March 3, 2017


March 3, 2017
A Message From the President of SDWAC

Dear SDWAC members and friends,

The leadership of your Council hasn’t merely been basking in the glory of our successful fundraising dinner last month.  We have been busy planning events, developing a new website and adding a new group of able and enthusiastic volunteers and interns.

On the programming front, I would draw your attention to the announcements below of two events:  presentations by experts on two countries that have been much in the news lately, mostly for the wrong reasons: Venezuela and the Philippines.  On Wed. March 22 Dr. Juan F. Roche, currently adjunct professor at the University of San Diego and previously a successful businessman in his native Venezuela, will consider the paradox of a formerly wealthy country now marked by economic collapse and political upheaval.

The following week, on Wed. March 29, Nico Ravanilla, Assistant Professor at UC San Diego, will speak to SDWAC about current affairs in the Philippines under the controversial administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.  Professor Ravanilla has published with other scholars papers based on field research on such subjects as “Measuring Vote-Selling” and “Pork & Typhoons: The Influence of Political connections on Disaster Response.” 

I am also delighted to announce an upcoming talk by Mr. Chris Park, Senior Vice President of Growth, Strategy and International for Major League Baseball (MLB).  Mr. Park has agreed to address SDWAC during the Second Round of the World Baseball Classic, being held at Petco Park March 14-19.  He will share MLB’s thinking on developing its international business and grassroots participation overseas, including challenges presented by countries such as Cuba and Venezuela. The event will take place at midday in a downtown location, in the March 14-17 time frame.  We are excited to be collaborating with MLB on an event that promises to illuminate the international dimension of a game that is no longer simply a familiar national pastime but is becoming a truly global sport.  We will let you know soon the exact date, time and venue of this event with MLB. 

On a less cheerful note, I share the concerns of many over the possibility of drastic (30% or more) cuts to the U.S. Government’s International Affairs Budget that reportedly are being considered in Washington.  This would include sharp reductions in the operating budget of the State Department and to foreign aid (which remains at about 1% of the national budget).  As over 130 retired generals and admirals recently pointed out in an open letter, deep cuts to the foreign affairs budget  would weaken the United States and increase the chance of conflict, by severely reducing the “soft power” that diplomacy and well-guided foreign assistance programs provide our country in its dealings with other nations.  Indeed Defense Secretary James Mattis once remarked while serving as a four-star Marine general, "If you don't fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition."

Many other organizations working in the international arena are urging action.  I would join them by suggesting that SDWAC members write their members of Congress – California’s two U.S. Senators and your Representative in the House – to ask them to oppose sharp reductions in the International Affairs Budget (the 150 account).  This is not necessarily a partisan issue*: representatives of both parties have expressed concerns about the possibility of cutting the State Department and foreign aid to the bone.  Our continued ability to remain the preeminent nation on the world scene may well depend on budget decisions made in the coming months and years.   

-- John Schlosser

*As a 501(c)(3) organization SDWAC does not support or oppose any political candidate for public office.  Nor do we provide our assets as campaign contributions to any candidate or to political parties.  These activities are prohibited because if 501(c)(3) organizations were to electioneer, it would mean diverting resources that were solicited and exempted from tax under the assumption of "public benefit" to influence the outcome of an election. But World Affairs Councils can criticize public officials, once elected, and are allowed to engage in advocacy in support of public policy positions that align with their fundamental mission. 


Upcoming Events
Click here to see SDWAC events on our website

March 16, 2017

“Global Efforts to Combat MRSA: No Good Drugs for the Bad Bugs.” Marilyn Bruno, retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer,  explains how decades of overprescription and overuse of antibacterial products and antibiotics have resulted in antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are impossible to kill. MRSA refers to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an infection that is caused by a type of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to many of the antibiotics. Over 700,000 people are already dying every year of bacterial infections and diseases that have no cure. This number is projected to reach 10 million lives a year by 2050, costing global economies over $100 trillion per year. The UN has called for the countries of the world to collaborate to monitor outbreaks and restrict the use of antibiotics. This may have backfired, as fewer drug companies are investing in the costly research to find new remedies. Member reservations for  a roundtable lunch following the presentation may be made by contacting Phyllis Murchland at


9:30 a.m. Coffee Social

10:00 a.m. Free Program

11:10 a.m. Question & Answer


 This North County Chapter event will be held at the Remington Club, Phase II, 16916 Hierba Drive, Rancho Bernardo. Free parking is available at the adjacent shopping center.

March 22, 2017

The Venezuelan Quagmire: A Riches to Rags Paradox

SDWAC welcomes Latin America expert Juan F. Roche for an insider’s look at economic collapse and political upheaval in contemporary Venezuela. 

With the discovery of oil in 1914, Venezuela rose from being one of the poorest countries in the region to one of the richest, with a flourishing  democracy that was a bright spot on a continent dominated by brutal military dictatorships.

Strongman Hugo Chavez’s 1999 ascension to the presidency and the Bolivarian Revolution, however, would usher in a period of steep economic decline and see the destruction of democratic institutions. Today, democracy in Venezuela is virtually dead and the economy has totally collapsed.  

Juan F. Roche, Ph.D., will explore the factors that led to the Bolivarian Revolution, highlight the current political and economic situation, and comment on possible scenarios going forward.

About Our Speaker

Juan F. Roche, Ph.D., adjunct professor at the University of San Diego, has 30 years of experience as a global executive, consultant and board member in the United States and abroad. Most recently, he was CEO of Gruma Corporation, a Mexican multinational food company. Previously he was with Nabisco, first as President of Europe, Middle East and Africa and later as President of Latin America.

At USD, Dr. Roche teaches in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, and at the School of Business. He has a bachelor’s of science degree from the Catholic University in Caracas and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his Ph.D. in leadership studies from the University of San Diego.

Currently, Dr. Roche is a senior partner at Renaissance Growth Advisors, a business consulting firm. He is a member of the Board of Advisors at the USD School of Peace and Justice. 


6:00-6:30 PM Registration & Reception

6:30-8:00 PM Presentation


National University

11255 North Torrey Pines Road

La Jolla, CA 92037

March 23, 2017

“Peacebuilding Success and Failure:  What can we learn from Colombia and South Sudan?” Andrew Blum, Ph.D., Director  of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego, discusses the lessons of Columbia, where a peace accord ended a 50-year conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), and war torn South Sudan, the world’s newest state, where hopes have been dashed that independence would bring an end to a half century of conflict. Dr. Blum, who worked closely on both these conflicts while at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington D.C.,  will discuss what these lessons mean for a world where violence is on the rise. Member reservations for a round table lunch following the presentation may be made by contacting Phyllis Murchland at


9:30 a.m. Coffee Social

10:00 a.m. Free Program

11:10 a.m. Question & Answer


 This North County Chapter event will be held at the Remington Club, Phase II, 16916 Hierba Drive, Rancho Bernardo. Free parking is available at the adjacent shopping center.

March 29, 2017

Nico Ravanilla

Nico Ravanilla, Assistant Professor at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy, speaks to SDWAC about current affairs in the Philippines. Professor Ravanilla received a joint Ph.D. in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan, and earned his BS and MA from the University of the Philippines. He researches ways to improve governance in developing democracies. 


6:00-6:30 PM Registration & Reception

6:30-8:00 PM Presentation


AMN Healthcare Boardroom

12400 High Bluff Drive

San Diego CA, 92130

March 30, 2017

“Essential Role of a Visionary CEO for an International Company.” Jack Bowsher, former NCC Board Member and retired corporate executive at IBM,  will use two case studies (IBM and Accenture) to illustrate how international companies develop worldwide markets that provide thousands of good-paying American jobs.


9:30 a.m. Coffee Social

10:00 a.m. Free Program

11:10 a.m. Question & Answer


 This North County Chapter event will be held at the Remington Club, Phase II, 16916 Hierba Drive, Rancho Bernardo. Free parking is available at the adjacent shopping center.

Wednesday, March 1 , 2017

Developments on Syria and the War on ISIS; Water Wars; Economics and Elections: UK after Brexit; Presidential Elections in Europe; U.S.-Mexico Relations; Importance of U.S.-African Relations.

Development on Syria and the War on ISIS

The Politics of Historicide " Richard Haass -- Project Syndicate, February 24, 2017

"Three Ideas to Consider in Defeating ISIS" Tony Deane -- The Cipher Brief, February 28, 2017

Syrian Rebels Are Pushing Back against Their Patrons"  Haid Haid -- Chatham House, February 22, 2017

Reconciling U.S.-Turkish Interests in Northern Syria " Aaron Stein -- Council on Foreign Relations, February 2017

"Libya after ISIS" Frederic Wehrey and Wolfram Lacher -- Carnegie Endowment, February 22, 2017

Water Wars

" Why Asia Is Trembling over a U.S.-China South China Sea Showdown " Richard Javad Heydarian -- The National Interest, February 23, 2017

Water Wars: Military Muscle Moves In " Jimmy Chalk and Sarah Grant -- LAWFARE, February 24, 2017

China Finishing South China Sea Buildings that Could House Missiles, U.S. Says " Idrees Ali -- Independent, February 22, 2017

Economics and Elections: UK after Brexit

" When It Comes to Brexit Talks, It's All about the Money " Corrado Pirzio-Biroli -- Europe's World, February 24 2017

Lower Immigration Could be the Biggest Economic Cost of Brexit " -- The Economist, February 25, 2017

Stoke Shows How to Destroy Ukip - Split the Alienated Voters and Hardcore Racists " Paul Mason -- The Guardian, February 27, 2017

Presidential Elections in Europe

Martin Schulz Might Just Beat Merkel. But Can He Save Europe? " Josephine Huetlin -- The Daily Beast, February 24, 2017

A Dutch Election in a European Storm " Caroline de Gruyter -- Carnegie Europe, February 23, 2017

"What You Need to Know about the French Presidential Election" -- Deutsche Welle, February 26, 2017

U.S.-Mexico Relations

" How Trump's Bullying of Mexico Could Backfire " Nathaniel Parish Flannery -- New Republic, February 23, 2017

NAFTA under Trump -- the Myths and the Possibilities" Joshua Meltzer and Dany Bahar -- Brookings Institution, February 23, 2017

"Amid U.S.-Mexico Acrimony, Energy Might Present Common Ground and Opportunity Analysts Say" Laura Tillman -- Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2017

Importance of U.S.-African Relations

Why the Trump Administration Should Not Overlook Africa " Steven Feldstein -- Carnegie Endowment, February 22, 2017

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The San Diego World Affairs Council is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to educating and engaging San Diegans in global issues, international relations, and cultural understanding

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