World Affairs Councils of America

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The World Affairs Councils of America
Formation 1986; 31 years ago (1986)
Type Non-profit educational/cultural organization
Headquarters Washington, DC United States
Roman Popadiuk
President & CEO
Bill Clifford

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 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, Ambassador Paula Dobriansky filled the position of Chair of the National Board. In June 2015, WACA announced that Ambassador Roman Popadiuk who served as the first United States Ambassador to Ukraine under George H.W. Bush, from 1992 to 1993, has been elected the new chairman of the national Board of Directors.

In 2014, the World Affairs Councils of America won the Diversity and Inclusion (DANDI) Award in the international category. The DANDI rewards "individuals and organizations for demonstrating outstanding commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive world".[1]


The World Affairs Councils of America is a national association that supports a group of 98 councils who present programs annually. The Councils 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 video-conferences. 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.

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.

National Conference[edit]

The National Conference is a 20 years old annual event engages diplomats, experts, members from the business, civic and education communities with leading policy. During three days, keynote speakers discuss about current international events with students and professionals. Policy conversations and networking also take place during the Conference.

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.[2] The WorldQuest, held every year since 2003, has two different levels open to competitors: high schools and adults.

WorldQuest was created in 1995 by Jennifer Watson Roberts of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. It was created to help closing the gap in students` knowledge about global affairs. The national competition began in 2003.

Carlos Alvarez, a businessman, philanthropist and member of the WACA National Board Directors, made a donation of $500.000 with his wife Malú. This generous donation was the largest ever made to a World Affairs Councils of America fundraising initiative. Thanks to this gift, WACA is able to sustain and expand the Academic WorldQuest national competition while supporting programs organized by the 96 local World Affairs Councils.

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 from November to March). Every year, 4,000 high school students across the country participate in local competitions hosted by their World Affairs Council. Each 40 teams consists of four students answering 100 questions.

National champions
High School
2016 Keystone School World Affairs Council of San Antonio
2015 DuPont Manual High School World Affairs Council of Kentucky and S. Indiana
2014 Plano West Senior High School World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
2013 East Aurora High School International Institute of Buffalo
2012 Plano Senior High School World Affairs Councils of Dallas/Fort Worth
2011 Plano Senior High School World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
2010 DuPont Manual High School World Affairs Council of Kentucky and S. Indiana
2009 DuPont Manual High School World Affairs Council of Kentucky and S. Indiana
2008 North Carolina School of Science and Math International Affairs Council of Raleigh
2007 Daniel Hand High School World Affairs Forum (Stamford)
2006 Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology World Affairs Councils of Washington D.C.

Leadership Missions[edit]

For more than a decade, the WACA has been invited to bring small delegations of council leaders to learn about a host country. A leadership mission consists of an overseas fact-finding visit to a city, country or organization by a delegation of the World Affairs Council.

Host Countries
1998 China 2006 Taiwan
South Korea Tunisia
Taiwan 2007 Germany
1999 Japan Saudi Arabia
Singapore Taiwan
2000 Morocco 2008 Israel
Northern Ireland South Korea
2001 Taiwan UAE
2002 Israel 2009 China
Lebanon Iraq
Libya Oman
2003 Jordan 2010 Taiwan
Mexico 2011 Azerbaidjan
Poland Taiwan
1996 Japan 2012 Afghanistan
1997 Brazil China
2004 Kuwait 2013 Taiwan
Lebanon 2014 China
Taiwan 2015 Taiwan
2005 Egypt 2016 Israel

Engage America Speakers Series[edit]

The Speakers Series includes partnerships between the National Office and think tanks, foundations, publishing companies and government agencies to provide speakers to America’s communities through our local councils on the critical global issues of our times.

Individual councils[edit]

Members councils are located in 40 states, as well as in D.C. and Puerto Rico. Councils are funded through membership dues, corporate sponsorship, 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 the Desert Palm Springs
World Affairs Council of Inland S. California Riverside
World Affairs Council California Central Coast Ventura
San Diego World Affairs Council 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
World Affairs Council of Western Colorado Grand Junction
Connecticut World Affairs Council of Connecticut Hartford
World Affairs Forum Stamford
Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council Waterford
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 Palm Beach Palm Beach
Sarasota World Affairs Council Sarasota
World Affairs Council of Central Florida Orlando
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 World Affairs Council of West Central Illinois Jacksonville
Peoria Area World Affairs Council Peoria
World Affairs Council of Central Illinois Springfield
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
Worcester World Affairs Council Worcester
Michigan Detroit Council for World Affairs Detroit
World Affairs Council of W. Michigan Grand Rapids
International Affairs Forum Traverse City
Minnesota Global Minnesota Minneapolis
Missouri International Relations Council Kansas City
World Affairs Council of St. Louis St. Louis
Montana Montana World Affairs Council Missoula
Nevada World Affairs Council of Las Vegas Las Vegas
Northern Nevada International Center Reno
New Hampshire World Affairs Council of New Hampshire Manchester
New Jersey World Affairs Council of New Jersey Paramus
New Mexico Santa Fe Council on International Relations Santa Fe
New York International Institute of Buffalo Buffalo
International Center of the Capital Region Troy
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
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
World Affairs Council of Northwest Ohio Stony Ridge
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 Greater Reading Reading
Puerto Rico World Affairs Council of Puerto Rico
Rhode Island World Affairs Council of Rhode Island Providence
South Carolina Columbia World Affairs Council Columbia
World Affairs Council of Hilton Head Hilton Head
World Affairs Council of Charleston Charleston
World Affairs Council Upstate Greenville
South Dakota South Dakota World Affairs Council Brookings
Tennessee Tennessee World Affairs Council Nashville
Texas North American Borderplex Council El Paso
World Affairs Council of Austin Austin
World Affairs Council of South Texas Corpus Christi
World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth Dallas
World Affairs Council of Greater 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


External links[edit]