September 1, 2020
September Newsletter
President's Letter; WACA Partnership With PBS; Councils Present COVID-19 Global Town Hall; Star Speakers on Council Webinars; Save the Date! C-Suite Virtual Forum; Council of the Month; WACA Webinar on The American Diplomacy Project; Councils Launch 2020 Election Series; + more Highlights!
Correction: The WACA newsletter published yesterday misidentified Jacob Blake (as Jason) and his tragic circumstance. My corrected President's Letter is below. I regret and sincerely apologize for the errors. ~ Bill

Update: As we went to press, we were in contact with program partners. Also below, WACA's special webinar September 10 on The American Diplomacy Project now lists speakers. Our Conversations With the C-Suite website will be unveiled this week.

President's Letter
Dear Colleagues, Supporters, and Friends:

The virtual Democratic and Republic national conventions are behind us. The very real election is ahead of us. The devastating pandemic, economic distress, and racial injustices remain with us.

Amid prolonged grief and mourning for the 848,000 who have died of COVID-19 to date; amid the anguish compounded by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, seven times in the back, and subsequent lethal violence against anti-racism protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, WACA and World Affairs Councils nationwide are stepping up the programming on all of these critical issues and more.

I invite you to experience as many of the engaging programs below as you can. Be strong. Support your local Councils. Be sure to vote.

Bill Clifford, President and CEO
WACA Partners With PBS - Harbor from the Holocaust Preview and Panel
Join WQEDCorporation for Public Broadcasting, and the World Affairs Councils of America for a very special event featuring a sneak preview of the PBS Special Harbor from the Holocaust on Wednesday, September 2, at 7:00 PM ET. The documentary explores the extraordinary relationship of nearly 20,000 Jewish refugees and their adopted city of Shanghai.

A panel discussion with film director Violet FengDoris FogelManli Ho, and moderated by WACA President and CEO Bill Clifford will follow the film clip. Click here to read more!
WACs Present COVID Complexities: A Global Town Hall - Sept. 2-3

The town hall will be in two one-hour programs via Zoom and Facebook Live, during which journalists, physicians, researchers, NGO officials, and others will come together to discuss the impact of the pandemic in an interactive format. WACA's COO Liz Brailsford will give greetings for the Thursday, September 3 program. Click here for speaker details and more session information.
FPA Publishes America in the World 2020 - GD Special Edition
The Foreign Policy Association will publish America in the World 2020 - a 2020 Great Decisions special edition - Friday, September 4.

During the 2016 American presidential election, charges were leveled that foreign policy had become the preserve of specialized elites removed from the concerns of Americans outside the Beltway and Wall Street. Yet since 1918 the FPA and since 1919 the Hoover Institution have been at the forefront of encouraging informed public debate on vital international issues through dissemination of relevant and timely scholarship. We are delighted that FPA and Hoover have come together at this crucial juncture to stimulate public discussion over the path forward for America in a troubled world. Edited by FPA CEO Noel Lateef and Michael Auslin, Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia at the Hoover Institution. Pre-order a copy today.
Star Speakers This Week on Councils' Virtual Programming
Gayle Smith
President and CEO
ONE Campaign
David Firestein
Inaugural President and CEO, George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, CO Springs WAC - Wed., Sept. 2
Senior Circuit Judge Douglas Ginsburg, Chairman
Int'l Advisory Board, Global Antitrust Institute, GMU
Ambassador Robert Lighthizer
U.S. Trade Representative
Amb. Kelley Currie, Amb.-at-Large, Global Women's Issues
Maggie Toulouse Oliver
Secretary of State, New Mexico
*Scroll down to the Council Highlights section to view all programs from Councils this week!
WACA is pleased to announce the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia as September Council of the Month! After eight years as President and CEO of WAC Philadelphia, Craig Snyder will be stepping down, effective Wednesday, September 30, to the next chapter of his career. Snyder is also a former WACA National Board Member, and WACA joins WAC Philadelphia in gratitude for his leadership and commitment to mission of the World Affairs Council Network.

Joining the Council as the next President and CEO is Lauren Swartz, formerly Deputy Commerce Director for International Business and Global Strategy for the City of Philadelphia. "I am honored to lead the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia into its next era. I started my career in international education, and have spent the past two decades building ties, trade, and discourse with leaders around the world. I look forward to catalyzing my experience and perspective with an organization dedicated to connecting the world to Philadelphia," said Swartz.
WACA Webinar on The American Diplomacy Project - September 10
WACA will host a webinar Thursday, Sept. 10, at 4:00-5:00 PM ET, to discuss the new initiative from the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs entitled, the American Diplomacy Project: A Foreign Service for the 21st Century.

The goal of the American Diplomacy Project is to produce a nonpartisan report on how the White House, both parties in Congress, the State Department leadership, and concerned citizens can lead an effort to rebuild the Foreign Service for the next half-century. The report will be released following the November U.S. presidential election.
Webinar speakers include:

  • Ambassador Marc Grossman, Vice Chairman of the Cohen Group and former WACA Chairman
  • Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
  • Ambassador Marcie Ries, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Moderator: Bill Clifford, WACA President and CEO

The group will present their report to the Democratic and Republican parties the week of September 7. For more information about the project, please contact
Ambassador Marc Grossman
Ambassador Nancy McEldowney
Ambassador Marcie Ries
Council Promotional Partner: Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall
Los Angeles WAC&TH Re-Launches 2020 Election Series - September 8
Starting Tuesday, September 8, through Election Day, the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall will be re-launching its 2020 Election Series online. This series started in November of 2019 consisting of monthly in-person events, and had a growing audience of members who valued the in-depth discussions with campaign and policy experts. WACA is proud to be a community partner for this virtual series.

The new seven-part series will be a weekly webinar that will focus on different aspects of the November election, from voter demographics to campaign strategies to the candidates’ public and foreign policy platforms, and more. Also, the Council will be hosting a program for Los Angeles public high schools to learn about being a young voter and the importance of leadership skills and civic engagement.

First up are foreign policy experts Rebecca Lissner, Mira Rapp-Hooper, and Max Boot to discuss the key challenges facing the U.S. in the 21st Century. If you are interested in being a sponsor, please contact Christina Doheny at
IRC Presents New Series on Foreign Policy in the 2020 Election - Sept. 8
In the 8 weeks leading up to the November 2020 presidential election, the International Relations Council (Kansas City) will host high-level speakers for "Choices: Foreign Policy in the 2020 Election." The 2020 presidential election will present the American people with consequential choices around international challenges and the future of U.S. foreign policy. Rather than advocate a particular approach or outcome, the nonpartisan Choices series will serve to inform voters through a presentation of historical context and a detailed examination of the foreign policy platforms of the major-party candidates.

First up on Tuesday, September 8, at 7:30 PM ET (6:30 PM CT) is Ambassador Ron Kirk, Senior Of Counsel in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Dallas and Washington, D.C. offices, discussing Tariffs and Trade. Click here to view more information, registration links, and the full speaker lineup.

If Councils are interested in sharing this series with their membership, please reach out to IRC Executive Director Matthew Hughes at with any questions.
Global Minnesota Hosts World Food Day Events - Sept. and Oct.
Global Minnesota is a 2020 World Food Program USA Virtual Speaker Series grant recipient as part of WACA's Engage America grant series. The Council will host a full day of programming on World Food Day, Friday, October 16. A pre-World Food Day event on "Food Security and Foreign Policy" will be held Wednesday, September, 16, featuring the following panelists:

  • Asma Lateef, Director, Bread for the World Institute
  • Rob Paarlberg, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Caitlin Welsh, Dir., Global Food Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Click here for more information, panelist additions, and registration information.
WAC Pittsburgh Seeks a Development Officer

WAC Pittsburgh seeks a passionate and qualified individual to lead its development initiatives, seeking out meaningful partnerships from across sectors to support revenue generation and budget growth. Reporting directly to the President and CEO, the position’s primary responsibility is to support fundraising efforts, including individual giving, corporate sponsorships, foundation relations and grant writing, government funding, and special events. Apply here.
Save the Date! WACA's C-Suite Virtual Forum - September 29-October 1
WACA will host an all-virtual conference September 29-October 1, titled "Conversations with the C-SUITE: Powering Global Recovery and Change." Mark your calendars! Speakers TBA soon.
Start a Local Academic WorldQuest Program This Season!
WACA encourages all Councils to host a local Academic WorldQuest program for high school students in your area. Please read WACA's 2021 Operations Paper to learn more about launching an AWQ competition. Additionally, please use these materials to promote the AWQ program to teachers, students, and sponsors for the 2020-2021 AWQ season: Teacher's Guide and AWQ Flyer. There is no minimum or maximum number of teams that are required for local AWQ competitions, and WACA encourages Councils to engage as many regional high schools as possible.

AWQ is WACA's flagship youth education program, now in its 19th year. WACA has expanded the program to some 50 Councils that host local AWQ competitions annually that engage nearly 5,000 high school students nationwide. The program culminates in the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Academic WorldQuest National Competition each spring in Washington, DC (a virtual National Competition is being considered for 2021). Too many American students today fall behind their counterparts from other countries in their knowledge and understanding of world history, geography, and current international events. The mission of Academic WorldQuest is to close the gap. Learn more here.
WACA's National Speaker Database Needs You!
WACA is continuing to upgrade and expand our 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.
WACA highly recommends Angela Stent, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings Institution and Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University, for virtual speaker programs particularly as the 2020 presidential election approaches. She has spoken at several local WACs and has planned more speaking engagements this fall. If interested, please reach out directly to Dr. Stent at
Tuesday 9/1

Columbus Council on World Affairs and International Relations Council (Kansas City) host Gayle Smith, President and CEO of the ONE Campaign, for “Women in the World: Global Poverty, Gender, and Race.”

Montana World Affairs Council hosts artist Monte Dolack for “Connect Montana.”

Cleveland Council on World Affairs hosts a panel of experts for “Happy Dog Takes on the World: Foreign Threats and the 2020 Election.”

Tennessee World Affairs Council hosts a panel of experts for “Global Nashville.”

Wednesday 9/2

Colorado Springs World Affairs Council hosts David Firestein, Inaugural President and CEO of the George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, for “The Complexity of U.S.-China Relations.”

World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts Senior Circuit Judge Douglas Ginsburg, Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the Global Antitrust Institute at George Mason University, for “A More or Less Perfect Union: Liberty and the U.S. Constitution.”

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts The Hon. William Perry, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Tom Collina, Policy Director at the Ploughshares Fund, for “The New Nuclear Arms Race.”

World Affairs Council hosts Dr. Eric Brenner, Medical Epidemiologist at the University of South Carolina, for “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Separating Fact from Fiction and Certainty from Uncertainty.”

World Affairs Council of Atlanta hosts Brett Lacy, Associate Director of the Democracy Program at The Carter Center, for “Protecting Elections at Home and Abroad.”

Montana World Affairs Council hosts Rafael Chacon, Bruce and Suzanne Crocker Director of the Montana Museum of Art & Culture, for “Connect Montana.”

Tennessee World Affairs Council hosts a panel of experts for “Global News Review.”

Colorado Springs World Affairs Council, International Relations Council (Kansas City), Tennessee World Affairs Council, World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts, and WorldDenver host a panel of experts for “COVID-19: Impact in the Developing World.”

Thursday 9/3

World Affairs Council of Philadelphia hosts Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative, for a webinar event.

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh hosts Amb. Kelley Currie, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, for “The Role of the U.S. in Promoting Women, Peace, and Security Around the World.”

Santa Fe Council on International Relations hosts Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico Secretary of State, for a webinar event.

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts Blair Sheppard, Head of Global Strategy and Leadership at PWC, for “Ten Years to Midnight: Four Urgent Global Crises and Their Strategic Solutions.”

Montana World Affairs Council hosts Terri Elander, International & Public Relations Director at the Missoula Community Theater, for “Connect Montana.”

World Affairs Council of Austin hosts Professor Roy Casagranda, Austin Community College, for “State of the Middle East.”

International Relations Council (Kansas City) hosts a panel of experts for “2020 Virtual Security Conference: North Korea from the Inside Out.”

World Affairs (Northern California) hosts a panel of experts for “Leading the Fight: How Cities Are Acting on Global Issues.”

Colorado Springs World Affairs Council, International Relations Council (Kansas City), Tennessee World Affairs Council, World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts, and WorldDenver host a panel of experts for “COVID-19: Global Response and the Future.”

Friday 9/4

World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts Gabriel Volpi, Dean of the Consular Corps of Houston, for “Global Connections.”

Santa Fe Council on International Relations hosts Professor Todd Greentree, University of New Mexico, for “What Went Wrong in Afghanistan? And Why Does It Matter?
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.

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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 for login details and account creation.