The World Affairs Council of Sonoma County

The World Affairs Council of Sonoma County (WACSC) is a  non-profit, non-partisan  organization whose purpose is to promote study and public education  in world affairs and to contribute to improved international understanding and relations. We feature speakers such as Ambassadors, international figures, journalists, academics, and business  professionals. 


Council programs provide participants the opportunity to meet and ask questions of people who shape world events in a variety of formats. Regular programs are sponsored by the Council and are open both to members and the general public.


P.O. Box 1433
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Phone: (707) 573-6014

If you are a WACSC member and have a change of name, address, phone or email, please notify Brantly Richardson by clicking your mouse arrow on the mailbox.




Upcoming Events




Wednesday, August 19, 2015,  



Friday, September 11, 2015, THE NORDIC COUNTRIES: WHO ARE THEY AND WHAT MAKES THEM SPECIAL? Hilde Janne Skorpen, Norwegian Consul General


Thursday, September 24, 2015

SOUTH AFRICA: THE FUTURE OF AN ILLUSION? Patrick Connolly, World Bank (retired)


Read more >


The World News Weekly Update is a collection the past week's top news stories. Every week, the Pittsburgh WAC Council gathers articles, reports, and op-eds from various domestic and international information outlets in order to provide wide-ranging and balanced perspectives on pressing global issues.

Click here for the last and previous weekly updates.


To share your comments and suggestions about our programs, restaurants, meals, meal service, meeting venues, or whatever is on your mind, contact the WACSC Board and Program Committee via email by clicking your mouse arrow on the green arrows below


This website is hosted through the generosity of West County Net, Inc. of Santa Rosa.



News Items:
Perspectives Newsletter

PERSPECTIVES, our full color quarterly newsletter, is distributed by email to members with email addresses registered with the Council.  The current seven page edition of PERSPECTIVES can also be viewed by placing your mouse arrow on the logo below and click it.


Members who do not provide us with email addresses receive a one color, 2-page Program Mailer with complete information about upcoming programs and reservation forms. It is mailed several days after e-publication of PERSPECTIVES.

New Members

In July 2015, new WACSC  members were: John & Susanne Bonnet, Joanne & Michael Dranginis, Sandy & Dick Drew, Janice Shipley


Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club

We are excited to be introducing a new luncheon programs venue. Beginning with the July 10 program, we will be enjoying luncheon at the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club. Its beautiful clubhouse banquet room offers a wonderful view. Just outside the banquet room is a spacious reception room where you can meet friends and new members before and after luncheon. An informal no-host bar in the banquet room will offer wine, beer, and soft drinks. Parking is easy and ample.


The July 10th luncheon meal will feature lighter fare, something many members have requested. We would greatly appreciate your feedback on this change. Please click your mouse arrow on the green arrows to the right to send us feedback.


Getting there: From all directions take Highway 12 and exit at Fulton Rd.  (from the east) or Wright Rd. (from the west). Proceed north on Fulton Rd. to Hall Rd. (extension of W. Third St.). Turn left on to Hall Rd. to Country Club Drive on the left. Take Country Club Drive to Country Club Court on your right. Proceed into the court to parking and the clubhouse at 333 Country Club Drive.


To visit the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club website click your mouse arrow on the golf ball




WACSC Strategic Planning Committee

Ten members of the Board gathered in April for two meetings to discuss and plan for the future of the World Affairs Council of Sonoma County. These lengthy and productive meetings produced recommendations for the entire Board to consider for ensuring the financial stability, the program mission, leadership succession, and integrity of our all-volunteer Council. With proper planning and management, together with the ongoing commitment of competent volunteer leaders and the continuing support of our members, the future looks secure.


Volunteer Help Wanted!

Our Treasurer, Perry Ritenour, has posted a job opening for volunteers with some accounting, audit, or finance background to join a new Treasury Investment-Audit Committee (TIA). The work can be interesting and challenging without too much time involved. See Perry at program meetings to discuss your background and interest or contact him at


Program Committee: Serendipitous or Lucky?

Our marvelous Program Committee has scheduled speakers on subjects that are relevant and topical to current world events on several occasions this year. Speakers are normally engaged several months before the program date. A hot topic at the time of making a speaker commitment may be stale by the time the program is held.  On the other hand an interesting topic at the time of commitment may be red hot on the speaking date. We have had the experience of having speakers with hot topics several times this year. Lucky, perhaps, or serendipitous. In order to bring more speakers with relevant and current events topics to us on a timely basis the Program Committee has developed a “hot topics” plan by which special programs, not on the published schedule, may be announced by email blast for a late afternoon presentation. Speakers can be available on a last minute basis because they are traveling in the area for a variety of reasons and can be persuaded to come to Santa Rosa for a short visit, presentation and bottle of wine. Kudos to the Program Committee for bringing “hot topics” speakers to us in a timely manner and allowing our members the opportunity to be the best informed world affairs residents in Sonoma County.


Did you know?

Because WACSC is an Internal  Revenue Code Section 501(c) (3) organization, contributions to WACSC, including dues, are tax-deductible, subject to normal IRS rules for substantiating contributions. Regular dues should be paid by check; your cancelled check serves as your receipt. We provide written receipts for Sustaining Member dues and other contributions over $75.00. Because payments for luncheon and dinner programs are for meals, they are not tax-deductible.


Spring Lake Village (SLV) Notes for WACSC Members.

We need to be aware that the maximum seating capacity of the beautiful new Spring Lake Village Auditorium is 250. The Fire Marshall insists that no more than 250 people can occupy that room. With our increasing membership and the expansion of Spring Lake Village we can find ourselves exceeding that capacity when a speaker and/or topic interests a large number of members, residents and the general public. To be sure of a seat, try to arrive early. After the room is full of seated people, entry will be cut off. No standing and no extra seats will be allowed. If this inconveniences people, we are very sorry and hope that you will be understanding and cooperative.


Parking Advice: To assist our members in finding parking spots at Spring Lake Village, we are posting a map of the facility. Click your mouse arrow on Map to review it or print it: “Montgomery Center”--the auditorium where our programs are held. The “Front Lot” is the road directly from the Main Entrance to the “Village Center” (the main building), and is the main lot for Visitor Parking. “Lot A” is to the right of the Front Lot, adjacent to Building “A” on the map. It is also a visitor lot. Otherwise, our members may use spaces designated for Visitors, including designated handicapped spaces (with a handicapped tag), and Unassigned spaces.


Designated parking spaces for Visitors are color coded Green on the map. Designated Handicapped spaces are color-coded Orange. Currently Unassigned spaces are color coded in Blue.  These spaces may be used for parking at our events unless and until they are assigned. When a spot is assigned to someone, the parking stop will have a name on it.  WAC Members MAY park in any of these unassigned spots on event evenings as long as there is no name on the parking stop. A Parking Stop looks like this:

Please do NOT park in any spot that has a name on the parking stop. They belong to residents of SLV.


When inspecting the map, note that most of the available spaces are for diagonal parking (Visitor spaces in Front lot and Lot A), or for right angle parking (on the frontage road west of the main entrance). However, only parallel parking is permitted on the 5 visitor slots adjacent to the auditorium, and on the unassigned spots against the north curb of the frontage road east of the auditorium. Finally, please note that the available spaces are not reserved for us. Inevitably, other visitors will occupy some of these spots. After December 4 there will be over 100 spots available.


World Affairs Councils of America (WACA)

It is timely to remind ourselves that our Council is part of something bigger, WACA, the World Affairs Councils of America, headquartered in Washington, D.C. We are one of 92 Councils in the United States and one of 9 in California. We are also one of the 20 to 30 Councils totally managed by unpaid volunteers.


The World Affairs Councils of America has a long and storied history stretching back some 90 years. Two groups, the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) and the World Affairs Councils, worked together in the same organizational system from 1918 until the early 1950’s. The FPA was founded by a small group of individuals who worked with President Woodrow Wilson and were concerned that at the end of World War I Americans would choose an isolationist foreign policy over one of engagement. They worked to nurture grassroots citizen involvement in international affairs, and by 1947 the two groups operated as a national organization composed of a network of independent community Councils.


In 1986 the National Council of World Affairs Organizations national office was established in Washington, D.C. This evolved into the World Affairs Councils of America which today is the country’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering grassroots understanding and engagement in international affairs.


The Foreign Policy Association, headquartered in New York City, is now a leading public forum for foreign policy presentations and educational activities, including the annual Great Decisions programs that engage many of our members each spring.


International Membership of WACSC Members

Those who attended the September 26 luncheon meeting at the Quail Inn were given the opportunity to fill out a member survey presented by the Program Committee. Fifty-six of you filled out the survey, and the compiled results resulted in some good and interesting news. The good news is that 7 people volunteered to assist with programs, and 23 persons said that they would help occasionally. The interesting news is that we learned that many of the responders have lived abroad. Germany and Japan tied with 5 each; South Korea and the U.K. 4 each; Canada, France, Morocco, Switzerland 3 each; Australia, Chile, PR China, Chile, Egypt, Italy, Iraq, Mexico, Spain 2 each. In addition, 20 other countries were mentioned by individuals. We have over 480 dues-paying members currently, so we must have many more people who have lived in or were born in other countries and who could share experiences with us. We are truly an international and world affairs organization.


Meal Costs in 2015

As the economy improves, meal prices go up. The Santa Rosa restaurant venues used for our speaker meetings are feeling comfortable about raising their prices after several years of keeping them in check, despite rising costs. After serious negotiations with our principal venues over meal pricing in 2015, we will be seeing increased costs for lunch meetings. Our policy of charging members only the actual cost charged to the Council by the venue remains unchanged. Our attendance at luncheon meetings has been ever increasing over the past two years. We expect to see that trend continue this year. 


Full-Service No-Host Bars Are Now History at Some Venues

We have had a full-service no-host bar in or near our banquet room at most of our past luncheons, but that luxury has now ended due to insufficient patronage. A couple of our luncheon venues have told us that our members have not purchased enough to justify staffing a bar at no cost. The Hilton Hotel suggests that members walk down the hall from the banquet room to the Nectar Bar in the same building. Other venues will continue to provide a no-host bar in our banquet area, restricted to wine, beer, and soft drinks. In most cases, other alcoholic drinks may be purchased at the venue’s public bar. We hope this change will not inconvenience members.


WACSC Speakers Bureau 

An officer of our Council will gladly visit a service club or civic organization to present a 20-minute talk on the many benefits of the World Affairs Council of Sonoma County.  We want to inform the community of what we are doing and how we can help them keep informed about international relations.  If you belong to a club that might like a speaker, please give contact information to Bob Kirk at or 538-9294.


WACSC “Hotline” Now Designated a “Lukewarm Line”

As members of WACSC you are encouraged to call our Council phone number, 573-6014, for general information and to make and cancel meal reservations. We have generally referred to this phone number as the WACSC “hotline.”


However, please be advised that we have downgraded the “hotline” designation to the “lukewarm line” to clarify that this phone line does not have 24/7 coverage with operators waiting to take your call. We check for messages on a regular basis and attempt to respond to all calls promptly. However, some responses may take more time. As an all-volunteer-managed Council, it takes the time and commitment of a volunteer to monitor this phone. Your understanding and patience will be appreciated.



Searching for a World Travel Opportunity?

WAC of Philadelphia continues to offer wonderful travel experiences for WAC members and their friends. Their 2014 Travel Tours are available for our members to view, consider, inquire and reserve. You can reach the WAC Philadelphia website at You can call toll free to their Travel Department at 800-942-5004, Ext. 209 or 217. You may reach their VP of Travel, Joan Russell, directly at WAC Philadelphia has been arranging world tours for many years and is highly recommended by our national parent organization, World Affairs Councils of America.



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