World Affairs Councils of America

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The logo of the World Affairs Councils of America

The World Affairs Councils of America represents and supports the largest national non-partisan network of local councils that are dedicated to educating, inspiring and engaging Americans in international affairs and the critical global issues of our times. The network consists of almost 100 councils in over 40 states. Each non-profit, non-partisan council is autonomous with respect to their governance, financing and programming but share certain common values. Founded in 1918, it has grown to become the United States' largest non-profit international affairs organization. In mid-February 2011, Chairman of the Board Ambassador Marc Grossman stepped down to become the United States Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, replacing Richard Holbrooke. In June 2011, WACA announced that Ambassador Paula Dobriansky would fill the position of Chair of the National Board.


The World Affairs Councils of America has a long and storied history that stretches back some 90 years. Two groups, the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) and the World Affairs Councils worked together in the same organizational system from 1918 until the early 1950s. The FPA was begun in the spring of 1918 by a small group of individuals who worked with President Woodrow Wilson, which included journalist and social reformer Paul Kellogg, who also served as FPA's first president. The founding members were concerned that at the end of World War I, Americans would choose an isolationist foreign policy over one of engagement and worked to nurture grassroots citizen involvement in international affairs. By 1947, these two groups operated as a national organization that was composed of a network of independent community councils.

In 1986, the National Council of World Affairs Organizations national office was established in Washington, D.C. This office evolved into the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). Today, WACA is the country's largest non-profit organization, promoting grassroots understanding and engagement in international affairs and seeking to involve as many citizens as possible in an exchange of ideas, knowledge and understanding of global issues.

The national office of the WACA works to develop new program opportunities to distribute to member councils. This includes a variety of national program series, an annual national conference, five flagship programs, Leadership Missions to other countries, and other opportunities.

In addition to providing program opportunities, the WACA acts as the central hub for the council network, connecting councils with resources, opportunities, and of course, with each other. Councils often turn to the WACA for assistance with capacity building and organizational development. The WACA staff visit several councils every year and work hard to help councils accomplish their goals.


The World Affairs Councils of America is a national association of world affairs councils that supports a group of 98 Councils who present programs annually. The 98 Councils that are part of this network sponsor international exchanges, school programs, teachers’ workshops, foreign policy discussions, national opinion polls, travel programs, young professionals’ programs, conferences, and corporate programs.

The national association organizes an annual conference, leadership missions to other nations, a speaker referral system, international speaker exchanges, people-to-people diplomacy missions, educational workshops, book tours, subscription discounts, operations workshops, and videoconferences. It has also run national program series such as World Bank Town Meetings, Two Koreas, Future of Russia, Western Hemisphere, Human Rights Worldwide, the EU, Rising Anti-Americanism, American Security, UN Reform, and The People Speak.

Council programs reach more than a half million people every year.

Flagship programs[edit]

WACA has eight flagship programs: Academic WorldQuest, Great Decisions, the NPR radio program "It’s Your World," Leadership Missions, the annual National Conference, Travel the World, and World in Transition.

Individual councils[edit]

Councils are funded through membership dues, corporate sponsorships, grants, in-kind donations, fundraising events, and fee-for-service activities. Over 2,000 corporations, foundations, and individuals help support council work.

State Name Office
Alabama Alabama World Affairs Council Montgomery
Alaska Alaska World Affairs Council Anchorage
Juneau World Affairs Council Juneau
Arizona World Affairs Council of Arizona Scottsdale
California World Affairs Council of Orange County Irvine
Los Angeles World Affairs Council Los Angeles
World Affairs Council of Monterey Bay Area Monterey
World Affairs Council of California Central Coast Oxnard
World Affairs Council of the Desert Palm Springs
World Affairs Council of Inland S. California Riverside
World Affairs Council of San Diego San Diego
World Affairs Council of N. California San Francisco
World Affairs Council of Sonoma County Santa Rosa
Colorado Colorado Springs World Affairs Council Colorado Springs
Denver World Affairs Council Denver
Colorado Foothills World Affairs Council Littleton
Connecticut World Affairs Council of Connecticut Hartford
World Affairs Forum Stamford
Delaware World Affairs Council of Wilmington Wilmington
District of Columbia World Affairs Council of Washington, DC Washington, D.C.
Florida World Affairs Council of Jacksonville Jacksonville
Naples Council on World Affairs Naples
World Affairs Council of the Florida Palm Beaches Palm Beach
Georgia World Affairs Council of Atlanta Atlanta
Southern Center for International Studies Atlanta
Savannah Council on World Affairs Savannah
Hawaii Pacific and Asian Affairs Council Honolulu
Illinois Chicago Council on Global Affairs Chicago
World Affairs Council of West Central Illinois Jacksonville
Peoria Area World Affairs Council Peoria
World Affairs Council of Central Illinois Springfield
World Affairs Council of the Quad Cities Davenport-Bettendorf
Indiana Indiana Council on World Affairs Indianapolis
Iowa World Affairs Council of the Quad Cities Davenport-Bettendorf
Kentucky World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana Louisville
Louisiana World Affairs Council of New Orleans New Orleans
Maine World Affairs Council of Maine Portland
Massachusetts WorldBoston Boston
World Affairs Council of W. Massachusetts Springfield
Michigan Detroit Council on World Affairs Detroit
World Affairs Council of W. Michigan Grand Rapids
Great Lakes World Affairs Council Lansing
International Affairs Forum [] Traverse City
Minnesota Minnesota International Center Minneapolis
Missouri International Relations Council Kansas City
World Affairs Council of St. Louis St. Louis
Montana Montana World Affairs Council Missoula
Nevada Las Vegas World Affairs Council Las Vegas
New Hampshire World Affairs Council of New Hampshire Manchester
New Jersey Princeton Council on World Affairs Princeton
New Mexico Santa Fe Council on International Relations Santa Fe
New York International Institute of Buffalo Buffalo
Foreign Policy Association New York City
World Affairs Council of Mid-Hudson Valley Poughkeepsie
World Affairs Council of Rochester Rochester
North Carolina World Affairs Council of W. North Carolina Asheville
World Affairs Council of Charlotte Charlotte
Triad World Affairs Council Greensboro
World Affairs Council of E. North Carolina Greenville
International Affairs Council of North Carolina Raleigh
Ohio Akron Council on World Affairs Akron
Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council Cincinnati
Cleveland Council on World Affairs Cleveland
Columbus Council on World Affairs Columbus
Dayton Council on World Affairs Dayton
Oregon World Affairs Council of Oregon Portland
Pennsylvania World Affairs Council of Harrisburg Harrisburg
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia Philadelphia
World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
World Affairs Council of Reading and Berks County Reading
World Affairs Council of Greater Valley Forge Wayne
Puerto Rico World Affairs Council of Puerto Rico Washington D.C. |San Juan, PR
Rhode Island World Affairs Council of Rhode Island Providence
South Carolina Charleston Foreign Affairs Forum Charleston
Columbia World Affairs Council Columbia
World Affairs Council of Hilton Head Hilton Head
South Dakota South Dakota World Affairs Council Brookings
Tennessee Tennessee World Affairs Council Nashville
Texas World Affairs Council of South Texas Corpus Christi
World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth Dallas
World Affairs Council of Houston Houston
World Affairs Council of San Antonio San Antonio
Utah Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy Salt Lake City
Vermont Vermont Council on World Affairs Burlington
Windham World Affairs Council Brattleboro
Virginia World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads Hampton Roads
World Affairs Council of Greater Richmond Richmond
Washington Olympia World Affairs Council Olympia
World Affairs Council of Seattle Seattle
World Affairs Council of Spokane Spokane
World Affairs Council of Tacoma Tacoma
Wisconsin Institute of World Affairs Milwaukee

Academic WorldQuest[edit]

Academic WorldQuest is an annual team-based international affairs, geography, history and culture competition sponsored by the World Affairs Councils of America.[1] WorldQuest, held every year since 2003, has two different levels open to competitors - high school and adult.

WorldQuest was created in 1995 by Jennifer Watson Roberts of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. The national competition began in 2003.

In order to compete at the national competition, held each spring in Washington, D.C., teams must first win at their regional council level (usually held in January or February). The 2013 National Academic WorldQuest Competition was held on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Georgetown University Hotel & Convention Center.[2]


External links[edit]