Upcoming Programs

Upcoming 2019 Programs — Save the Date

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Friday, January 11, 2019
Noon, Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country
170 Railroad Street, Santa Rosa
Members: $35; Non-members: $40
Luncheon:  Herb-Roasted Chicken or Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Reservations close 1/4 (or earlier if capacity is reached)

Note:  Parking: Bring your parking ticket to the WAC registration desk to be stamped.  This will comp your parking fee.  Please carpool if possible.  For more information click here.

Alex M. Saragoza, Professor Emeritus of History, Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, author.

On November 2, 2018, the Trump administration announced a new set of sanctions against Cuba while the embargo of over half a century remains in place. For the post-Castro era leadership of the island, the question remains: how much longer will the U.S. maintain a “hard line” on Cuba?

This talk will discuss the current political, economic, and social situation of the island in light of the turn in U.S.-Cuba relations after the change that took place under President Barack Obama. Given the shift in the White House, this talk will explore the challenges for the island and what may lie ahead for the new leadership of Cuba.

Alex M. Saragoza has published widely on the interface between Mexico and the United States. In addition to teaching courses on Cuba at UC Berkeley, where he served as Chair of the Center for Latin American Studies, he has lectured at various universities in France, Mexico, and Texas.

He is the recipient of the 2017 Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award from the Osher Lifelong-Learning Institute and was appointed to the Distinguished Lecturer Program of the Organization of American Historians. He received his Ph.D. from UC San Diego.

Mike Morrison, Sponsor

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An Analysis of the 2018 Midterms

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019

7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium
5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa
Members and SLV residents: No Charge
Non-members: $5
No reservation required.

Brian Sobel, Sobel Communications

Prognostications were followed by voting in person and by mail.  Then there were three weeks of counting, recounting and finally the results are in.  When Congress reconvenes in January, Democrats will have a majority in the US House of Representatives. What does that mean for the Democrats…for the Republicans…for us?  Will the dynamics in Washington change? Will civility in the country return?  Will the divisiveness fade away?

Political Analyst Brian Sobel will help answer some of these questions and provide an indication of what we can expect in the next election which is less than 2 years away.

Currently the principal consultant for Sobel Communications of Petaluma, Mr. Sobel has an extensive background in both the government and private sectors.  He has served as a former planning commissioner and vice-mayor of Petaluma, and has held various positions on governmental and non-governmental boards and commissions.

Be sure to join us for this presentation and the interesting discussion that will be sure to follow.

Heather McLintock, Sponsor

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Where Is Russia Going?

 Friday, February 8, 2019

Noon, Flamingo Hotel
2777 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa
Members $35; Non-members $40
Luncheon:  Baked Pacific Basa (fish) or Pad Thai (veggie)

Reservations close 2/1 (or earlier if capacity is reached)

Jeremy Kinsman, formerly one of Canada’s top career diplomats

The eternal Russian question has been an enduring focus: Kuda idyot Russiya? Where is Russia going? The answer resides partly in where Russia has been during its incomparably turbulent and harsh century since the Bolshevik revolution. How has it affected the way Russians think, what they want, and how they see us in the West? Understanding Russian perspectives doesn’t mean we’ll agree on their future actions, but it does help us to see our world more clearly.

For decades, Jeremy Kinsman was one of Canada’s top diplomats, serving as Minister in New York (UN) and Washington. After being Political Director of the Foreign Ministry, he was Ambassador to Moscow and Rome, High Commissioner in London, and Ambassador to the EU.

Since his resignation from the Foreign Service in 2006, he has been Visiting Diplomat at Princeton, Regent’s Lecturer at Berkeley and director of an international democracy support program. He is a writer and TV commentator (CTV News) and has also served on Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy Council.

Joe Leadem, Sponsor

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The Politicization of Humanitarian Aid

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019

7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium
5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa

Members and SLV residents: No Charge
Non-members: $5
No reservation required.

Mark Ward, US Foreign Service (ret’d.)

Mark Ward, a retired senior Foreign Service Officer, led humanitarian responses for the United States in several natural and man-made disasters, from the Indian Ocean Tsunami in late 2004 to the Syrian Conflict today. When he spoke to us last spring, Mr. Ward talked about a little-known joint US-Russian initiative whose focus was on improving the humanitarian situation inside Syria.  It worked, for a time, and showed what US-Russian cooperation can achieve.  Unfortunately, the new Administration announced it would not spend $230 million allocated for Syrian aid, as it moves to extricate the US from the Syrian conflict.

In this presentation, Mr. Ward will share his experience and his perspective on the politicization of humanitarian aid across his long career and the current situation in Yemen.

Mr. Ward’s extensive background includes 30 years of experience in the Foreign Service and has served in Pakistan (twice), Egypt, the Philippines, and Russia.  He is the recipient of a Service to America Medal for his efforts in leading the U.S. recovery and reconstruction efforts after the Asia Tsunami which took 200,000 lives.

Heather McLintock, Sponsor

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Please make your check payable to WACSC and send it with the completed reservation form to World Affairs Council, PO Box 1433, Santa Rosa, CA 95402.

When we announce a forthcoming WAC luncheon program, we request that you mail your reservation form and check to arrive no later than one week before the event. Most venues require this amount of time in order to be properly staffed and for the chef to order the right quantity of food for our event. Also note that we will take reservations through the week prior to the luncheon date, or until we reach capacity. It is always a good idea to send your reservation as soon as you can so as not to be disappointed.

If your reservation arrives after the deadline date or capacity has been reached, you will receive a notification and your check will be returned. You may request to be added to a wait list for reservations by leaving a message at the WACSC phone number:

We accept cancellations and provide refunds up to 72 hours before the event. For example, if there is a luncheon on Friday, we can accept your cancellation and send you a refund if you have called the above-mentioned phone number to cancel before noon on the preceding Tuesday. After that time, we cannot provide a refund, since we are obligated to pay the venue for the reservation, even if you do not come.


Many of us just can’t eat all the food that we are often served at our WAC luncheons. Wishing not to waste food, we may have asked for a “doggie bag.” Depending on where you were and whom you asked, you may have been told that the venue does not allow food to be taken away. How can that be? There is enough here for another meal!

A ‘NO DOGGY BAG’ policy applies at some of our luncheon venues. This is the restaurant’s food safety rule, not a WACSC policy. The reason is primarily related to liability that the restaurant would have, should you get sick from the food you take home. Sometimes, food taken home may sit in a car a bit too long and develop bacteria that could make you ill.  Please understand that the venue is not being mean, but, rather, they do not want to take the risk of any adverse health effects.

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