February 2, 2021
President's Letter; Council of the Month; Introducing New WACA Part-Time Staff; WACA's American University Practicum Fellows; Star Speakers This Week; WACA's Engage America; and more!
President's Letter
Dear Colleagues and Friends:

January 20, 2021 will be rightly marked and, in more quarters than not, celebrated as a U.S. Inauguration Day for the history books. Exactly one year after the first reported COVID-19 case in the U.S., science will again guide policy rather than suffer debasement by political interference and fiction.

Inaugural pageantry from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial soothed and struck healing chords of optimism two weeks ago. But the health of the republic remains on the line. So intertwined with the public health catastrophe and never more threatened in modern times than by the lethal January 6 siege of the Capitol, the fate of American democracy requires soaring calls for unity yet so much more.

The media will focus relentlessly on President Joe Biden’s first-100-days agenda and measure it against campaign promises. New conservative groups, such as the Republican Accountability Project, are taking aim at a different target – enablers of the Big Lie – and will be no less fierce. On top of action and accountability, add anger management on a national scale.

Meanwhile, the world is watching. “Here is my message to those beyond our borders. America has been tested and we have come out stronger for it,” the 46th U.S. president said minutes after taking the oath of office. “We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.”

Considerable global relief is coupled with skepticism, as the European Council on Foreign Relations notes in a policy brief: “Americans have a new president but not a new country.” The resumption of daily State Department briefings (see Secretary Blinken’s commitment here) and White House readouts of Biden’s calls to world leaders signal a refreshing substance and tone. Greater transparency and acceptance by the Biden team of what reasonable skeptics have to say will help bridge divides abroad and at home.

The meshing of local and global is no longer a choice. The issues laid bare by converging crises demand “glocal” sensitivity (otherwise there will be no solutions) to: the pandemic and health care; racial equity; climate; economic inequality; immigration; and domestic terrorism. Given these, and given the twin issue of America’s internal divisions and its standing in the world, it is not strange at all that Biden has tapped a former national security adviser, Susan Rice, as his top domestic policy adviser.

As we move into Black History Month, let’s heed the remarkable stanza of National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, whose history making will doubtless continue beyond Inauguration Day 2021:

For there was always light.
If only we're brave enough to see it.
If only we're brave enough to be it.

Bill Clifford, President and CEO
Council of the Month: Los Angeles WAC & Town Hall
WACA is pleased to announce the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall as the February 2021 Council of the Month! Los Angeles WAC & TH has been a leader in providing top quality programming with high profile individuals. This month, Los Angeles WAC & TH will be hosting Bill Gates and Don Cheadle for a live virtual discussion on Gates' new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need.
Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town HallWriters Bloc, and the World Affairs Councils of America are proud to present Bill Gates on Friday, February 19, 2021.

*Your ticket purchase includes a hardcover copy of "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster."
Star Speakers This Week
David Firestein
George H. W. Bush Foundation
Amb. (ret.) Barbara K. Bodine
Prof., Georgetown University
Maj. Gen. (ret.) Chris Ballard
Strategic Advisor, Jacobs
Tom Countryman
Chair, Arms Control Association
Nikole Hannah-Jones
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
Steven Olikara
CEO, Millennial Action Project
WACA's Engage America Speaker Series
World Food Program USA

Feeding the World Through Innovation: How Technology & the Corporate Sector Collaborate to Fight Global Hunger
Thursday, Feb. 4 at 10:00 AM ET
Gabriela Alvarado
WFP Chief of IT Emergency Preparedness and Response
Bernhard Kowatsch
Director, WFP’s Innovation Accelerator
Tiffani Burt
Exec. Director, Sealed Air Innovation and Sustainability
KEI: Future of Korea 2021

The Korean-U.S. Alliance
Thursday, Feb. 4 at 12:00 PM ET
Sung-hoon Park
Congressional Section, Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Jennifer Brannan
Desk Officer, Office of Korean Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Mark Tokola
Vice President, Korea Economic Institute of America
Introducing WACA's New Part-Time Staff!
Shannon McNaught works on Special Projects at the World Affairs Councils of America. Shannon comes to WACA as an experienced cultural programmer and policy researcher, with a background in international education and the arts. In addition to working for universities and cultural institutions in the United States and overseas, Shannon has conducted policy research on behalf of the UK National Commission for UNESCO, Americans for the Arts, and the U.S. Department of State. Shannon holds a B.A. in Art History and French from the University of Notre Dame; an M.A. in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art; and an M.A. in Intercultural and International Communication from American University. You can reach Shannon at smcnaught@worldaffairscouncils.org.
Ana Benfield is a multidisciplinary graphic designer with experience in branding, illustration, and social design. Over the past ten years, Ana has worked at marketing design studios located in Mexico and the USA, participated in the development of exhibitions, and as a volunteer for non-profit organizations aimed towards helping low income and native communities creating brand identities, packaging, and visuals to start their own business. 

Ana holds an MFA in Graphic Design from Boston University and a CFA in graphic design from UVM University in Mexico. You can reach Ana at abenfield@worldaffairscouncils.org.
WACA's American University Practicum Fellows
WACA is pleased to announce that it will participate as a client of the American University, School of International Service's practicum course. Five graduate students will spend the spring semester working with WACA and Councils on bolstering engagement among youth and young professional demographics. Councils can expect to be surveyed on any youth engagement and/or young professionals programs that are offered. More details to come. Meet the Practicum Fellows below!
Tasnim AlBusaidi
Asha Coutrier
Muhammad Behram Khan
Holley LaFever
Danielle Prouty
EU Medium-Term Economic Outlook: Vaccine and New Policy Developments Fuel Optimism
Thursday, February 25 at 1:00 PM ET
As the global economy emerges from the pandemic, the EU has launched an ambitious Recovery Plan that will underpin strong growth and a green, digital transformation.

With the pace of vaccine distribution set to increase steadily over the coming months and a Brexit deal on the books, there is good reason to be optimistic about the future. Although the second wave of the pandemic will inevitably delay the recovery of the EU economy, green shoots are beginning to show and the outlook for the second half of 2021 looks rosy.

Join us for an in-depth discussion of all these issues as well as an overview of the latest EU economic outlook.

  • Kris Orsini, Counselor for Economic and Financial Affairs, EU Delegation to the United States
  • Ben Carliner, Senior Economist, EU Delegation to the United States
  • Yvonne Bendinger-Rothschild, Executive Director, European American Chamber of Commerce New York [Moderator]
AWQ National Competition Format
It is confirmed the 2021 Academic WorldQuest National Competition in Washington, DC will be held virtually. Additional announcements will be forthcoming.

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2020-2021 Academic WorldQuest National Competition is scheduled to be held virtually on April 16-17, 2021.

AWQ Administrators
The AWQ local competition questions have been sent! The National Competition will utilize MyQuiz.org and Zoom breakout rooms. More technical details on the National Competition format to be announced.

2021 New Guideline!
Due to the AWQ National Competition being virtual in 2021 and endeavoring to be as inclusive as possible, each Council may bring up to three teams to the National Competition - whether you have a local competition or not. Even if your Council joins another Council's competition remotely, each Council may bring up to three teams to WACA's virtual National Competition in April.

If you have questions about AWQ, please email Laura Duncan at lduncan@worldaffairscouncils.org.
WorldOregon's 2021 International Speaker Series
February 4
Nikole Hannah-Jones — 1619, Race, & Democracy
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist

February 25
Maryn McKenna & Marcel Curlin, MD — COVID-19 & the Path to Recovery
Science/medical journalist & infectious disease specialist

March 4 
Ari Shapiro — Journalism, Facts, & Other Things Considered
Cohost of NPR's All Things Considered

April 7
Tom Colicchio — Hunger, Food, & Human Rights
Acclaimed restauranteur and Top Chef lead judge 
Monday 2/1

World Affairs Council of Seattle hosts Patrick Evans, former Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization to Pakistan, for “Careers in the United Nations.” 

Tuesday 2/2
World Affairs Council of Austin hosts David Firestein, President and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, for “What Are the Near- and Mid-Term Prospects for 2021 and Beyond?” 

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts Luke Patey, Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, for “How China Loses: The Pushback Against Chinese Global Ambitions.” 
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia hosts Augusto Lopez-Claros, international economist, for “Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century.” 

Foreign Policy Association hosts author Parag Khanna, Founder and Managing Partner of FutureMap, for “A China Agenda for the Biden Administration.” 
World Affairs Council Upstate hosts Shamini Jain, Founder and CEO of Consciousness and Healing Initiative, for “Filling the Well of our Being: Scientific and Spiritual Insights for Health and Happiness.” 

Cleveland Council on World Affairs hosts Naunihal Singh, Author of Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups, and Professor Rachel VanLandingham, Southwestern Law School, for “Coups and the Fragility of Democracy.” 

Santa Fe Council on International Relations hosts a panel of experts for "Cascading Conflict: What is the Science of Violence?"

Wednesday 2/3

World Affairs Council of Seattle hosts Ambassador (ret.) Barbara Bodine, Director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, for “Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis.” 
World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts Sebastian Mallaby, Paul Volcker Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, for “The Post-COVID American Economy.” 
Columbia World Affairs Council hosts Major General Christopher Ballard, Strategic Advisor at Jacobs, for “U.S. Intelligence in the Information Age: Are We Prepared for the Next Fight?” 
Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs hosts Professor Andrew Natsios, Texas A&M University, for “Foreign Aid in the Era of Great Power Competition.” 
Thursday 2/4

WorldOregon hosts Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Journalist, for “Changing Course: 1619, Race, & Democracy.”  

World Affairs Council of Tacoma hosts Tom Countryman, Chairman of the Board of the Arms Control Association, for “An Unappetizing Menu: Biden’s Foreign Policy Choices.” 
Santa Fe Council on International Relations hosts Ali Alyami, Director of Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, for "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Major Religious, Economic, and Strategic Dynamics."
World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts Jamey Rootes, President of Houston Texans, for “The Winning Game Plan: A Proven Leadership Playbook for Continuous Business Success.” 
World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts Sherri Goodman, Senior Fellow at the Environmental Change and Security Program, for “Climate and Security 2021: What Have We Learned and How Can We Move Forward.” 
Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall hosts Frank Figliuzzi, NBC News National Security Analyst, for “Building National Security in an Unstable World.” 
World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana hosts Kathy Stearman, FBI Agent (ret.) in Counterintelligence and International Terrorism, for “Securing the Capitol.” 
Friday 2/5

World Affairs Council of Hilton Head hosts Steven Olikara, Founder and CEO of Millennial Action Project, for “How the Rise of Millennials and Gen Z Will Shape American Foreign Policy.” 
Peoria Area World Affairs Council hosts Ambassador Amit Kumar, Consul General of India in Chicago, for “India - United States Relations.” 

World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts Vishal Goradia, CEO at Vinmar International, for “Global Connections.” 
International Relations Council (Kansas City) hosts Alexandre Meldem, Vice President of Sales Flyability Inc., for “International Career Series: Cross-Cultural Connections.” 
World Affairs Council of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky hosts Sam Schutte, Rotarian at Rotary Club of Cincinnati, for “Supporting the Environment.” 

World Affairs Council of the Desert hosts Professor Dan Schnur, University of California Berkley, for “Politics After Trump: A Progress Report.” 

Sunday 2/7

Global Minnesota hosts “Urban Expedition Virtual – Ghana.” 
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 Laura Duncan at lduncan@worldaffairscouncils.org for login details and account creation.