Blog Post

WACA January 2019 Newsletter

Tuesday, January 08, 2019 2:04 PM | Anonymous

January 8, 2019

January Newsletter

President's Letter; Major Council Events; January Cover to Cover; Global Ties U.S. National Meeting; Conference Speakers in the News & WACA Videos Online; AWQ Update; Councils of the Month and Councils in the News

President's Letter

Dear Council Leaders, Supporters, and Friends:

“I alone can fix it” (Trump) and “The buck stops here” (Truman) are two distinct approaches to presidential responsibility and leadership – and the difference has nothing to do with partisanship.

President Trump last month embraced some buck-stopping – at least initially – when he told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before TV cameras in the Oval Office: “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck….I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

Tonight, 18 days into the partial (but punishing) government shutdown, Trump will deliver a defining televised address from that same office to make the case for his border wall to the nation. Some argue that news networks should not broadcast the speech. I believe that they should do so, and provide fair time for a Democratic response.

It is up to citizens to arm themselves with facts, a critical responsibility on which a healthy democracy rests, and one which has become immeasurably difficult in recent years. I heard this point underscored repeatedly at the Santa Fe Council on International Relations’ excellent Journalism Under Fire conference last month.

The Washington Post’s Daily 202 newsletter reports that the paper’s Fact-Checker Team has “documented 7,645 false or misleading claims made by Trump since taking office. Of those, 1,130 were about immigration. Claims about foreign policy and trade tied for second, with 822 claims, followed by claims about the economy (768).”

It is up to World Affairs Councils to engage the public in discussions grounded in facts on all these issues. Below, we highlight the network’s convening power, including controversial figures, that allow the people in communities we serve to increase their knowledge, test ideas, and make sound decisions. Our work has never been more relevant and vital.

Because your calendars fill quickly, I want to highlight several key dates:

·     Jan. 24 – WACA’s monthly Cover to Cover conference call series with prominent authors begins its sixth year with Francis Fukuyama on Identity

·     Jan. 24 – WACA breakfast at the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting

·     April 26-27 – The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2018 Academic WorldQuest National Competition in Washington, DC

·     June 13-15 – Semi-Annual Council Leadership Meeting and WACA Board Meeting hosted by International Relations Council in Kansas City, MO

·     Nov. 6-8 - WACA 2019 National Conference at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC

And, again, don’t forget to watch tonight’s important broadcast at 9:00 pm ET. What happens at our southern border has repercussions everywhere.

Best wishes for the new year,

Bill Clifford, WACA President and CEO 

Fukuyama To Discuss Identity Politics on January's Cover to Cover

Register Now

Demand for recognition of one’s identity is a master concept that unifies much of what is going on in world politics today. The universal recognition on which liberal democracy is based has been increasingly challenged by narrower forms of recognition based on nation, religion, sect, race, ethnicity, or gender, which have resulted in anti-immigrant populism, the upsurge of politicized Islam, the fractious “identity liberalism” of college campuses, and the emergence of white nationalism. The demand for identity cannot be transcended; we must begin to shape identity in a way that supports rather than undermines democracy.

Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment is an urgent and necessary book—a sharp warning that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we will doom ourselves to continuing conflict. 

Join our Cover to Cover conference call with Francis Fukuyama Thursday, January 24, at 2:00-2:30 pm ET.

Save the Dates!

Kansas City

Mark your calendars now! The World Affairs Councils of America will convene its semi-annual Council Leadership and WACA Board Meetings in Kansas City, MO on June 13-15, 2019. We are grateful to Matthew Hughes and his team at the International Relations Council for hosting.

The WACA National Conference will return to The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC on November 6-8, 2019.

Buy discounted tickets when you renew annual Council Dues, coming soon!

Academic WorldQuest Team Rules Update

After feedback and discussions with Councils that are seeking to expand their Academic WorldQuest program locally, WACA has agreed to allow the participation of composite teams in 2018-2019 local and national AWQ competitions. Students from two high schools or affiliations can combine to compete in an effort to reach new schools. Should such a team of four students win at the local Council's AWQ competition, it will be eligible to participate at WACA's AWQ National Competition in April 2019.

This new policy in effect with the current year on a trial basis, after which WACA will elicit further feedback and evaluate the initiative.

This year's AWQ Study Guide is now available, along with more information about the Carlos and Malu Alvarez 2018 Academic WorldQuest National Competition, to be held Saturday, April 27, 2019.

WACA has secured a group hotel block at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park HotelReserve your room today!

Interested in hosting your first Academic WorldQuest? We can advise you on best practices! Click here to read the AWQ Operations Paper and more or contact Drew Lorelli at the WACA office at 202-833-4557.

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