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.






Friday, May 13, 2016, CURRENT U.S. IMMIGRATION LAWS, POLICIES…AND MORE,William Ong Hing, Professor of Law, University of San Francisco; Professor Emeritus, U.C. Davis


Thursday, May 26, 2016, CUBA AND THE UNITED STATES…PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE, Alex Saragoza, Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies, UC Berkeley




Thursday, June 23, 2016, THE RULE OF LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS CRIMES AROUND THE GLOBE, C. Dixon Osburn, Executive Director, Center for Justice and Accountability, San Francisco


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 April 2016 new WACSC  members were: Annette & Leif Gjestland, Stewart & Lee Wolfe


Unsung Volunteers

So much goes on behind the scenes that contributes to the smooth functioning of our programs and communications, contributions that are largely taken for granted by those of us who expect everything to be always under control. Volunteers are working diligently to handle the myriad details supporting everything required to present a relevant, responsible, and professional face to our members, prospective members, speakers, and the public. We want to give recognition to some key people who fit into the category of “unsung”:


Tom Gemetti, Assistant Treasurer; Treasurer’s Advisory Group. Tom handles all monies collected and makes all bank deposits, with the requisite paper work.


Brantly Richardson, Administration: A long-time board member, Brantly maintains records of all dues payments, meal reservations, membership addresses, and makes several trips to our post office box every week.


Joe Oliver, Webmaster, and Jim York, Assistant Webmaster: Under Joe Oliver’s direction, expertly assisted by Jim York, the WACSC website has been dramatically improved and made much more user friendly on a current basis. Everything you want and need to know about our Council can be found on line at


Judy Burness, Secretary; Jean and Phil Langeley; Pat Kocher, Membership Chair: Judy heads this team in producing, collecting, and alphabetizing reusable nametags for each member attending meal programs. Members say that nametags are helpful in getting better acquainted with each other. Now you know how the nametags magically appear at each meal program.


Many people on our Volunteer Management Team do much more than their titles suggest. Filling in where needed is the way these people react to situations that arise from time to time. We are very fortunate to have so many committed and competent volunteers on our Management Team.


WACSC Community Outreach

Our membership numbers have increased substantially in recent years, testifying to our increased community visibility. The impact of our outreach efforts was also displayed in last November’s Glazer Center event with Austin Meyer, which drew a large number of non-members and earned Press Democrat coverage.


We are pleased to report that our community outreach campaign has opened another front. Our Council is working to establish a partnership with Sonoma State University (SSU) that mirrors relationships developed by other World Affairs Council chapters with their local academic institutions. WACSC members already make a large impact on SSU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute by participating on leadership committees and even teaching classes, and we hope to build on their pioneering efforts.


Other possible areas of program collaboration are being explored with general University departments to establish marketing efforts designed to bring SSU students and faculty to WACSC events. Mark Stapp, a WACSC board member and a development officer at SSU, is our University liaison for these efforts. 


The microphones at our events may not always be as loud as some would prefer, but the voice of the WACSC in the local community is certainly growing louder! We look forward to reporting other positive developments in the months to come.


WACSC Website 

For current updated news and information about the World Affairs Council of Sonoma County, go to We do our best to keep members informed about programs, meal events, relevant news, member profiles, book club activities, and we include a message from our president in the quarterly Perspectives, the publication you are now reading. Members who receive only the mailer version of Perspectives will see program information without any other news content. The one place that keeps you informed about everything to do with WACSC on a current basis is our website. It will serve you well if you make regular use of it. We encourage feedback from you about your website experiences and suggestions for improvement. The site is always a project in process and progress. You can help us make it better.


Pat Givens, Human Resources Coordinator 

Pat Givens is the “go to” person on our volunteer board and is even more so in her newest role as Human Resources Coordinator.  As a long time supporter of World Affairs Councils and member of WACSC; as a past president, veteran Program Committee member and member of several ad hoc committees, Pat fully understands the operations of our Council and of the need to constantly refresh the cadre of volunteers that keep WACSC in the tip tier of all volunteer councils across America. She is always available to speak with and interview prospective volunteers and can be contacted at and 707-541-0511. We encourage members to step forward to volunteer time and effort by first meeting Pat and discussing where talent and interests intersect with Council needs.


Spring Lake Village

With our increasing membership and attendance at speaker meetings it is essential to know that the SLV auditorium has an absolute (Fire Marshal approved) seating capacity of 230. We have tested and bested the capacity at past meetings.  Members need to be aware that if they don’t get there early they may not find a seat and be turned away. Please understand.

Sustaining Membership Drive

Our Membership Information classifies a Sustaining Member as one who contributes a total of $100 or more annually, including dues. The total amount of the contribution, including dues, is tax deductible in most cases under IRS Code Section 501 (c) (3), applicable to the tax-exempt status granted to WACSC and donors to WACSC.


We note that more of our members are electing to become Sustaining Members, joining several who have maintained that status over the years. The benefits of becoming a Sustaining Member are not only the right to take a larger tax deduction, but knowing that you are contributing more to the financial health of our Council and allowing the Council to keep regular membership dues low. We have not had to increase dues since the 1990s, something almost unheard of in organizations like ours. As costs keep rising for every aspect of managing our all-volunteer organization, it becomes increasingly difficult to continue to maintain our enviable dues policy.


When you renew your membership for another year, we ask that that you consider increasing the amount to reach the Sustaining level of $100 and above. It becomes a win-win situation for you and your World Affairs Council. You might like to know that bequests and monetary gifts to WACSC are also covered under the tax code as tax deductible to the donor, depending upon individual circumstances.


Meal Reservation Advice

To avoid disappointment when reserving for meal service meetings be sure to mail your reservation with check before the deadline date. Space is always limited, so reservations are accepted until we are sold out or until the deadline date, whichever comes first. If you arrive without a recorded reservation, we probably won’t be able to seat you.


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.


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.


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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