Upcoming Events

    • October 13, 2021
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

    The San Diego World Affairs Council presents the
    "Distinguished Speaker" Series

    Peter Núñez 

    Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement under President George Bush
    Former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection 


    "Politics has affected border security, immigration, and drug trafficking: How our federal government has failed in its essential duty to ensure that the 'laws are faithfully executed'" 

    Wednesday, 13th October 2021 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. (PST) 

    Zoom link - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81805323523?pwd=M3BBZ2s2dmR3WXJHYkJqYVRLbitoZz09

    Peter K. Núñez began his career in law enforcement in 1972 as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorneys Office in San Diego, California. He held a number of positions in that office before being appointed as the U.S. Attorney by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. Mr. Núñez served as the U.S. Attorney through August of 1988, when he left to become a litigation partner in the San Diego office of one of California's largest civil law firms.

    In 1990, he was appointed by President George Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement in Washington, D.C. He was responsible for all law enforcement functions of the Treasury Department, including the Customs Service, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Criminal Investigations Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Mr. Núñez also served as the Chairman of the Southwest Border Committee, which had primary responsibility for the coordination of law enforcement activities along the U.S.-Mexican border, and chaired Project Northstar on the U.S.-Canadian border. He also served as the co-chairman of the U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL.

    During his tenure as Assistant Secretary, Mr. Núñez represented the United States in numerous bilateral and multilateral negotiations relating to international money laundering. He represented the Treasury Department and its law enforcement bureaus in bilateral and multilateral efforts to improve coordination and cooperation among the international law enforcement community. Finally, he coordinated the Treasury Department’s law enforcement efforts with the Departments of Justice, State, Defense, and other appropriate departments and agencies.

    He was a member and past president of the San Diego Crime Commission, the past vice president of the San Diego Prevention Coalition, a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Board of Visitors at the University of San Diego School of Law. He has been a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego from 1997 to 2013, specializing in criminal justice, transnational crime and terrorism, and immigration policy.

    Between 1998 and 2004 he provided training, advice, and technical assistance to various foreign governments with respect to legal reform and the improvement of their criminal justice systems. He has been a law enforcement advisor to the Governments of Armenia and El Salvador under a program sponsored by the Treasury Department. He has also worked with government officials in Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Israel, China, and India in the development of legal reforms in criminal justice and law enforcement. Mr. Núñez currently serves as the West Region Director of Forfeiture Support Associates, a nationwide government contractor providing support services to many federal law enforcement agencies and the U. S. Attorneys Office.

    Mr. Núñez graduated from Duke University in 1964, served in the U.S. Navy, and attended law school at the University of San Diego, graduating cum laude in 1970. Upon graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Gordon Thompson, Jr., U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of California.

    Zoom link - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81805323523?pwd=M3BBZ2s2dmR3WXJHYkJqYVRLbitoZz09

    • October 19, 2021

    The San Diego World Affairs Council presents the
    "Distinguished Speaker" Series

    Alan Bersin 

    Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs and Chief & Diplomatic Officer in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (retired) 
    Former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection


    "The Continuing Consequences of Our Broken Immigration System: From Trump to Biden" 

    Tuesday, 19th October 2021 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. (PST) 

    Zoom link - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84839905885?pwd=K2YrOGlmbkVVMjNUdUlCdGkrLzJFZz09

    Since leaving public service in January 2017, Alan Bersin has served at the global law firm of Covington & Burling as a Senior Advisor to the Firm; as an Inaugural Senior Fellow in the Homeland Security Project at the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; as a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington D.C.; as Inaugural North America Fellow at the Canada Institute and the Mexico Institute (Wilson Center).

    He is Chairman of BorderWorks Group, a consulting firm specializing in matters of Border Security and Management, including infrastructure projects on U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico; and Executive Chairman of Altana AI, an enterprise devoted to providing a shared artificial intelligence model of the global supply chain to help governments, enterprises, and financial institutions to see across borders, manage risk, and improve global commerce.

    Between 2012 and 2017, Bersin served (at various times) as Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In those capacities, Bersin led DHS’s transnational engagement, served as the principal advisor to the Secretary on international affairs, and oversaw the Department’s strategic planning and policy formulation functions. Between 2012 and 2015, Bersin served as Vice President of INTERPOL for the Americas Region and as a member of the INTERPOL Executive Committee. He currently serves as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the INTERPOL Foundation based in Geneva.

    From 2010 to 2011, Bersin served as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a position from which he oversaw the operations of CBP’s 58,000-employee work force and managed an operating budget of more than $12 billion. Bersin guided CBP’s efforts to secure the nation’s borders and mitigate threats while expediting lawful trade and travel.

    In 2009, Bersin served as Assistant Secretary and Special Representative for Border Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security. In this capacity, he served as lead representative for DHS on border affairs and strategy regarding security, immigration, narcotics, and trade matters as well as for coordinating the Department’s security initiatives along the nation’s borders.

    Prior to his DHS experience, President Bill Clinton appointed, and the U.S. Senate confirmed, Bersin to serve in the Department of Justice as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. Bersin served as the U.S. Attorney for nearly five years, during which time he was the Attorney General’s Southwest Border Representative (the so-called Border Czar) responsible for coordinating federal law enforcement on the border from South Texas to Southern California.

    Bersin has also held numerous distinguished state and local government positions, including serving as California's Secretary of Education, Superintendent of Public Education in San Diego, and Chairman of the San Diego Airport Authority. Before entering public service, Bersin was a senior partner in the law firm of Munger Tolles & Olson. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Policy.

    He received his A.B. in Government from Harvard College (magna cum laude) from where he was selected as a member of the All East, All New England and All Ivy Football Teams. In 1995, he was named to the Harvard University Athletic Hall of Fame. From 1969 to 1971, Mr. Bersin attended Balliol College at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1974, he received his J.D. from the Yale Law School. He is currently a member of the Bars of California, Alaska and the District of Columbia.

    Zoom link - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84839905885?pwd=K2YrOGlmbkVVMjNUdUlCdGkrLzJFZz09

Past events

September 21, 2021 Distinguished Speaker Series - Jack Devine & Jonathan Ward, Ph.D. - "Russia & China - Preparing America for Our Greatest Strategic Challenge"
August 05, 2021 A Talk on World Hunger with Kenro Oshidari, United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) - the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize recipient
July 08, 2021 U.S. Soft Power in Foreign Policy Series - Daniel Miller - "A Cowboy in Mongolia - In Search of the Sacred in the Steppes”
June 10, 2021 U.S. Soft Power in Foreign Policy Series - Col. Christopher Conlin - "Iraq: Iron Hand, Velvet Glove, Glass House - Employing Soft Power in Hard Places"
May 13, 2021 Distinguished Speaker Series - Anish Goel, Ph.D. - "India in South Asia: Fraught Regional Relationships"
May 12, 2021 U.S. Soft Power in Foreign Policy Series Part IV
April 21, 2021 U.S. Soft Power in Foreign Policy Series Part III - Forging Public-Private Partnerships in Health Systems Strengthening
April 20, 2021 Distinguished Speaker Series - Richard Nuccio, Ph.D. & Giles Dickenson-Jones - "Myanmar: Development, Democracy, and Despair"
March 31, 2021 U.S. Soft Power in Foreign Policy Series Part II
March 16, 2021 Distinguished Speaker Series - Audie de Castro, Esq. - "Trade and Tourism in the Philippines"
February 16, 2021 Distinguished Speaker Series - David Pasquini on "The United Kingdom: A Year of Global Leadership"
February 11, 2021 Healing the Political Divide: A Path Forward Virtual Event
January 21, 2021 Human Rights Movements in China and China’s Responses
January 07, 2021 Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison
December 17, 2020 The History of the Ottoman Empire and its Subsequent Breakup after WWI
December 10, 2020 Ambassador in Baku: Politics, Petroleum, & Nagorno-Karabakh
December 10, 2020 "Foreign Policy Changes after January" with Ambassador Ronald Neumann
November 19, 2020 “Bulgaria: Political, Economic, and Commercial Crossroads Today”
November 19, 2020 NCC Online Presentation
November 18, 2020 CAMPAIGN 2020 DECONSTRUCTED
November 10, 2020 US-China Relations after the Election: The Specter of Decoupling
November 10, 2020 FREE WEBINAR - The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution
November 10, 2020 The Wall Street Journal & Infragard San Diego Present: “360 Degrees Of A Ransomware Attack: Decision Points in Defense, Response and Mitigation”
November 09, 2020 Global Minnesota in partnership with WACA presents The Man Who Ran Washington:The Life and Times of James A. Baker III
October 24, 2020 Annual Membership Meeting (Zoom) and Presentation by Ambassador Bindenagel on behalf of Wunderbar Together
October 22, 2020 "U.S. Relations with Pakistan and The South Asia Region"
October 20, 2020 "North Korea in the Next Administration’s Foreign Policy"
October 15, 2020 Webinar with John Brennan and Janet Napolitano
September 30, 2020 “WILL THE SINO-US COLD WAR GO HOT? How Asia’s Geopolitical Clash will Dominate the Next Administration”
August 25, 2020 SDWAC warmly welcomes the International Rescue Committee (IRC) of San Diego Executive Director, Donna Duvin "From Harm to Home: Arc of the Refugee Crisis: Global Challenges, Local Solutions”
August 20, 2020 The San Diego World Affairs Council is honored to support the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) presentation - Race: “A Path Forward” How do we talk about race in a way that unites and strengthens us as a community?
August 20, 2020 The San Diego World Affairs Council is honored to co-sponsor for the first time an exciting virtual event with Friends of Liberia* “Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia”
August 20, 2020 The San Diego World Affairs Council invites you to register for "U.S. & Germany: Strained Alliance?" with German Ambassador to the U.S., Emily Haber
August 13, 2020 San Diego World Affairs Council is honored to support WAC-Orange County's presentation: “Becoming Kim Jong Un: Insights Into North Korea’s Dangerous and Enigmatic Dictator” with Dr. Jung H. Pak
July 22, 2020 Where Does the Money Come From? Financing International Terrorism featuring Dr. Ian Oxnevad
July 13, 2020 The World: A Conversation with Dr. Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations “Making Sense of a World in Crisis — Through the Eyes of a Foreign Policy Expert”
June 18, 2020 The Scientist and the Spy
March 20, 2020 *Postponed* Honoring M.C. Madhu Madhavan
January 15, 2020 "From Dictatorship to Democracy? Myanmar's Uneasy Transition" A Conversation with Dr. Nuccio
December 19, 2019 An Overview of the Mexican Consulate in San Diego with Consul General Gutierrez
November 21, 2019 "Putin and Trump 2.0: The Perils of Presidential Diplomacy" Remarks from Ambassador John Beyrle
October 29, 2019 "Kashmir: Where Identity Rises Above Territory" Remarks by Professor Dipak Gupta
October 14, 2019 "From Soft Power to Hard Truths: Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy" Remarks by Bennett Freeman
September 23, 2019 "America...and the Great Power Competition" Remarks by Vice Admiral Charles Martoglio
August 28, 2019 "Fusion Energy Research and the Creation of Miniature Stars for Electricity"
July 31, 2019 "Global Engagement and the Modern Public Research University" featuring Chancellor Khosla
June 22, 2019 REGISTER NOW! 2019 SDWAC Annual Membership Meeting
May 07, 2019 "Perspective on current U.S. Navy strategy, undersea capabilities and the Submarine Force in San Diego."
March 21, 2019 “U.S. Trade Policy toward China: heading toward trade war or deal?"
February 23, 2019 2019 Annual Dinner
January 24, 2019 “Global Climate Change: Evidence, Scientific Basis, and Selected Impacts”
December 11, 2018 “Health and Peace-building in Africa”
November 15, 2018 “Nicaragua: Revolution and Restoration”
October 15, 2018 “U.S. policy towards India and the Indo-Pacific”
September 26, 2018 “What Diplomats Do and Why It (Still) Matters”
August 30, 2018 Fighting for Cyber Supremacy in an Age of Extremism
July 26, 2018 U.S. trade policy and the economics of trade in today’s technology-driven global era.
June 26, 2018 "Why Mexico's Election, NAFTA and U.S.-Mexico Relations Are Important to You."
June 16, 2018 REGISTER NOW! Annual Membership Meeting
May 23, 2018 May 23, 2018 -- Ukraine: Russian Interference and How the U.S. Can Bolster Ukrainian Security
April 27, 2018 Annual Dinner and Presentation on "Middle East Meltdown: Causes and Consequences"
April 03, 2018 SOLD OUT! Immigration and Border Issues: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be
February 21, 2018 Mexico's Upcoming Elections and What They Mean for the U.S.
January 24, 2018 "China in the Wake of the Party Conference"
December 06, 2017 Is the Turkish Partnership Doomed?
November 28, 2017 Movie Screening: America's Diplomats
November 02, 2017 Russia: Preventing Peace on Its Periphery
October 19, 2017 NAFTA: A Make or Break Moment?
October 06, 2017 Three Elections and a Brexit: The Unraveling of Europe?
September 22, 2017 South Sudan: Crisis and Conflict in the World's Newest Country
August 28, 2017 U.S. Alliances in the Indo-Pacific: A Practitioner's Perspective
August 14, 2017 Life as a Military Officer in the Middle East
July 25, 2017 Tijuana Day Trip
July 12, 2017 Trade Routes and the Evolving Geopolitics of the Middle East
June 29, 2017 Fiber Optics: History, Security, Applications and More
June 22, 2017 Dealing With a Dangerous and Challenging World -- The Physics and Economics of Defense
June 17, 2017 Rising Tensions on the Korean Peninsula: How Does This End?
June 15, 2017 Guantanamo Bay -- Al Qaeda’s Nuremberg: An Inside Look at 9/11 Justice
June 08, 2017 Is the Syrian Regime Survival Guaranteed in Moscow? Origins and Prospects for Relations Between Syria and Russia
June 01, 2017 North County Chapter Annual Meeting
May 01, 2017 Economic Sanctions
April 29, 2017 The Philippines Under President Duterte: Nagging Questions and an Optimistic Outlook
March 18, 2017 Growing the Game: Baseball's Plans for Global Expansion
February 13, 2017 Annual Dinner

Upcoming WAC Events

WACA National Conference; Star Speakers; Council of the Month; WACA Best Practices Update; Embassy Row Live! Canada; WACA Seeks Fall Interns; Councils are Hiring; Council Highlights; & more!
President's Letter
Dear Council Colleagues and Supporters,

Transitions in organizations are often bittersweet because we come to know and rely on our co-workers and leaders so well that it’s hard to imagine not being part of the same team. And for me, in the case of the Council network, it feels like family.
At WACA we bade adieu Friday to Laura Duncan, Senior Communications and Programs Officer, who is heading to Bologna, Italy to pursue a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe. Laura has gone above and beyond the call of duty this past year, promoting last year’s virtual WACA National Conference and ensuring that the even more complex virtual Academic WorldQuest program was a huge success in April.
Laura was always ready to help with new initiatives and support Councils across the country, as I know Kathleen “KC” Euler, WACA’s new Communications and Marketing Manager, will be. KC comes to our DC headquarters from the Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh, where she served as Assistant Director. She brings a wealth of international experience and passion for our mission. Please welcome KC and share farewell messages to Laura on our social media.
Meanwhile, in the network, the Santa Fe Council on International Relations announced today the coming departure of Executive Director Sandy Campbell. Among many accomplishments in transforming SFCIR, Sandy and his team can count being awarded one of three 2020 WACA Council of the Year awards. SFCIR was selected for the vision and success of its annual Journalism Under Fire conference.
As we congratulate Sandy as he prepares to lead a nonprofit dedicated to media literacy in schools across New Mexico, we can welcome back an old friend: Jim Falk. Jim, a former member of the SFCIR Board and former CEO of WAC Dallas/Fort Worth (our 2019 Council of the Year), will serve as interim Executive Director while SFCIR conducts its search.

Transitions bring opportunity, so please check the Council job listings below.
And we encourage supporters and colleagues - past and present - to join us in DC in November to celebrate WACA’s 35th Anniversary at the National Conference.

Thank you and stay well,
Bill Clifford, President and CEO
WACA 2021 National Conference:
Bridging Divides at Home and Abroad
November 16-19
Through the generous support of The Gambrinus Company and Mr. and Mrs. Carlos and Malú Alvarez, WACA will offer a limited number of scholarships for undergraduate students from the Council network to attend our 2021 National Conference.

Additional information about the application process will be shared with the network this week. Thank you to our generous sponsor!
Remember to register for WACA's 2021 National Conference this November 16-19 in Washington, DC, where we will celebrate our 35th Anniversary as a national association!

We are pleased to share that the hotel block is open at the special rate of $284 / night plus tax (this rate applies to reservations as early as Nov. 14 and as late as Nov. 23). Given that the annual WACA Conference sells out early, we encourage you to book your room now!
Star Speakers Around the Network
Yaya Fanusie
Adjunct Senior Fellow, CNAS
Fmr. Amb. John Limbert
Fmr. Amb. Marc Grossman
Tara Kangarlou
Founder, Art of Hope
Council Leaders: Remember to upload your favorite speakers to the WACA Speaker Database, a password protected feature accessible in Member Resources.
WACA is pleased to announce the International Relations Council (Kansas City) as its August 2022 Council of the Month! Each month, WACA features one of its 90 Councils, highlighting their accomplishments and top quality programming.
IRC (Kansas City) has announced a new virtual program series, Nuancing National Security, for August and September. In this six-part virtual series, IRC (Kansas City) will offer historical context and global perspective for core dimensions of national security and explore the risks, priorities, and tactics on the radar of U.S. security policy. Check out IRC's website for more.
WorldQuest Weekly Quiz
This week's WACA WorldQuest Weekly is out! Test your global affairs awareness and dive into news stories that represent a broad spectrum of developments of interest and importance. Most of the questions are drawn from both WACA's Weekly World News Update, and a curated news Twitter feed @TNWAC #WACquiz.

In partnership with WACA, WorldQuest Weekly is produced by the Tennessee World Affairs Council, which offers customized subscriptions to the quiz for Council members. Contact pat@tnwac.org or visit tnwac.org/quiz for details.

Last Week's Winner (10/10 Points):
Howard (San Diego, CA) and Margaret (Wichita, KS) - Congratulations!
Save the Dates: Best Practices in September and October
The next WACA Best Practices will take place on Thursday, September 30, 3:00 PM ET on the topic of Boards, Governance, and Volunteers. More details to be announced.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, July 8, WACA has rescheduled its Session on Organizational Mergers for Thursday, October 14, at 3:00 PM ET. We will take a look at how Councils might join forces with related organizations or institutions in order to advance their mission.
WATCH: Canada's Ambassador on Embassy Row Live! 

Highlights of Past Events

“Bulgaria: Political, Economic, and Commercial Crossroads Today” PDF

“From Harm to Home: Arc of the Refugee Crisis: Global Challenges, Local Solutions" PDF

Check Out the Full Presentation Recording in DropBox HERE!


Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)

PO Box 34010

San Diego, CA 92163



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