WACA August 2018 Newsletter

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 8:56 AM | Anonymous

July 30, 2018

August Newsletter

Council of the Month: WAC Dallas/FW; Qatar Leadership Mission; CSIS's Trade Guys at WACA Conference; Spotlights on Kyrgyzstan and Oman; Job Openings; Councils in the News; and more

President's Letter

Dear Council Leaders, Friends, and Supporters:

WACA is pleased to present Council of the Month honors for August to the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. Council President and CEO Jim Falk, who also serves on the WACA Board of Directors, shared this very recent letter to the Council's members:

Recently I researched a widely-used quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson that I planned to include in an upcoming speech. To my surprise, I found that doing so would have perpetuated an historical inaccuracy - about the founder of my university (UVA) no less! Jefferson is often said to have written: "An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” According to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation - which maintains an exhaustive database on all things Jefferson - while the quote may have reflected his views, he neither said nor wrote it. That was a reminder to me about how careful one needs to be in checking sources. 

World Affairs Council audiences frequently have the privilege to hear and question key policymakers, and other original sources, without external filters. This has certainly been true this summer, with appearances by current and former key players in our national security apparatus including James Clapper, Michael Hayden, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Ben Rhodes. Sometimes speaker appearances at our podium prompt emails and calls of pleasure and displeasure from our members. My response is this: The Council provides a safe - and I hope balanced - venue for different points of view, giving our members and the public the chance to listen to varying perspectives and, in many cases, to hear why a decision that in hindsight may seem flawed at the time was the best of several challenging options.

Since the dawn of this century, partisanship has become increasingly bitter, with the margins moving farther apart. I think you will agree that today this rancor has spread more broadly, touching our neighborhoods, families, and yes, even our World Affairs Council. 

Several members have mentioned to me that they are tired, if not weary, of the hyperbolic rhetoric and that they are “checking-out” and ignoring the news. While that is tempting, it is not why you and I support the World Affairs Council. It is interesting to refer to the Council’s original establishment statement from 1951: "In the belief that better community education in world affairs is necessary for sound democratic citizenship, and in order to present facts and realistic appraisals, and to foster free and informed discussions on world problems, including economic, political and social problems, the Dallas Council on World Affairs is established." 

With the midterm elections just a few months away, we hope to include in our program a number of the candidates. In this vein, you will note that Beto O’Rourke will be speaking on August 15. Senator Ted Cruz has accepted our invitation although a date is yet to be confirmed. We will also welcome Colin Allred on August 8 and hope that Rep. Pete Sessions will accept our invitation. Soon we will begin inviting likely candidates in the 2020 presidential race (as we did before the 2016 election). The recent survey that many of you completed confirms once again that our members view the Council as politically neutral and unbiased. As you might imagine, this is a measurement that we monitor especially carefully.

In just a few days, we join our friends at the Dallas Museum of Art to celebrate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela and so it seems appropriate to close with this quotation: "A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that in the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger."

I look forward to continuing the conversation with you.

Jim Falk, President and CEO

World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

Grateful for your leadership, Jim, and wishing all of you a pleasant August!

Bill Clifford, WACA President and CEO

WACA 2018 National Conference: Braving the New World Order

November 7-9

The Mayflower Hotel

Washington, DC

Register now!

More Think Tank Off-sites

Center for Strategic and International Studies

The principals of The Trade Guys, CSIS’s recently launched podcast, will offer a special briefing for a live WACA audience at CSIS headquarters.

Center for American Progress New this year!

Kelly Magsamen is Vice President for National Security and International Policy at CAP. Previously, she was the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.

The McCain Institute New this year!

Ambassador Kurt Volker is Executive Director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University based in Washington, DC. In July, 2017, he was appointed U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations.

Center for a New American Security

CNAS is an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit organization that develops strong, pragmatic, and principled national security and defense policies. 


Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo, international economist, author of Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth - and How to Fix It, and WACA's July Cover to Cover guest.

Ray Rothrock

Ray Rothrock, Chairman and CEO of RedSeal, a Sunnyvale, CA-based provider of network security solutions, and author of Digital Resilience.

Nina Ansary

Dr. Nina Ansary, Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) Centre for Women, Peace and Security, and one of six UN Women Champions for Innovation.

The World Affairs Councils of America 2018 National Conference will be held November 7-9 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. 

We have secured a special group rate for 1 Deluxe Room$259 per night (Single/Double Occupancy) plus tax.

Click here to reserve your room!

See more information

Additional National Conference speakers and program details will be made in the coming weeks!

August Cover to Cover: Author Lilley Explores an Unusual Cold War Theater

Join our Cover to Cover conference call with Jeffrey Lilley on Wednesday, August 8, at 2:00-2:30 pm ET.

After surviving the blitzkrieg of World War II and escaping from three Nazi prison camps, Soviet soldier Azamat Altay fled to the West and was charged as a traitor in his homeland of Kyrgyzstan in Soviet Central Asia. Chingiz Aitmatov became a hero of Kyrgyzstan, propelled by family loss to write novels about the everyday lives of his fellow citizens. Altay became the voice of democracy on Radio Liberty, broadcasting back into his shuttered homeland, while Aitmatov rose through the ranks of Soviet society, a quiet rebel whose prose masked ugly truths about Soviet communism. Yet just as they seemed to be pulled apart by the divisions of the Cold War, they found their lives intersecting in compelling ways, joined by a common mission to save their people. 

In his new book, Have the Mountains Fallen?: Two Journeys of Loss and Redemption in the Cold WarJeffrey Lilley traces the lives of these two men as they confronted the full threat and legacy of the Soviet empire. Through narratives of loss, love, and longing for a homeland forever changed, a clearer picture emerges of the struggle for freedom inside the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Did you miss WACA's July Cover to Cover with Dambisa Moyo on her new book, Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth - and How to Fix It? Listen to the podcast here!

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