September 8, 2020
WACA Weekly
Register Now for Conversations With the C-Suite; WACA Webinar on The American Diplomacy Project; Star Speakers on Council Webinars; WACA Partnership With PBS; Council of the Month; WAC San Antonio's The Big Give 2020; Councils Launch 2020 Election Series; + more Council Highlights!
Registration Is Now Live for Conversations With The C-Suite!

WACA will host an all-virtual conference September 29-October 1: Conversations With The C-Suite: Powering Global Recovery and Change. Registration is now open - view the official website.

2020 will forever be remembered as a year the world was plunged into interconnected crises: the global COVID-19 pandemic, mass unemployment, and upheaval across the United States over persistent racial injustice.

How will U.S. and international business leaders rise to these urgent challenges? Will they reimagine the role they play in addressing social problems by transforming companies and industries to contribute to social progress? How will redesigned workforces innovate and use technology to create a healthier, sustainable post COVID-world? 

In the time of COVID-19, we have made Conversations With The C-Suite free and open to the public to ensure as diverse and as inclusive an audience as possible. If you are able, please support WACA for the work that went into producing this special forum with a tax-deductible donation with your ticket order. 
Chairman and CEO
Bank of America
Council on Competitiveness, Philip Morris Int'l, WACA
Former Chairman and CEO
WACA Webinar on The American Diplomacy Project - September 10
The World Affairs Councils of America will host a webinar Thursday, September 10, at 4:00-5:00 PM ET, to discuss a new initiative from the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The discussion will be moderated by WACA President and CEO Bill CliffordRegister here.

The goal of this initiative - The American Diplomacy Project: A Foreign Service for the 21st Century - 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.

The American Diplomacy Project intends to address the serious challenges the Foreign Service has faced during administrations of both parties, including inadequate budgetary support to train and sustain the nation’s diplomats, increased politicization of the Foreign Service, and the need to recruit and retain the very best women and men from every part of the country and every ethnic and religious group.
This WACA webinar is free and open to all. As part of a national discussion about the purpose and future of the U.S. diplomatic corps, the speakers welcome questions and comments from the audience. They will also seek feedback from members of Congress and the wider public.

For more information about The American Diplomacy Project, please contact Ambassador Ries at
Vice Chairman,Cohen Group
Former WACA Chairman
Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project, Harvard Kennedy School
Council Promotional Partner: Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall
Star Speakers This Week on Councils' Virtual Programming
General (ret.) Curtis Scaparrotti
Former U.S. European Command
Clint Work, Fellow, Stimson Ctr.
Bob Davis, Senior Editor, WSJ
Lingling Wei, Award-Winning Journalist, Beijing Bureau, WSJ
Jake Sullivan
Former National Security Advisor for Vice President Biden
Amb. (ret.) Lawrence Butler, Former U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, WAC Orange County Thursday, September 10
Nick ‘Iligutchiak’ Hanson Mentor, first Inuit to compete on American Ninja Warrior
Amb. Marth Barcena Coqui
Ambassador of Mexico
to the United States
*Scroll down to the Council Highlights section to view all programs from Councils this week!
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.
On Thursday, September 10, at 5:00 PM ET, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia will host General Wesley Clark (ret.), Founder of Renew America Together, and the Honorable Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland, to discuss their views on how to bring our country together. 

WAC Philadelphia presents this conversation as part of its Stan and Arlene Ginsburg Family Foundation Great Debates Series and as part of their Paul E. Kelly Foundation Liberty Series. Register here!
WAC San Antonio's The Big Give SA 2020 - September 10
The World Affairs Council of San Antonio hosts an all-day virtual program on Thursday, September 10, as part of The Big Give SA 2020. Over the last 6 years, The Big Give SA has brought together San Antonio community members and regional supporters to give over $25 million dollars to local nonprofits. Whether you care about the environment, arts, animal welfare or entrepreneurship, the Big Give is a great opportunity to show the San Antonio community what matters to you!

WAC San Antonio will present expert panels and high-level events on different aspects of foreign affairs. On Thursday, September 10, at 2:00 PM ET (1:00 PM CT) WACA President and CEO Bill Clifford and WAC San Antonio Executive Director Armen Babajanian will discuss "The Importance of the World Affairs Councils of America." Check out the full agenda here!
WACA Partners With PBS - Harbor from the Holocaust Preview and Panel
PBS' Harbor from the Holocaust full documentary airs tonight at 10:00 PM ET (9:00 PM CT)! Check local listings for viewing options.

WQEDCorporation for Public Broadcasting, and the World Affairs Councils of America hosted a very special event featuring a sneak preview of the PBS Special Harbor from the Holocaust September 2. 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 followed the film clip. For those of you who were unable to tune into the sneak preview event and panel, you can watch the recording here using the password: CPBpbsHARBOR.
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
FPA Publishes America in the World 2020 - GD Special Edition
The Foreign Policy Association published 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. Order a copy today.
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.
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.
Tuesday 9/8

International Relations Council (Kansas City) hosts Ambassador Ron Kirk, Senior Of Counsel in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Dallas and Washington, DC offices, for “Choices: Foreign Policy Issues in the 2020 Election.”

World Affairs Council of Charlotte hosts General (ret.) Curtis Scaparrotti, former U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO, and Clint Work, Fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center, for “It’s Not Just Over There: The American Commitment to the Korean Peninsula.”

World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts Oni Blair, Executive Director of LINK Houston, for “SWAC Fall Kick Off.”

WorldBoston hosts Bob Davis, Senior Editor at The Wall Street Journal, and award-winning journalist Lingling Wei, Beijing Bureau at The Wall Street Journal, for “Superpower Showdown.”

World Affairs Council New Hampshire hosts Sarwar Kashmeri, Fellow at the Foreign Policy Association, for “American Foreign Policy and China’s Great Game.”

Tennessee World Affairs Council hosts Professor Thomas Schwartz, Vanderbilt University, for “Henry Kissinger and American Power.”

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts Assistant Professor Lauren Frances Turek, Trinity University, for “To Bring the Good News to All Nations: Evangelical Influence on Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Relations.”

Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall hosts a panel of experts for “The Foreign Policy Stakes of the 2020 Election.”

Wednesday 9/9

World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts Jake Sullivan, former National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden, for “2020 Election & U.S. Foreign Policy.”

World Affairs Forum (Stamford) hosts Colonel Suzanne Nielsen, Head of the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, for “All Volunteer Force: U.S. Civil-Military Relations in 2020.”

World Affairs (Northern California) hosts Conor Dougherty, Economics Reporter at the New York Times, and Scott Wiener, California State Senator for District 11, for “The U.S. Housing Crisis Amid COVID-19 and the 2020 Election.”

World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana hosts Mike Hudson, Director of the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind, for “American Printing House: Helen Keller, America’s Goodwill Ambassador.”

World Affairs Council of Austin hosts a panel of experts for a webinar event.

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

Thursday 9/10

World Affairs Council of Orange County hosts Ambassador (ret.) Lawrence Butler, former U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, for “U.S. and NATO: End of an Era?

World Affairs Council of Philadelphia hosts General (ret.) Wesley Clark, Founder of Renew America Together, and The Hon. Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland, for “Moving Forward: How Do We Unite Americans in 2021 and Beyond?

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts national security expert Ali Soufan, CEO of The Soufan Group and Founder of The Soufan Center, and Lawrence Wright, staff writer for The New Yorker, for “The Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed the War on Terror After 9/11.”

World Affairs Council of Charlotte hosts Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, for “The Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine.”

International Relations Council (Kansas City) hosts Steven Youngblood, Founding Director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University, and multimedia journalist Carlos Moreno, KCUR Public Media, for “Journalist Safety.”

World Affairs Council of Greater Reading hosts Milan Vaishnav, Senior Fellow and Director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for “India in the COVID-19 Era - Can Modi Turn the Tide.”

Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall hosts Professor Dan Schnur, University of Southern California, for “Politics in the Time of Coronavirus.”

Savannah Council on World Affairs hosts Professor Alasdair Young, Neal Family Chair at the Georgia Institute of Technology, for “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Brexit and European Integration.”

WorldOregon hosts Mel Gurtov, Professor Emeritus at Portland State University, for “America in Retreat: Foreign Policy Under Donald Trump.”

Santa Fe Council on International Relations hosts Stephen Pyne, Emeritus Professor at Arizona State University, for “Earth Under Fire: Creating a Pyrocene.”

Global Minnesota hosts a panel of experts for “Red Penguins: Greed, Corruption, and Capitalism Run Amok in Post-Soviet Russia.”

Tennessee World Affairs Council hosts a panel of experts for “China: Confrontation and Conflict or Cooperation.”

World Affairs Council of San Antonio hosts a panel of experts for “The Big Give SA.”

Friday 9/11

Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall hosts Ambassador Martha Barcena Coqui, Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S., for a webinar event.

World Affairs Council of Seattle hosts Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, for “Understanding Global Challenges.”

World Affairs Council of Greater Houston hosts Vivek Chidambaram, Managing Director in Accenture Strategy, for “Global Connections.”

Alaska World Affairs Council hosts mentor Nick ‘Iligutchiak’ Hanson, the first Inuit to compete on the TV show American Ninja Warrior, for “How Alaska’s Ninja Warrior Is Changing the World.”

Peoria Area World Affairs Council hosts Saheed Rosenje, System Engineer at Caterpillar, Inc., for “A Muslin in America: A Personal Perspective.”
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
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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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 for login details and account creation.