May 21, 2018

A Message From the President of SDWAC

Dear SDWAC Colleagues and Friends:

This is our first newsletter since one of the most successful events the Council has held in recent years: our April 27 Annual Dinner. Thanks to a top-tier, nationally recognized speaker, six-time U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker, and the co-sponsorship of the Hostler Institute of World Affairs (based at San Diego State University), we were able to draw 154 people to the dinner at the Marriott Mission Valley. Many thanks go to our outstanding volunteers, coordinated by SDWAC Vice President Lulu Hsu and board member Petya Dolaptchieva, and our new Foreign Affairs Fellow, Jessica Frank, for all the hard work that went into making this fundraiser such a resounding success. Crocker, who's been called "America's Lawrence of Arabia," focused on two troubling themes: the convergence of a number of dangerous trends in the Middle East during the absence of a coherent U.S. strategy for the region and the attempted "deconstruction" of the State Department during the tenure there of the now-departed Rex Tillerson. At the end of a fascinating question-and-answer session, the audience broke into a spontaneous standing ovation, in appreciation not only of Crocker's remarks but his long and distinguished service to the country.

Ambassador Crocker also helped raise the Council's profile in the community by doing an interview with KPBS Radio that was aired the day of the event. Interviewer Maureen Cavanaugh mentioned SDWAC several times during her midday show. This welcome publicity came on top of a live TV interview that our program chairman, Ambassador Reno Harnish, and I did several days before on KUSI News 9, and was followed by a story on Crocker's remarks in the San Diego Union-Tribune by columnist Diane Bell.  A thriving SDWAC is beginning to attract mainstream media attention.

Ryan Crocker was just the first of three distinguished former U.S. diplomats who are addressing the Council in three straight months. I urge all of you to turn out this Wednesday evening, May 23, at National University's Sanford Auditorium to hear Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and senior policymaker on Russia and Eurasia at the State Department and the National Security Council, speak on the formidable challenges Ukraine faces and how the United States can and should help. (Please see details and registration information below.)  And on June 26, SDWAC and the Institute of the Americas will co-sponsor a presentation on NAFTA and U.S.-Mexico relations by Ambassador Tony Wayne, President Obama's first-term envoy to Mexico. The timing could scarcely be more interesting as Mexico's national elections will occur just six days later.

On Saturday, June 16, the Council will hold its annual membership meeting, featuring lunch at a venue to be announced shortly. This meeting will mark the departure of a number of directors from the board, whom we thank for their good service, and the election of new ones. A separate message will be sent to all members with the names and resumes of the candidates put forward by the Nominating Committee.  In a shift from our current concentration on high policy, we intend to have a program that focuses on individuals from the local immigrant community whose stories illustrate the diverse social fabric that is contemporary San Diego.  We anticipate that SDWAC board member Joel Day, Executive Director of San Diego's Human Relations Committee and International Affairs Board, will also make remarks. 

Finally, the SDWAC Board of Directors met May 14 and, in light of several recent resignations, elected Ben Sugg, a foreign affairs specialist who until last year worked for the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., as a new member.  This decision was independent of the nominating process mentioned above, which is still underway.  We are delighted to welcome Ben to the Board and are looking forward to benefiting from his energy and expertise.  

-- John Schlosser


"Ukraine: Russian Interference and How the U.S.

Can bolster Ukrainian Security"


Ambassador Steven Pifer

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Since the collapse of the USSR, no post-Soviet state other than Russia has commanded more attention from American policymakers than Ukraine. Steven Pifer will discuss the history of U.S. - Ukraine relations, what worked and did not work in America’s approach, and how Washington might more effectively promote its goal of helping Ukraine become a stable, independent, democratic state.

About our Speaker

A retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Ambassador Pifer is one of this country's outstanding experts on Ukraine, Russia and the former Soviet states. 

Pifer served as Ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for Russia and Ukraine (2001-2004). He was Special Assistant to the president and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council (1996-1997). His 25-year-plus State Department career and subsequent activities have focused on relations with the former Soviet Union and Europe as well as arms control and security issues. 

He is currently Non-resident Senior Fellow with the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative and the Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Registration

6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Presentation and Q&A


National University, Sanford Center Auditorium

11355 N. Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037

Register Here


June 16, 2018

SDWAC Annual Membership Meeting


“Immigrant Success Stories from the San Diego Community”

Location: TBD

Details and registration coming soon!

June 26, 2018

"Why NAFTA and U.S.-Mexico Relations Are Important to You."


Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne

 Career U.S. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne served as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico from 2011 through 2015, and is uniquely positioned to discuss the relevance of U.S.-Mexico relations to those of us living in San Diego.  Details coming soon along with registration, meanwhile please mark your calendars for this important event! 

6:00 – 8:00 PM

Location: Institute of the Americas,

UCSD campus (specific hall forthcoming)


The complicated world we live in is illuminated a bit more every week at the North County Chapter’s Thursday Morning Forum in Rancho Bernardo. Unless otherwise indicated, the Thursday Morning Forum begins with a coffee social and registration at 9:30 a.m., followed at 10 a.m. with a one-hour program and one hour of polite, but freewheeling, Q&A.

Thursday Morning Forums are typically held at The Remington Club, Phase II, 16916 Hierba Drive, Rancho Bernardo. Free parking is available at the adjacent shopping area.

Upcoming Programs for May 2018

May 24: "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and Its Warrants"

Dr. John Shu (J.D. Pepperdine Law & G.C., Peking Univ.) was a Law Clerk to Judge Paul H. Roney of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and Chief Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.  Dr. Shu will discuss and explain the background, function, standards and procedures of the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court And Its Warrants”.  Sometimes referred to as the “FISA Court,” it hears and rules upon the U.S. Government applications for electronic surveillance, physical search, and certain other forms of investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes. Please contact Tom Reeve for the limited seating Round-Table Lunch following the program

May 31: "Hong Kong:  Re-Integration Into China"

Dr. Y Pang Tsui (Eng.Sc.D., Columbia Univ.) will discuss “Hong Kong: Re-Integration into China”.  In 1842, China ceded Hong Kong Island “in perpetuity” to Great Britain.  Over the next century and a half, tiny British Hong Kong, with an ethnic Chinese population, has become a global economic powerhouse. Why did Britain return it to China in 1997? Dr. Tsui will discuss Hong Kong’s transition from British Crown Colony to the Peoples Republic of China. He will review historical, cultural, demographic, geopolitical, and economic factors to understand the perspectives of key stakeholders in this transition. Dr. Tsui is an inventor and developer of engineering processes for manufacturing. Please contact Tom Reeve for the limited seating Round-Table Lunch following the program at



Harmony in Action Cross-Cultural Non-Profits Fair

Hosted by

The Worldview Project

Saturday, May 26, 2018 

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM


Harmony in Action is an annual event that brings together a large number of internationally focused non-profits that operate in the San Diego area. Organizations are either local organizations or local branches of national or international organizations. It’s a day to meet the staffs of these organizations, find out about their organization’s missions and how they put those missions into action.

Harmony in Action is an opportunity to learn how YOU can get involved in the world-changing work of these organizations. Harmony in Action is an information only event, no direct fundraising is permitted. At the event you can also learn about internship and volunteer opportunities at participating organizations. Want to be updated and kept informed about the good works of any of these organizations? Many of the groups will have email sign-up lists as they would be delighted to send you their newsletters.

Location: Patio B in Balboa Park

Admission/Cost: FREE!

2018 Confirmed Organizations for San Diego:
The AjA Project
Alliance Francaise de San Diego
Alliance for African Assistance
Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County
Center for World Music
Children's Rights and You San Diego (CRY)
Council of International Educational Exchange
Cultural Homestay International 
Global San Diego
Hands of Peace
International Folk Dancers of Balboa Park
Persian Cultural Center - Kanoon Farhangi Iranian
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
San Diego Diplomacy Council
San Diego Participant Observer
San Diego Sister Cities
UNA USA San Diego Chapter (United Nations Association)
San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)
Survivors of Torture, International
Ssubi is Hope
The Women's International Center
World Vision San Diego
Worldview Project
more to come . . .

May 21, 2018

Weekly World News Update

North Korea Talks; Israel-Palestine Conflict; Iraq's New PM; Rohingya Crisis; Burundi Votes

Quote of the Week

"If the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit."

-- Kim Kye Gwan, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister, in a Tuesday statement about the upcoming June talks with the U.S.

North Korea Gets Cold Feet

"White House Brushes Aside North Korea's Threats to Cancel Summit with Trump" Mark Landler; Choe Sang-Hun; Jane Perlez -- The New York Times, May 16, 2018


"Deciphering Kim Jong Un's Motives" Michael Green -- Foreign Affairs, May 16, 2018


"A Step-By-Step Plan for Denuclearizing North Korea" Michael O'Hanlon -- The National Interest

Israel-Palestine Conflict Hits Inflection Point

"Celebration in Jerusalem, Bloodshed in Gaza" Emma Green -- The Atlantic, May 14, 2018

"Israel Has the Right and Obligation to Defend Its Border with Deadly Force" David French -- National Review, May 15, 2018

 "The Spirit of Palestinian Resistance Will Not Be Broken" Omar Baddar -- Al Jazeera, May 15, 2018

 "The Damage Done in Jerusalem" Steven A. Cook -- Council on Foreign Relations, May 15, 2018

 "Jerusalem Protests: Violence in the Vacuum" Hugh Lovatt -- European Council on Foreign Relations, May 15, 2018

Iraq's New Prime Minister

"Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Discusses Election Results" Mary Louise Kelly and Zalmay Khalilzad -- NPR, May 15, 2018 [Podcast] 

"The Time to Stop Bankrolling the Iraqi Military Is Now" Jason C. Ditz -- The American Conservative, May 15, 2018

 "Iraq's Election: A Key Event in America's Wars" Anthony H. Cordesman and Munqith Dagher -- Center for Strategic and International Studies, May 14, 2018

Checking In on Rohingya Crisis

"As Obama Eased Myanmar Sanctions, Some Saw Warnings of a Massacre" Priyanka Boghani -- PBS Frontline, May 10, 2018

 "Aung San Suu Kyi Is a Politician, Not a Monster" Peter A Coclanis -- Foreign Policy, May 14, 2018

 "Process as Well as Substance Is Important in ICC's Rohingya Decision" Alex Whiting -- Just Security, May 15, 2018

Burundi Votes on New Constitution

"Burundi Votes Tomorrowon Controversial Constitutional Amendments. A Lot Is at Stake" Yolande Bouka and Sarah Jackson -- TheWashington Post, May 16, 2018

"BurundiReferendum to Extend Presidential Term Raises Fears of Violence" Cristina Krippahl --Deutsche Welle, May 16, 2018

Office: (619) 325-82000

Address: 113 Street, West G Street #601 San Diego, CA 92101 





Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council

113 West G Street #601

San Diego, CA 92101


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