December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017

A Message From the President of SDWAC

Dear SDWAC Members and Friends,

It is my sad duty to report to you the loss of two of the Council’s most well-loved and dynamic members, George and Gladys Novinger, who perished in a tragic accident while on vacation in Hawaii last weekend. Their passing leaves a large hole in San Diego’s international community, as they were active in so many organizations: SDWAC, the Diplomacy Council (where they were co-chairs of the advisory committee), the City’s International Affairs Board, the Balboa Park International Cottages (George was spearheading a project to expand the cottages and Gladys, a former Honorary Consul of her native Peru, was the founding spirit of the House of Peru), the Foreign Service Retiree Association, and others too numerous to mention here. Even more than for their community spirit, George and Gladys will long be remembered for their warmth, joie de vivre, welcoming ways toward newcomers and their obvious love for each other. A candlelight vigil in their honor will be held Mon., Dec. 4, in their beloved Balboa Park (details below).

On a lighter note, SDWAC’s activities continue apace. On November 28, we sponsored a showing of the film “America’s Diplomats” at San Diego State University, followed by questions and answers with a panel of former Foreign Service Officers (and SDWAC Board members) Ambassadors Leslie Bassett and Reno Harnish and your scribe. Earlier the same day, the Council’s Advisory Roundtable held its inaugural meeting, featuring participation by representatives of our institutional and corporate members, community leaders, representatives of other internationally-oriented organizations and major donors. There was much useful discussion about how we can raise SDWAC’s profile in the community and attract support that will enable us to present the kind of events that will help place San Diego in the first rank of global cities. Also, I encourage all readers of this newsletter to attend our December 6 event “Is the Turkish Partnership Doomed?” with respected Georgetown University Professor Dr. Sinan Ciddi. I heard him speak at last year’s World Affairs Councils of Americas (WACA) conference and he is authoritative and insightful.

Speaking of WACA conferences, I just attended this year’s, held Nov. 15-17 in Washington, D.C. Leaders of many of WACA’s 95 member councils shared best practices in running events and approaches to building support and e-marketing.  I particularly liked newly rebranded World Oregon’s slogan, “Come for the content; stay for the conversation.” The WACs of Columbus and Upstate South Carolina outlined a training program they’ve developed called “Global Literacy,” which can be applied to groups such as workers at foreign-owned companies or city employees and first responders in areas with large immigrant populations. 

As for policy, former U.S. Ambassadors Ted McNamara and Pete Romero made a strong case that diplomacy is currently undervalued by both Congress and the public, and urged WACs to lead an effort to “proselytize for diplomacy.” Pete Romero, with support from WACA, is putting together a podcast called “American Diplomat” that will tell human stories behind U.S. diplomatic achievements.  There was an excellent panel on NAFTA, with an agricultural company representative pointing out that Mexico now buys 95% of its corn from the U.S. and a Chamber of Commerce official noting that the proposed increase in U.S. content in autos from 62.5 to 85% would make American-made cars uncompetitive with European and Japanese models. Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), themselves regular tennis partners, discussed the decline of bipartisanship in foreign policy as well as the impact of the ongoing investigation of Russian influence on the last U.S. election, and such challenging issues as the North Korean nuclear threat, potential U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, and Saudi Arabia’s aggressive posture in its region, especially in Yemen, and the expulsion of the Rohingya from Burma. At the prominent think tank CSIS, a panel of experts gave President Trump’s recent visit to Asia high marks, while observing that U.S. withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership and the China leg of the trip represented missed opportunities on the trade front. All was not dry absorption of information, however; at the Ukrainian Embassy, while listening to the ambassador recount efforts toward economic reform against corruption since the 2014 “Revolution of Dignity” in Kiev, we delegates consumed varenyky (dumplings with meat filling), pork sausages and Ukrainian vodka. Small wonder I lost track of the times our hosts called out, “We love America!”

Finally, let me give a shout-out to our volunteer of the month Tanvi Kardile, who did so much during her busy academic schedule to make Tuesday evening’s event at SDSU a solid success.  Nice going, Tanvi!

-- John Schlosser



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

San Diego World Affairs Council presents:

“Is the Turkish Partnership Doomed?”


Dr. Sinan Ciddi

Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Georgetown University

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The Turkish-American bilateral relationship has its roots embedded in World War II.  After committing a sizable number of combat divisions to the Korean War in 1950, Turkey was formally admitted to NATO in 1952.  Since this time, the U.S. and Turkey have collaborated in numerous regional and global security initiatives.  By the late 2000s, the Obama administration labelled the relationship as a ‘model’ partnership.

Since the onset of the Arab uprisings and heightened instability in the near and Middle East, Turkey’s relationship with the United States has come under increased strain, owing largely to divergent policies that have eroded trust and undermined cooperation.  Most recently, in response to the arrest of a Turkish employee of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, the United States imposed an unprecedented ban on non-immigrant visa issuance across Turkey.  To what extent has the U.S.-Turkish relationship suffered irreparable harm and are there ways that the partnership can be rebuilt?  In the wider context, how will the United States approach policy-making towards the region if Turkey is not a partner or ally?

About our Speaker

Dr. Sinan Ciddi is an expert on Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy.  He obtained his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 2007 in the field of Political Science.  Dr. Ciddi continues to author scholarly articles, opinion pieces, and book chapters on contemporary Turkish politics and foreign policy, as well as participate in media appearances.  In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities at Georgetown, Ciddi also serves as the Executive Director of the Institute of Turkish Studies.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

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



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

December 7, 2017: “The Three Russian Revolutions:  1905-1917.”

Member William Thayer will draw on his personal conversations with the late Russian revolutionary Alexander Kerensky to inform his one-of-a kind presentation. The first revolution was in 1905 and resulted in the Czar sharing power with the newly created Duma (Parliament).  The second revolution was the abdication of the Czar leaving the Duma solely in power, and it was Russia's best chance for a democracy. The third revolution was a duel between Lenin (representing the 5% minority Bolsheviks) and Kerensky (representing the peasants - 90% of the population). Learn how Lenin dominated, and what that might mean for our understanding of Russia today.    William Thayer has a BS in Math from Stanford, a MS in Aerospace Engineering from USC, and a MBA from USC. (This will be a continuous meeting finishing at 11:30am, followed by a NCC Board of Directors meeting.)

December 14, 2017: "Germany at the Crossroads? The Implications of the 2017 Elections.

Professor Ron Bee examines how the election results may affect Germany's role in the EU, on immigration issues, and with the United States and NATO. Germany, once split, and now unified but facing political crisis, is the economic engine of the European Union. Domestic concerns over immigration and bailing out Greece have created a political backlash evident in the most recent elections. Ron Bee has had a distinguished career as a foreign policy analyst and is currently Managing Director of the USD Hansen Summer Institute.

Dec. 21, 2017: Authors Day and Holiday Celebration.  

NCC will host four presentations by distinguished member-authors:

Two Lifetimes as One:  Ele and Me and The Foreign Service. Irving Tragen (J.D.) was in the Foreign Service for 46 years which included service as the Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States, and the OAS Secretariat.  He will speak about his unique and exciting Foreign Service experiences with his wife Ele.

One Second San Diego.” William Thayer (MBA), worked 30 years in the aerospace business. He will discuss the effects of and local and national responses to an electro-magnetic pulse attack. It’s not just science fiction any more.

Whisper in Bucharest.” Kiki Skagen Munshi (Ph.D.) was a diplomat for USIA and the Foreign Service.  She will present her historical spy novel following a Romanian boy from WWII, to university, and toward success … until. Don’t miss this suspense-filled page-turner.

Revenge of the Prophet: How Clinton and His Predecessors Empowered Radical Islam. Vojin Joksimovich (Ph.D.), born and raised in Serbia, Yugoslavia, has presented over 125 papers on nuclear issues, published over 110 essays on foreign policy, and written 3 books including the title work. Former British M.P. and Chairman Emeritus of the World Affairs Councils of America, Sir Eldon Griffiths wrote this is, “an important book that reveals how arrogance and blindness in Washington served the cause of radical Islam.”

Please note there will be no program on December 28, 2017. We wish you a happy New Year and will see you in 2018!

For further information please e-mail:


Candlelight Vigil for Gladys and George Novinger

The House of Peru will host a candlelight vigil for Gladys and George Novinger who recently passed away while on vacation in Hawaii. The vigil is open to family, friends and anyone that would like to express their sympathy and support.

Family members of both Gladys and George will be in attendance.

WHEN: Monday, December 4, 2017

4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Balboa Park International Cottages Courtyard

2191 Pan American Road W

San Diego, CA 92101

Candles will be donated and distributed by the House of Peru.  Attendees are encouraged to wear warm clothing, comfortable shoes and bring a lawn chair for seating purposes.

For more information, contact Oscar Urteaga at (619) 851-1613 or

Please register at this link:


Calling All Authors

The North County Chapter celebrates its author-members this month, and we would like to highlight our published writers on our web page as well.  If you would like us to include you and your works, please send a brief synopsis, a short bio, and a photo of your book to  We are proud of all of you!

Celebrate an Evening of Azerbaijani Cuisine and Culture


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

North Korea's Threat to U.S.; Pope in Myanmar; NAFTA and the Trade Agenda; Germany's Coalition Struggle; Ireland Ready to Snap; New Era for Zimbabwe; Honduras's Elections

Quote of the Week:

"Freedom is worth fighting for and worth sacrificing for."

-- Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Kurdistan Regional Government Foreign Minister, discussing the WACA 2017 National Conference theme, The Future of American Leadership, in Washington on November 15.

North Korea: Is the U.S. Capitol Under Threat?

"North Korea Test Fires Ballistic Missiles that Can Hit Almost Anywhere in America" - Dave Majumdar - The National Interest, November 28, 2017

"North Korea Says Tests Most Advanced Missile Yet, U.S. Mainland in Range" - Christine Kim and Phil Stewart - Reuters, November 28, 2017

"North Korea's Missile Launch Is a Triumph for the Rogue Nation, 'Worrisome' for the World" - Matt Stiles - Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2017

"North Korea Could Now Almost Certainly Strike London or Berlin. Why Isn't Europe More Worried?" - Rick Noack - The Washington Post, November 29, 2017

Pope Delicately Pushes Human Rights in Myanmar

"In Myanmar, Pope Francis Calls for Peace Without Saying 'Rohingya'" - Jason Horowitz - The New York Times, November 28, 2017

"The Pope Visits Myanmar: Questions to Ask About Any Rohingya Return Deal" - Joshua Kurlantzick -- CFR, November 27, 2017

NAFTA and the New Trade Agenda 

"Which States Would Be Hit Hardest by Withdrawing from NAFTA?John G. Murphy - U.S. Chamber of Commerce, November 17, 2017

"NAFTA Negotiations from the Other Side: What Mexico and Canada Can Do" - Phil Levy - Forbes, November 28, 2017

Germany's Coalition Struggle 

"Why Germans Aren't Worried About Angela Merkel. Yet." Jack Ewing - The New York Times, November 28, 2017

"Angela Merkel Faces Fresh Trouble in Bid to Form German Coalition, After Split in Bavarian Sister Party" - The Telegraph, November 29, 2017

"Angela Merkel Fails, yet Still Comes Out on Top" - Fabian von der Mark -- Deutsche Welle, November 23, 2017

Ireland About to Snap

"Irish Government of Verge of Collapse Ahead of EU Brexit Summit" - Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin -- Reuters, November 23, 2017

"Ireland's Latest Border Campaign Will End in a Quagmire" - Michael Brendan Dougherty, November 28, 2017

"Irish Government's Political Crisis: Who's Who and What's What" -- Belfast Telegraph, November 28, 2017

A New Era for Zimbabwe? 

"How South Africa Can Help Shepherd a Democratic Transition in Zimbabwe" James Hamill -- World Politics Review, November 27, 2017

"Emmerson Mnangagwa Hails 'New Democracy' in Zimbabwe" Jason Burke and Emma Graham-Harrison -- The Guardian, November 22, 2017

"Zimbabwe's Scientists Hope Political Change Will Revitalize Research" Sarah Wild -- Scientific American, November 27, 2017

Honduras Anxiously Awaits Election Results 

"Something Fishy Is Happening in Honduras" Juan Carlos Hidalgo -- Cato Institute, November 28, 2017

"Is Honduras's Ruling Party Planning to Rig an Election?"  - The Economist, November 25, 2017

Office: (619) 325-8200

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

Office: (619) 325-8200


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