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.








Edward Kinney, retired, 30+year veteran of Information Systems and Cyber Security with the federal government.



George Rutherford, M.D., Salvatore Pablo Lucia Professor of Epidemiology, Preventive Medicine, Pediatrics and History; Head of the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, and Vice Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco


Thursday, March 2, 2017, The Evolving Crisis in Venezuela: Origins, Dynamics, and Possible Solutions, Margarita Lopez Maya, Professor at the Center for Development Studies (CENDES) at the Central University of Venezuela.


Friday, March 10, 2017, THE CASE FOR U.S. NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY, Brad Roberts, Ph.D., Director, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Thursday, March 23, 2017, THE ISLAMIC STATE, ASSAD, RUSSIA,


Reese Erlich, award-winning journalist and author


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 January 2017 new WACSC  members were: Alice Richardson, Sandy Shartzer, Ann Whitman & Carol Wyenn


WAC Partners With SSU

On November 17, 2016WAC and Sonoma State Universitys Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) hosted their first joint event in SSU's Schroeder Hall. SSU's new President, Dr. Judy Sakaki, gave an inspiring introduction, noting the vibrant climate of continuing education programs in Sonoma County. 


The audience of 150, consisting of OLLI and WAC members. then enjoyed a lecture by the day's featured speaker, Dr. Margaret Purser, Chair of the SSU Anthropology Department. Dr. Purser discussed the complicated and changing nature of "heritage" and its protection. She explained how heritage is often defined differently by governments, scholars, international organizations, and common citizens. Dr. Purser noted that in the modern view, "heritage" consists not just of buildings or significant works of art, but also includes broader and more nuanced examples of cultural importance. The audience certainly left with a broader and more complete understanding of this important issue. 


WAC staffed an information table with volunteers to provide information about WAC membership and upcoming programs. Many thanks to all of our member volunteers who helped promote our organization with the audience at SSU. This initial collaboration between OLLI and WAC was deemed a great success, and we look forward to more events like this in the future!


Start Off the New Year with the World Affairs Council Annual Dinner

January 13, 2017, (yes, that's 2017!) will see all of us gather at the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club for our Annual Dinner. We will enjoy a wonderful dinner in always-pleasant surroundings, then listen to our distinguished speaker, Anja Manuel, tell us “What the Rise of Asia Means for the U.S.,” focusing on China and India and what we can expect from these two countries in the future. Ms Manuel is a partner in the strategic consulting firm of Rice/Hadley/Gates.


We will also introduce the Council's new officers and give a well-deserved thank you to those who make our Council the great organization that it is. Please join us, see old friends, make new ones, and start the New Year with a great speaker. The event begins with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m., with Ms. Manuel's talk beginning at 7:00 p.m. Please see the full event description elsewhere in this issue, and send in your reservations to confirm a spot for this special occasion.


Program Committee: Apply Now!

(“World Class” salary; benefits beyond mention!)

 Now that I have your attention, our Program Committee is looking for another member to assist in the search for event speakers. The position is in the strict materialist sense voluntary, though we have every confidence that the karmically-generated salary and benefits will be enormous across several lives to come—and you have the priceless opportunity to meet and work with an exceptional group of dedicated volunteers for a great cause. The Program Committee's 10-plus members are looking for people who have an interest in world affairs and a willingness to search for expert speakers to present at our events.


The time commitment for each Program Committee member averages a few hours per month, which is spent searching for and securing new speakers, shepherding them through the booking process, and attending Committee meetings once a month. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact me at or Kathy Riley at


Brexit, Athens, and Name Badges

Our name, World Affairs Council, affirms our members’ commitment to wrestling with the most pressing concerns facing human civilization. Climate change, Brexit, and the recent U.S. election results are a few examples of the weighty matters that lay heavy on our minds. This focus is not trivial. The ancient Greeks argued that civilization itself depends on citizens of the polis—those, like us, who are engaged poli-tically—are all that save society from barbarians, chaos, and the raw state of nature. Please then, in the spirit of thinking globally, acting locally, and keeping anarchy at bay, do not forget to return your name badges to our very appreciative volunteers after each WAC luncheon. This small gesture pays great dividends in terms of time and headaches saved. Tangentially, if EU budget and trade policies were handled with the same disciplined efficiency with which our check-in staff must organize hundreds of name badges, there would have been no Brexit.


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.


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.



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.


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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