The World Affairs Council – Washington, DC, ‘A Leading Forum for Global Education and International Affairs,’ is an institution ‘Where Learning Happens.’
The World Affairs Council – Washington, DC (WAC–DC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to expanding awareness among the American public and the international community of geo-political, business, and civil society issues in our inter-connected world
Since 1980, WAC–DC has been a leading provider of top-level and thought-provoking presentations, debates, and discussions of global education and international affairs in the Washington metro area. The council’s programs include public, diplomatic, political, and business events, town hall meetings, professional development seminars, and international communications programs.
The council provides a neutral forum for speeches by presidents, prime ministers, cabinet officials, economists, diplomats, scholars, academics, corporate leaders, authors, researchers, pundits, journalists, and Nobel laureates. These worldwide speakers join council members, VIP guests, online audiences and the public for in-depth discussions of major foreign policy and education issues that have global impact.
The council's Ambassador, Embassy, Author, and Distinguished Speaker Series; Foreign Policy Fora; and Young Professional and News Maker programs engage over 5,000 members and guests each year. Since 2000, more than 110 foreign ambassadors, 50 US ambassadors, 21 US cabinet secretaries, and two US presidents have shared their perspectives on international affairs with our audiences. In addition, since launching the council’s online programs in 2007, more than 200,000 people have viewed WAC–DC events via the internet, video streaming, podcasts, and other new media distribution channels, in addition to C-Span and FORA.tv coverage.
To prepare young people to compete in the 21st century market, the council helps fill the global education and international affairs knowledge gap in the curricula currently offered by our country’s school systems. The council’s teacher development workshops, in-depth issue seminars, youth leadership forums, Academic World Quest competitions, internships, and international travel-study tours foster a balanced view of global issues. These programs facilitate worldwide knowledge transfer and analytical insights for American and international educators and their students.
Within the World Affairs Council of America’s 94-council nationwide network, WAC–DC is the recognized leader in professional development programs for educators. To date, over 1,000 American and international high school educators have participated in 20 annual Institutes on International Affairs, resulting in a direct impact on more than 500,000 students in the US and worldwide.
Since 2001, over 5,600 students from the national capital area have benefited from the council’s Youth Leadership Fora. Over the past ten years, the council’s Young Ambassador Scholarship program has created international travel-study experiences for nearly 60 deserving area high school students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. WAC–DC is aware of the need to bring this type of learning experience to the area school systems, and is actively engaged with an outreach program involving world history, geography, civics, social studies, and international affairs teachers and their students to help address this global education gap.
The council is governed by a board composed of international corporate executives, former high-ranking US government officials, senior development bank and NGO personnel, and academics. The board works with an experienced professional staff, interns, and dedicated volunteers to ensure that the council’s high-impact, targeted, and multi-disciplinary services are conducted according to international best practices and delivered with cost efficiency.
While the global education and international affairs results of the council’s programs are extensive, WAC–DC is expanding its American and international partnerships and services through a proactive forward strategy for the 21st century.
International Affairs Programs
Foreign Policy Series:
The Foreign Policy Series is traditionally a panel discussion of experts from differing fields and/or opposing viewpoints discussing an aspect of U.S. foreign policy. A recent Foreign Policy event was “Iran: At the Brink?”, featuring Dr. Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council, Mr. Alireza Nader, RAND Corporation, Dr. James Robbins, American Foreign Policy Council and Ms. Geneive Abdo, Century Foundation.
Meet the Ambassadors Series:
The Ambassador Series allows members a unique perspective on specific issues and regions by speaking with both U.S. and Foreign Ambassadors. Recent Ambassadors who have spoken to the Council include His Excellency Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Honorable Cameron Hume, U.S. Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Sudan, His Excellency Ronald E. Neuman, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, and His Excellency Imad Moustapha, Ambassador of Syria.
Foreign Embassies located in Washington D.C. graciously open their doors to WACDC members and guest’s, demonstrating their country’s hospitality and sharing key views on current issues. Embassies recently visited include Turkey, France, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, Romania, Portugal and India.
Author Series events allow members to engage with authors writing about current events and issues, such as the Iraq War, Israel-Palestinian Conflict, and U.S.-Foreign Relations. Recent authors include Simon Johnson, 13 Bankers, David Kilcullen, Counterinsurgency, Paul Collier, Plundered Planet, James Zogby, Arab Voices, and Fred Pearce, The Coming Population Crash.
Town Hall Meetings:
Town Hall meetings are open forums in which experts meet to share and debate views about topics affecting the entire world. Past Town Hall meetings have covered Global Climate Change, Nuclear Arms Proliferation, and Darfur.
Distinguished Speaker Series:
The Distinguished Speaker series is an opportunity for WAC-DC members and guests to meet and talk with prominent figures in the international community. Recent speakers have included Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate, The Honorable William J. Lynn III, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, General Michael Hayden, Former CIA Director, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, former Foreign Minister, Afghanistan.
Young Professional Events:
Only for our Young Professional members and guests, these events are hosted by the World Affairs Council at many locations around the D.C. area. The relaxed atmosphere allows the young, working community an opportunity to meet new people and share views on today’s most important international issues.
Global Educational Programs
Educational Programs are an important part of the WAC-DC’s focus. Each summer, the Council welcomes educators from the D.C. metro area and around the country to its Summer Institute on International Affairs. This week-long professional development program allows educators to interact with top experts on international issues, senior administration officials and foreign diplomats and to collect up-to-date classroom resources.
In addition to the Summer Institute, the World Affairs Council sponsors Youth Forums for area students on various international topics. In partnership with organizations such as the World Bank, the Council has focused its’ most recent forums on Global Poverty. Future topics for the Youth Forums might include Arab-Israeli Conflict, Climate Change, Energy, HIV/AIDS Pandemic, and Immigration.
Each year the Council also supports a scholarship program for DC students to study abroad in the summer. The Young Ambassadors program focuses on underprivileged students who demonstrate initiative to become more involved in the international community. This program is implemented in partnership with the DC Public School system and has proven to be a life-changing experience for those that participate. In the future, the Council hopes to expand the program to reach even more students within the D.C. metro area.
The World Affairs Council’s activities are funded through membership dues, and corporate, foundation and individual giving.
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