of those, 1,130 were about immigration. Claims about foreign policy and trade tied for second, with 822 claims, followed by claims about the economy (768).”

It is up to World Affairs Councils to engage the public in discussions grounded in facts on all these issues. Below, we highlight the network’s convening power, including controversial figures, that allow the people in communities we serve to increase their knowledge, test ideas, and make sound decisions. Our work has never been more relevant and vital.

Because your calendars fill quickly, I want to highlight several key dates:

  • Jan. 24 – WACA’s monthly Cover to Cover conference call series with prominent authors begins its sixth year with Francis Fukuyama on Identity
  • Jan. 24 – WACA breakfast at the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting
  • April 26-27 – The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2018 Academic WorldQuest National Competition in Washington, DC
  • June 13-15 – Semi-Annual Council Leadership Meeting and WACA Board Meeting hosted by International Relations Council in Kansas City, MO
  • Nov. 6-8 - WACA 2019 National Conference at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC

And, again, don’t forget to watch tonight’s important broadcast at 9:00 pm ET. What happens at our southern border has repercussions everywhere.

Best wishes for the new year,
Bill Clifford, WACA President and CEO 
World Affairs Councils Demonstrate Convening Power
Stephen K. Bannon
Political Strategist
H.E. Emily Haber
Ambassador of Germany to the U.S.
Heather Conley
Senior Vice President, CSIS
David E. Sanger
National Security Correspondent, New York Times
Fukuyama To Discuss Identity Politics on January's Cover to Cover
Demand for recognition of one’s identity is a master concept that unifies much of what is going on in world politics today. The universal recognition on which liberal democracy is based has been increasingly challenged by narrower forms of recognition based on nation, religion, sect, race, ethnicity, or gender, which have resulted in anti-immigrant populism, the upsurge of politicized Islam, the fractious “identity liberalism” of college campuses, and the emergence of white nationalism. The demand for identity cannot be transcended; we must begin to shape identity in a way that supports rather than undermines democracy.

Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment is an urgent and necessary book—a sharp warning that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we will doom ourselves to continuing conflict. 

Join our  Cover to Cover conference call with Francis Fukuyama Thursday, January 24, at 2:00-2:30 pm ET.
WACA to Host Breakfast at Global Ties U.S. National Meeting
The World Affairs Councils of America is pleased to sponsor the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting once again this year as part of a reciprocal arrangement to strengthen collaboration between our organizations.

For those Council leaders, staff, and board members who plan to attend the Jan. 23-26 Global Ties " The Exchange Effect" Conference in Washington, DC, we cordially invite you to participate in the WACA Breakfast Meeting on Thursday, January 24, at 7:15-8:15 am, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel ("Maryland A" Room).

If you would like to bring up topics of discussion ahead of time, please contact Liz Brailsford at lbrailsford@worldaffairscouncils.org.
Notable WACA 2018 Conference Speakers
We thought you'd be interested in the following:
Michèle Flournoy
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, WestExec Advisors
Flournoy shares her thoughts on Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ resignation in an interview with NPR.
James Kirchick
Visiting Fellow, Brookings Institution
Read Kirchick’s piece in The Atlantic where he writes about several articles containing fabricated information about American life in the German Der Spiegel.

Peter Singer
Strategist and Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Singer discussed his book, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, at the University of Southern California on Monday, Jan. 7. The event was streamed on CSPAN; watch it here.
Visit WACA's YouTube Channel for 2018 Conference Videos
Videos of the WACA 2018 National Conference are available on our YouTube channel, including Sean Spicer's fireside chat with WAC Dallas/Fort Worth CEO Jim Falk; keynotes by: Dr. Nina Ansary (left) on The Global Fight for Women's Rights, and Redseal CEO Ray Rothrock on Digital Resilience; Opening Dinner featuring speakers Ivo Daalder, James Lindsay, and Michèle Flournoy; an expert panel on the U.S.-China Trade War: Rhetoric or Reality; and WACA Chairman's Individual Leadership Award recipient Carol E. Byrne's acceptance speech. View here.
Save the Dates!
Mark your calendars now! The World Affairs Councils of America will convene its semi-annual Council Leadership and WACA Board Meetings in Kansas City, MO on June 13-15, 2019. We are grateful to Matthew Hughes and his team at the International Relations Council for hosting.

The WACA National Conference will return to The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC on November 6-8, 2019.

Buy discounted tickets when you renew annual Council Dues, coming soon!
Councils of the Month
Naples Council on World Affairs for its WACA-USIP Engage America : Peacebuilding: A National Security Priority program featuring United States Institute of Peace Senior Vice President Bill Taylor and Director of Public Education Ann-Louise Colgan. See USIP's Twitter post here about the event. 
The  Santa Fe Council on International Relations for its inaugural Journalism Under Fire Conference on December 5-7. The program explored the essential connections between journalism and democracy, press freedoms, and the turbulent dynamics of today’s media. Read The Washington Post's write-up of the conference and visit SFCIR's website to learn more.
World Affairs Council of Monterey Bay Area for graciously hosting WACA President and CEO Bill Clifford, who gave a luncheon talk to the Council and presented to the local Board of Directors. 
Academic WorldQuest Team Rules Update
After feedback and discussions with Councils that are seeking to expand their Academic WorldQuest program locally, WACA has agreed to allow the participation of composite teams in 2018-2019 local and national AWQ competitions. Students from two high schools or affiliations can combine to compete in an effort to reach new schools. Should such a team of four students win at the local Council's AWQ competition, it will be eligible to participate at WACA's AWQ National Competition in April 2019.

This new policy in effect with the current year on a trial basis, after which WACA will elicit further feedback and evaluate the initiative.

This year's  AWQ Study Guide is now available, along with more information about the  Carlos and Malu Alvarez 2018 Academic WorldQuest National Competition, to be held  Saturday, April 27, 2019.

WACA has secured a group hotel block at the  Washington Marriott Wardman Park HotelReserve your room today!

Interested in hosting your first Academic WorldQuest? We can advise you on best practices! Click  here to read the AWQ Operations Paper and more or contact  Drew Lorelli at the WACA office at  202-833-4557.
Travel to Qatar and Oman with WAC Greater Houston
The  World Affairs Council of Greater Houston  is offering a trip to Qatar and Oman  February 15-24, 2019 Experience magnificent Doha, the Museum of Islamic Art, enchanting Muscat, and a desert excursion in Wahiba Sands. The trip will be coordinated in collaboration with Diana Untermeyer, Cultural Adviser of the Qatar-America Institute.  Apply  here .
Councils in the News
Santa Fe Council on International Relations

Foreign Policy Association

Pacific and Asian Affairs Council

World Affairs Council of Rochester

World Affairs Council of Orange County

World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts

World Affairs Council of Atlanta

World Affairs Council of Maine

Vermont Council on World Affairs

International Institute of Buffalo

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

World Affairs Council of Central Illinois

World Affairs Council of Charlotte

World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads

Global Ties Arizona

International Affairs Forum

World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
Travel the World with WAC Philadelphia
Travel with Council Leaders - hear them lecture on Travel the World tours from the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia!
2019 travel schedule includes trips to: 

  • Michelle Harpenau, Executive Director, World Affairs Council of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky,Springtime in Provence & Burgundy, May 15 - 23, 2019
  • Dr. Carla Thorson, Senior Vice President of Programs, World Affairs, Northern California, Arctic Expedition: June 21 - July 1, 2019
  • Derrick Olsen, President, WorldOregon, Trade Routes of Coastal Iberia: Oct. 13-21, 2019
  • Jacqueline Miller, President & CEO, World Affairs Council of Seattle, Passage along the Danube River: Oct. 12-24, 2019
  • Craig Snyder, President & CEO, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, Exploring Saudi Arabia & Qatar: Nov. 7-17, 2019

Contact www.wacphila.org/travel or call 1-800-942-5004, ext. 209 or 217.

World Affairs Councils of America | 202-833-4557
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 902, Washington, DC 20036