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June 12, 2019 Newsletter

June 12, 2019

A Message from the President of SDWAC

Dear SDWAC Members and Friends:

I'd like to begin by making an appeal to all SDWAC members to support the Council by turning out for our Annual Membership Meeting Saturday June 22, noon-2:00 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church on Third Ave. and Date St. on Bankers Hill  It's an important date on the SDWAC calendar. Your votes are necessary to elect new board members to fill the places of a number of directors who have left and to pass the torch to a largely new board for the Council's new fiscal year beginning July 1.

The general public and the membership are advised that this will not be merely a business meeting. That part of the agenda should take only a few minutes. We will have a tasty lunch catered by Sayulita's Mexican Food, which will serve all-you-can-eat tacos with a variety of meat and meatless fillings, plus rice, beans and guacamole.

Moreover, after a scheduling glitch with our previous speaker, we have reduced our ticket price to $30 (to cover our costs) and lined up an excellent speaker, Professor Rafael Fernandez de Castro.Director of UCSD's School of Global Policy and Strategy's Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies, Dr. Fernandez de Castro is one of the world's preeminent experts on the tortuous and troubled bilateral relationship with our neighbor to the South.  His remarks, coming just after eleventh-hour negotiations staved off the imposition of U.S. tariffs but taking place in an atmosphere of continued uncertainty, could not come at a more pivotal time in the history of that relationship. Dr. Fernandez de Castro has spoken at a number of SDWAC events, including at SDWAC-NCC, and I can vouch that he is a lively, well-informed and analytically agile speaker.

I would also like to inform the membership that this is my last message as President of SDWAC. After three years as President I'm stepping down to give someone else the opportunity to steer the Council's course. It has been an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating three years, marked by such successful events as: our 2018 and 2019 annual dinners (featuring distinguished senior U.S. diplomats Ryan Crocker and Nicholas Burns); a festive event a year ago at the Institute of the Americas (at which Rafael Fernandez de Castro moderated a discussion with former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Wayne); remarks by citizens of such international hot spots as Venezuela, South Sudan, the Philippines, Turkey and Iraq; and bus tours of Tijuana and the Port of San Diego. I will remain on the board and have every expectation that SDWAC's new leadership will sustain the momentum we've built together in recent years and achieve new heights of success.  Thank you for all your support.

-- John Schlosser


Register Now! 

Saturday, June 22, 12:00pm-2:00 p.m.

SDWAC Annual Luncheon

featuring keynote speaker

Professor Rafael Fernández de Castro 

"Trump and Lopez Obrador: Stand-off"


     Special remarks on the recent crisis in U.S.-Mexico relations, the threat of U.S. tariffs and the negotiations that led to their suspension, migration and border issues.

About Rafael Fernández de Castro 

Rafael Fernández de Castro is a professor at UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy and director of its Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies (USMEX). A former foreign policy adviser to President Felipe Calderón, he is an expert on bilateral relations between Mexico and the U.S.

He is the founder and former chair of the Department of International Studies at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City. He has published numerous academic articles and written several books, including The United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Conflict with Jorge Domínguez.

Dr. Fernández de Castro also worked as the Project Director of the UNDP’s Human Development Report for Latin America 2013-14, “Citizen Security With a Human Face: Evidence and Proposals for Latin America.” He is the founder and editor of Foreign Affairs Latin America and contributes to the daily newspaper El Financieroand a regular contributor to Televisa.

His current research is on leadership and decision-making in Mexican foreign policy and he serves as a principal investigator along with Professor Jenny Pearce from the London School of Economics for the project “Co-constructing Security Provision in Mexico: A Methodology and Action Plan from Communities to the State.”

Dr. Fernández de Castro's presentation will follow a brief business meeting, to which allSDWAC members are invited.

Bring your appetite for made-to-order, all-you-can-eat tacos and sides from Sayulita's Mexican Food!


Note: If you have already registered for this event with the previously scheduled speaker, we are processing a partial refund to you.


First Presbyterian Church

1742 3rd Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

Registration $30

Complimentary parking at 3rd Avenue and Elm Street.

Once you park your vehicle, please use the 3rd Avenue entrance to the Church.

The event will be held in the West Room, close to the 3rd Avenue entrance.

Directions: From the north, take CA-163 South.

Take Exit 1B for I-5/4th Ave.

Keep right at the fork, follow signs for 4th Ave.

Continue straight on Date St.

In one block, turn right on 3rd Avenue.

*Please note that the viewpoints expressed by speakers at SDWAC events are their own, and do not represent those of SDWAC. As a nonpartisan organization, SDWAC seeks to engage speakers who, together, represent a variety of viewpoints across the political spectrum in order to contribute to informed policy discussion and a meaningful exchange of ideas within the San Diego community. 


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 June 2019

June 13:  At our Annual Meeting at the Bernardo Country Club, our guest, Professor Ronald Bee, will talk about “The Future of Europe after Brexit:  A Time of Trial and Turbulence.” Since the British public narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU) in 2016, the EU has had trouble coming to terms with the UK’s divorce.  Will this lead to renewed troubles in Ireland, to issues with other EU members or complications in future elections?  As for U.S.-European relations, will differences over trade or paying for NATO amount to an ongoing family squabble that will resolve itself, or will it lead to a downward spiral in transatlantic relations? Professor Bee holds a degree in European history and French literature from UC San Diego. He did his graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, studied in France, worked at the Pentagon on NATO political-military affairs, served on the German Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs and worked for the mayor of West Berlin.

June 20:  Dr. Farouk Al-Nasser, Dr. James Larrimore and Dr. Mehdi Sarram - who will provide their "Perspectives on Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA): Continued Impasse, Negotiations or War?". After a short break, the meeting will be opened to members to put forward their points of view.

June 27:  Our guest, Dr. Sabodh Garg, will make a presentation on “Geothermal: A Renewable Energy Source”. He will explain what geothermal energy is, where it occurs and its direct uses. He will emphasize power generation - the types of geothermal power plants, their challenges and benefits as well as their contribution to the U.S. and California power supply. Dr. Sabodh Garg received his B.A. in Mathematics and English from Panjab University in India and then his Master and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Science and Mechanics from the University of Florida. He is vice-president and principal reservoir engineer with Geological Geothermal Group. He served on numerous geothermal and energy-related boards and panels and has received the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) Special Achievement Award among other awards. He has been an active participant in geothermal R&D since the mid-1970’s.



Upcoming events of the San Diego World Affairs Council and our North County Chapter can be seen on and 

June 12, 2019

Weekly World News Update

Hong Kong's Fight; Thai and Philippine Power Dynamics; Protests and Pushback; Ghosts of the Soviet Union; Blurred Lines on Iran; Fuel for Thought; French-American Friendship Wilts

Quote of the Week

"I urge the Hong Kong government to listen to the concerns of its people and its friends in the international community and to pause and reflect on these controversial measures. It is essential that the authorities engage in meaningful dialogue and take steps to preserve Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy, which underpin its international reputation. Upholding the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, provided for in the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration, is vital to Hong Kong’s future success."

-- The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in an official statement regarding the protests in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong's Fight

"Hong Kong Protest: Police Fire Teargas at Demonstrators - Live" Damien Gayle; Kate Lyons; Verna Yu -- The Guardian, June 12, 2019

Hong Kong’s Last Fight Is Lost” Peter Hartcher -- The Sydney Morning Herald, June 11, 2019

Hong Kong’s Government May Cave in to China. Its People Will Not.” Yi-Zheng Lian -- New York Times, June 10, 2019

China, Hong Kong, and Proof of America’s Better International Order” Tom Rogan -- Washington Examiner, June 10, 2019

Thai Democracy vs. Dictatorship

Thailand’s Democratic Dictatorship” Pravit Rojanaphruk -- Deutsche Welle, June 6, 2019

The Military Wins Big in Thailand” Joshua Kurlantzick -- Council on Foreign Relations, June 5, 2019

Thailand’s Crude Mockery of Democracy Means It Doesn’t Deserve U.S. Aid” The Washington Post, June 8, 2019

Philippine Power Dynamics

A Power Shift Is Under Way in Duterte’s Game of Thrones” Claire Jiao; Andreo Calonzo; Hannah Dormido -- Bloomberg, June 7, 2019 

In the Philippines, a Youth Movement Stands Between Duterte and Dictatorship” Noah Flora -- The Nation, June 10, 2019

Rights Experts Urge UN Inquiry Into ‘Staggering’ Killings in Philippines” Nick Cumming-Bruce -- New York Times, June 7, 2019

In Photos: Celebrations, Protests Mark Independence Day 2019” Rappler, June 12, 2019

Protests and Pushback

Sudanese Opposition Needs Stronger International Support” Michelle Gavin -- Council on Foreign Relations, June 11, 2019

Why the Sudanese People Stand Alone” Nanjala Nyabola -- Al Jazeera, June 8, 2019

This Is How Our Revolution in Egypt Failed. Sudan, Please Be Warned” Osama Gaweesh -- African Arguments, June 5, 2019

Saudi Arabia: Authorities Must Not Resort to Use of Death Penalty Against Protester Arrested Aged 13” Amnesty International, June 7, 2019

Kazakhstan’s Second-Ever President Can’t Tolerate Protest” Reid Standish -- Foreign Policy, June 10, 2019

Ghosts of the Soviet Union


Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)

PO Box 34010

San Diego, CA 92163


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