Friday, October 16, 2015, U.S. Healthcare 2015:  How Do We Compare with the Rest of the World? Dr. Rick Flinders, Chief of Adult Medicine Service, Sutter Hospital, Santa Rosa


Noon, Fountaingrove Inn, Camelot Room

101 Fountaingrove Parkway, Santa Rosa


Members: $30; Non-members: $35

Reservation deadline 10/9


The U.S. healthcare system remains broken and is breaking us. Despite its numerous benefits, the Affordable Care Act is not equipped to control the sustained growth in the cost of U.S. healthcare. Dr. Flinders, using data and examples from five other countries, will explain how and why the U.S. is falling behind in healthcare for its population, while adding substantial costs each year. He maintains that the United States spends twice as much per person on healthcare than any other nation, while the outcomes are measurably worse, and several million of our citizens remain uncovered.


Dr. Flinders directly supervises the house staff for all patients admitted to the Inpatient Teaching Service of the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency Program at Sutter Hospital. Dr. Flinders is a graduate of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. As a Peace Corps participant in Paraguay in his early life, he became a passionate advocate for better healthcare for all people.




Thursday, October 29, 2015, Exciting Progress and Harsh Realities in the Race to Low-Carbon Energy, Professor Severin Borenstein, E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, Director Emeritus of the University of California Energy Institute and the Energy Institute at Haas


7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium


5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa

Members & SLV free: Visitors $5


Improvement in solar and wind generation technologies has accelerated in the last few years. Biofuels and storage technologies seem to be on the cusp of important breakthroughs. Yet, progress in replacing fossil fuels has been painfully slow. Professor Severin Borenstein will discuss the challenging hurdles that still exist for alternative energy sources in the developed and the developing world, and the variety of policy arguments for government intervention in the market, some valid, many not. He will characterize the public and private activities that he believes will be necessary to address the energy challenges we still face.


Professor Borenstein received his A.B. from U.C. Berkeley and Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T. His current research projects include the economics of renewable energy, economic policies for reducing greenhouse gases, and alternative models of retail electricity pricing. He served on the Board of Governors of the California Power Exchange from 1997 to 2003. In 2012-2013 he chaired the Emissions Market Assessment Committee, which advised the California Air Resources Board on the operation of California's Cap and Trade market for greenhouse gases. Since 2014 he has been a member of the California Energy Commission’s Petroleum Market Advisory Committee.



Friday, November 13. 2015, Uzbekistan: Public Diplomacy to Those Who Mistrust You, Carol Marks, retired U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer 

Noon, Flamingo Hotel

2777 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa

Members: $26; Non-members: $31  

Reservation deadline 11/6


Uzbekistan is a country with sharply restricted freedom of speech, run by leaders who see all outside influences as a threat to their hold on power. In such an environment, public diplomacy and public outreach by western nations in particular, is assumed to be hostile. Carol Marks was the Public Affairs Officer (and frequently acting Deputy Chief of Mission) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 2007-2009. Her experiences in Tashkent included having her staff beaten by local security forces, having events cancelled at the last moment, reinventing educational exchange programs when the non-governmental organizations facilitating such programs were abruptly banned, as well as numerous other challenges. As with most stories involving life in the Foreign Service, keeping one's sense of humor and improvising on the fly were key tools for meeting those challenges. The presentation will feature a discussion on the utility, futility, and complex necessity of continuing outreach and engagement when it means compromise with an authoritarian regime.  


Carol Marks’ specialty as a Foreign Service Management Officer led to many assignments, overseas and in Washington D.C., addressing complicated human resource, budget, and resource management issues, most notably in "the Stans" -- the countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. She was a regional budget officer, traveling extensively throughout this area. Ms. Marks also served at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador. She received her degree in Political Science and Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and her Master Degree in International Relations from Columbia University in New York. She speaks Russian and Spanish, and also is a noted "impersonator" of historical figure, Susan B. Anthony. Ms. Marks now lives in Sonoma County.


We would like to thank the American Foreign Service Association for their assistance in providing speakers Carol Marks.  AFSA is the professional association and union that represents nearly 17,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees.  AFSA’s Speakers Program is part of an overall effort to educate the public about the work of the Foreign Service and importance of diplomacy in U.S. foreign policy.




Saturday, November 21, 2015, My Incredible Journey with Nicholas Kristof to India and Nepal,  Austin Meyer, journalist and educational design enginee


4:00 p.m., Glaser Center

547 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa


Members & SLV free: Visitors: $5 suggested donation



Austin Meyer, a Santa Rosa native, was selected to accompany journalist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times to India and Nepal during the month of October 2015. Austin will speak about this unique experience, about the lives of everyday people from those two countries and of the conditions in Nepal after the earthquake.


Austin Meyer attended Santa Rosa schools before heading to Stanford University where he studied creative writing, played midfield for the varsity soccer team, and was a performing member of The Stanford Improvisers, an improvisational theater group. He completed his Master Degree in journalism at Stanford. Austin’s stories have appeared in the New York Times, SF Gate, the Los Angeles Times, and on KQED. Austin currently works for SAP (U.S. software company), where he is developing an educational program to teach design thinking and innovation to business executives around the world.



Thursday, December 3, 2015, Cuba and Haiti: Near Neighbors the U. S. Must Engage, Joseph Sullivan, former Ambassador to Zimbabwe and Angola; Chief of the U.S. Mission in Havana, Cuba; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Latin America


7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa


Members & SLV free: Visitors $5


Less than 100 miles apart, Cuba and Haiti shared a common history until the Haitian revolution of 1801. The United States has played a major role in both countries over the last two centuries, and developments in Cuba and Haiti have had a continuing impact on U.S. policy, both internationally and domestically. The Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the Mariel exodus of 1980, and the 2010 Haitian earthquake that killed 300,000 people are among the examples of events which have been important both in the Caribbean nations and in the United States.

Ambassador Sullivan will discuss the opportunities and the challenges posed by the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the impact on U.S. relations with the two countries. He will explore the differences in political systems, as well as issues of human rights, migration, narcotics trafficking, and poverty. The growing number of Cubans and Haitians in the U.S. play a significant role in shaping U.S. policy, but all Americans have a stake in U.S. relations with these Caribbean neighbors.


Joseph Sullivan’s 38-year diplomatic career also included service as Haiti Special Coordinator in 1996-97, as well as chairing the Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group. He assembled and edited the book, Embassies Under Siege, and published articles in Orbis and The Diplomatic Record. Joseph Sullivan served as Diplomat in Residence at Georgetown University and at Tulane University, where he coordinated international aspects of the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina. He also authored the 2014 book, A Diplomat's Journey from the Middle East to Cuba to Africa. 

We would like to thank the American Foreign Service Association for their assistance in providing speakers Joseph Sullivan.  AFSA is the professional association and union that represents nearly 17,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees.  AFSA’s Speakers Program is part of an overall effort to educate the public about the work of the Foreign Service and importance of diplomacy in U.S. foreign policy.



For reservations, make checks payable to WACSC and send to World Affairs Council, PO Box 1433, Santa Rosa, CA 95402.

We have a great corporate sponsor, Spring Lake Village, please support them at every opportunity.

Reservation and Cancellation Policies.

Luncheon and Annual Dinner reservations have become increasingly popular and are filling our venue capacities more rapidly than ever. While this is greatly appreciated by the WACSC Management Board, it requires the implementation of some practical controls, as follows:

Reservations must be cut off one week before the date of the event. If your reservation is received after the published deadline it will be returned and your name will be placed on a waiting list.

Cancellations will be honored if you call us at 707-573-6014, at least 48 hours before the event. This same number can be used to ask questions about WACSC programs and policies. You will receive a refund in the mail. If you need to cancel less than 48 hours before the event we cannot issue a refund because your meal will be charged to the Council. Cancellations made before the 48 hour deadline may allow members on a waiting list to attend.

No Doggie Bag policy applies to two of our meal venues: Fountaingrove Inn and the Hilton Hotel. This is their food safety rule; not ours.

© Copyright World Affairs Council of Sonoma County