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  What happens in the world has an impact on San Diego:

  • San Diego is home to the nation’s largest concentration of military personnel with 60% of the ships in the fleet of the U.S. Navy, and 1/3 of the active duty force of the U.S. Marine Corps.  More than 240,000 veterans reside here, as does a robust defense industry.
  • San Diego is a border city with the fourth-busiest land border crossing in the world and supports massive cross-border and international trade.
  • Port of San Diego is ranked as one of America's top 30 U.S. containership ports, supports major cruise ship activity, and three shipyards.
  • San Diego life sciences and tech sectors attract billions of foreign direct investment into our region, playing a vital role in our economy both domestically and internationally. 
By joining the San Diego World Affairs Council you can:
  • Dive deep beneath the headlines to learn about domestic and international issues from nationally recognized experts

  • Pose your own questions to our visiting experts during lively question-and-answer sessions
  • Network with diplomats, journalists, business people and community leaders who share your interest in world affairs
  • Attend select events at no charge
  • Participate in special educational and cultural excursions

  • Qualify for participation in partner organizations' programs at a discount

  • Support San Diego's emerging role as a global center for tourism, trade, investment and culture

SDWAC was founded in 1954 and has served the region with distinction ever since.  The Council is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA), the largest and oldest international affairs non-profit organization in the United States. Our Council serves the County of San Diego, with a dedicated branch specifically serving North County residents. Thanks to support from members like you, we continue to support San Diego's growing role as a global center for tourism, trade, and culture.  

We provide members with special access to numerous services and events including:

"SPOTLIGHT" Presentations

Globally-recognized experts share their insights on breaking global events and trends in a small-group atmosphere with plenty of time for your questions. These after-work events include light refreshments to go with the lively conversation.  

North County Chapter's "THURSDAY TALK" SERIES

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. These free, weekly talks address a range of global topics in a relaxed and social atmosphere. Forums begin with a coffee social at 9:30 a.m., followed by a program at 10 a.m. and Q&A from 11:10 a.m. to noon. The public is invited and no reservation is needed. 


Thanks to our network of contacts, we are able to bring particularly distinguished speakers to San Diego for insightful conversations on issues that matter to our community. In 2017 our special events included a discussion of Major League Baseball's global expansion plans and how they will impact San Diego; an analysis of post-Brexit Europe and the implications for global trade regimes; and a panel debate on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement. These events are limited to a small audience; members receive priority access.


Our members receive access to the annual World Affairs Council conference in Washington DC, as well as the opportunity to participate in expert-led tours to unique destinations as part of the "Travel the World" program. In addition, The San Diego World Affairs Council organizes study tours in the region focusing on business, the environment, culture and other issues of concern to our members.  


We believe it's important to start building tomorrow's leaders today, so we organize the annual "Academic Worldquest" competition for high school students on their knowledge of world affairs. Winners of the San Diego competition can travel to Washington to compete at the national level.  


Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)

PO Box 34010

San Diego, CA 92163


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