Thursday, April 27, 2017, BRIDGE TO NOWHERE? TURKEY AND THE WEST AFTER THE ATTEMPTED COUP, Jessica Catherine Varnum, Senior Research Associate and Project Manager, Center for Nonproliferation Studies


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

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa


Members & SLV free: Visitors $5


Turkey is frequently referred to as a bridge between East and West, a role becoming increasingly critical to the U.S. and NATO vis-à-vis a chaotic Middle East. As Turkey’s neighbors are consumed by civil war and terrorism, Turkey is a corridor for extremists and refugees, while facing its own domestic political crises. Differences between Turkey and its Western allies, amid Turkey’s rising anti-Americanism, gravely imperil the alliance. Ms. Varnum examines the state of play and outlook for cooperation between Turkey and the West.

Jessica Varnum is an expert on Turkey, regularly lecturing, writing, and contributing to research and dialogue projects on Turkish policies and U.S.-NATO-Turkey relations. She also specializes in nonproliferation challenges and teaches two advanced seminars in the MA Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program. Ms. Varnum earned an M.A. from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a B.A. from Colby College, and is currently working on a doctoral dissertation as a distance student focusing on Turkey with King’s College London’s Defence Studies Department.

Mike Morrison, Sponsor



Friday, May 12. 2017, NAFTA AND TPP: WHAT THEY ARE, THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACT AND EFFECTIVENESS, Harley Shaiken, Director, Center for Latin American Studies and Member of the Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley.


Noon, Quail Inn, Oakmont

7035 Oakmont Drive, Santa Rosa


Members: $31; Non-members: $36

Reservations due 5/5

“Trade” between countries is a very hot topic, and NAFTA and the TPP are two big buzz words that have been frequently mentioned during the recent election. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a three-country accord negotiated by Canada, Mexico, and the United States has been in effect for 23 years. Its original purpose was to eliminate trade barriers and facilitate the movement of goods and services among the three partners. Has it been effective, or is it, as President Trump calls it, “the worst trade deal ever”?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was intended to be a trade agreement among 12 countries to promote economic growth, improve living standards and reduce poverty among the signatory countries, and enhance labor and environmental protections. There is disagreement among economists about its potential for success.

Dr. Shaiken is an expert on both of these agreements. He will clarify any misconceptions we may have and offer suggestions on how to make these agreements more effective. At UC Berkeley, Dr. Shaiken specializes on issues of work, technology, and global production. He has authored three books, Work Transformed: Automation and Labor in the Computer Age, Automation and Global Production, and Mexico in the Global Economy, as well as numerous articles and reports in both scholarly and popular journals. Harley is an advisor on trade and labor issues to public and private organizations and leading members of the United State s Congress.

Joe Leadem & Heather McLintock, Sponsors



Thursday, May 25, 2017, MY PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA AS A SECULAR WOMAN, Humaira Ghilzai, Co-Founder of “Afghan Friends Network”


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

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa


Members & SLV free: Visitors $5


Each year we read about millions of Muslims who journey to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holiest site. Mecca is the birthplace of Muhammad and the site of Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran.


Our speaker, Humaira Ghilzai, who resides in San Francisco, made this pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, as a secular observer in 2015. In this talk, Ms. Ghilzai will recount the compromises and tradeoffs she had to make, as a feminist, in order to make this journey. She will give details of the rituals, their significance, and how this experience changed her.


Ms. Ghilzai was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her family fled Afghanistan right after the Russian invasion, and they made the Bay Area their new home. Humaira Ghilzai, is a Social Entrepreneur, focused on projects that bring positive social change for the Afghan people. She has co-founded Afghan Friends Network and instituted a Sister City relationship between Hayward, California, and Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she has done extensive work to improve education for girls, boys, and women. You can learn more about Ms. Ghilzai at and the Afghan Friends Network at



Friday, June 9, 2017,  MUSLIM AND JEWISH RELATIONS, THEN AND NOW, Dr. Emily Gottreich, Chair, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Associate Adjunct Professor of History and International and Area Studies, UC Berkeley


Noon, Fountaingrove Inn, Camelot Room

101 Fountaingrove Parkway, Santa Rosa


Members: $32; Non-members: $37

Reservations due 6/2


The popular image of Jews and Muslims as eternal or natural enemies is not accurate, insofar as it reflects current political, territorial rivalries more than it does the historical record of lived experience. Dr. Gottreich presents a glimpse into the millennia-long co-existence of Jews and Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly Morocco. Morocco is historically home to the largest Jewish community in the Arab world, where a richly hybrid Jewish civilization--comprised of Berber, Arab, and Sephardic elements--developed in concert with its Muslim neighbors. 

Dr. Gottreich is an explorer of Muslim-Jewish relations in the Arab World, with special focus on Morocco. She is author of Morocco: A Jewish History from Pre-Islamic to Post-Colonial Times and Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa, in addition to many articles for various publications. Dr. Gottreich has served as President of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies. She received a Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies; an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and her B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley.

Linda Lambert, Sponsor



Thursday, June 22, 2017, LESSONS FROM KOREA, Kathleen Stephens, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; currently the William J. Perry Fellow at Stanford University


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

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa

Members & SLV free: Visitors $5


Drawing from her experiece in Korea over decades, Professor Stephens will reflect on South Korea’s extraordinary economic rise and its democratic and cultural transformation, as well as describe North Korea’s alternate journey. She relates both to the role of the United States and other powers have played--or tried to play—in these two countries. What lessons can we draw from the Korean experience? And what does the future hold?


Ambassador Stephens was the American Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2008 to 2011. She was Principal DeputyAssistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2005 to 2007, involved in the Six-Party Talks with North Korea. Ambassador Stephens was the first Korean-speaker and first woman to hold the top U.S. job in Seoul, and she was named the State Department’s Linguist of the Year in 2010. She is the recipient of numerous awards in Korea. Her Master’s Degree is from Harvard University.

Pat Givens, Sponsor





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.

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