Letter From the President; Gift Matching Ends January 15; Embassy Row Live! with the Egyptian Ambassador; Bill Gates to Speak in February; Star Speakers; and more!
Dear Colleagues and Friends of the World Affairs Councils of America:
I hope you enjoyed a peaceful and restful holiday season. Thank you very much for your loyal support. Let’s roll up our sleeves – for vaccinations, eventually, and for the satisfying work that will meet the challenges and opportunities of 2021.
After a “year like no other,” we in the U.S. capital continue to anticipate a leadership transition that resembles no other. New Year’s predictions may be a mug’s games, but so be it. Here are a few:
A president bent on battering norms has less than three weeks in office to continue to do so. Count on it: he will break all the proverbial china he can. And long after he leaves the White House, he will castigate China and his successor’s approach to the U.S.’s chief geopolitical rival, via tweet and TV appearances, when he is not defending himself from mounting lawsuits and investigations.
I have no prediction on the Georgia Senate races. Whether Tuesday’s election yields a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate or not, gridlock will remain – the question centers on to what degree. A GOP contending with internal divisions among radicalized politicians, an angry misled base, and compassionate conservatives will limit the ability of the incoming Biden-Harris administration to fashion a domestic agenda that lives up to its campaign pledge to heal the country's divisions.
How the Biden team performs in international affairs – repairing relations with allies and reaffirming American values through diplomacy and institution-building – will depend greatly on progress in “building back better” at home. An overdue effective, equitable COVID-19 response is first, but addressing job creation, infrastructure investment, environmental protection, and inequalities in housing and education will also be central to restoring faith in democracy and exercising influence on the world stage.
Here’s the one prediction on which I will bet the house: WACA and Councils will continue to lead in public world affairs programming, both virtually and – from summer onward – when we resume in-person programming. The digital strides we've made will not then cease but will complement.
It’s an exciting year ahead, and we will have much to share with each other. From the programs this week and this month (see below) to the WACA 2021 National Conference on November 17-19 (mark your calendars!) and beyond, I look forward to working with you.
Thank you and best wishes for the new year!
Bill Clifford, President and CEO
Gift Matching Ends January 15!
On December 17, we announced that WACA Chairman Glenn Creamer and Board Director Carlos Alvarezwill match your donations dollar for dollar, up to $50,000. We are thrilled to have received commitments of just over $25,000 and we are extending our fundraising campaign through Friday, January 15, 2021.
As WACA President, I will contribute $5,000 myself and ask you to consider making a donation of any amount. Your gift will strengthen the reach, depth, and educational value of World Affairs Council programs and activities – and foster the fact-based, civil discourse that is the lifeblood of our democracy. Your gift will enable WACA to pursue its core mission together with our 90 nonpartisan member Councils by convening diverse voices and expanding engagement in world affairs in 2021. Please support the WACA community and double the impact of your contribution.
Thank you for your generosity and for believing in the importance of our work!
WACA's Embassy Row Live!
Egypt's Role in Stabilizing a Middle East in Turmoil
In this urgent, authoritative book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical—and accessible—plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.
It is confirmed the 2021 Academic WorldQuest National Competition in Washington, DC will be held virtually. Additional announcements will be forthcoming.
The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2020-2021 Academic WorldQuest National Competition is scheduled to be held virtually onApril 16-17, 2021.
2021 New Guideline!
Due to the AWQ National Competition being virtual in 2021 and endeavoring to be as inclusive as possible, each Council may bring up to three teams to the National Competition - whether you have a local competition or not. Even if your Council joins another Council's competition remotely, each Council may bring up to three teams to WACA's virtual National Competition in April. We look forward to your participation! If you have questions about this, please email Liz Brailsford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Official Study Guide
WACA provides a list of sources for each AWQ topic category in the official AWQ Study Guide (updated). All local competition and National Competition questions will be drawn from these sources, with the exception of Current Events.
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 Laura Duncan.
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 Laura Duncan at email@example.com for login details and account creation.