The World Affairs Council of Sonoma County (WACSC) is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization whose purpose is to promote study and public education in world affairs, and to contribute to improved international understanding and relations. Our programs feature knowledgeable 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. Speaker programs sponsored by the Council are open both to members and the general public.
Founded in 1988 in Santa Rosa, the center of Sonoma wine country, we provide our community with approximately 20 speaker programs per year. We generally have 1 luncheon program and 1 evening program per month, occasional special programs, and an annual summer picnic for members. Our upcoming programs, updates, news and events are kept current on our Upcoming Programs page. Information on our Book Group can be found under Activities.
We are an all-volunteer Council governed by a working Board of Directors. Our officers are elected by the Board and serve as Board members in accordance with our bylaws. A list of our current leadership team is on the “Leadership” page of this website.
We are one of 98 independent World Affairs Councils in the United States affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA)
We are one of the few operated entirely by unpaid volunteers. Our members come from all walks of life, and include former diplomats, foreign service officers, academics, professionals and business people. Regardless of background, all members share a lively interest in world affairs.
As a tax exempt educational organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, membership dues, charitable contributions and bequests to WACSC are tax deductible as provided by law.
Membership information and applications can be found on the Membership page of this website. To contact us, see the “Contact Us” page.
We want to thank West County Net (Chris Frost) for their past generous technical support of WACSC website.
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A Farewell to Ted Eliot, 2019
It is with sadness that we say Good bye to WACSC Member Ted Eliot. Ted passed away on Thursday, August 8, 2019, following a heart attack.
Ted had many titles throughout his life: as a member of the State Department for 30 years, he served in Sri Lanka, Germany, Iran and the Soviet Union. He served in Democratic and Republican administrations: he was assistant to Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon in the Kennedy administration; he was economics officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran from 1963 – 1966 in the Johnson administration, and he served as executive secretary of state under William Rogers in the Nixon administration. Ted offered to serve as Ambassador to Afghanistan from 1973-1978, where he served under three U.S. presidents.
Upon his retirement from the State Department, Ted became dean and professor of diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Returning to California in the 1980s, he and his wife Pat moved to Sonoma and worked to pass ballot measures for what became the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. Ted became co-chair of the Measure F campaign that extended a quarter-cent sales tax to fund the district for another 25 years, and later served on the district’s advisory committee.
Ted and Pat placed a conservation and trail easement on their property on Sonoma Mountain. This easement, now known as the Eliot Family Trail, is part of the trail that extends the county parkland east of Rohnert Park to Jack London State Historic Park and then an additional 2 miles.
Ted was also an advocate for preserving Sonoma Developmental Center for open space and public access. An avid birdwatcher, Ted recorded over 4,000 species of birds and just a few months ago, spent 10 days birdwatching in Colombia.
He called visiting Antarctica and Kenya the two greatest trips of his life. It was his love for Antarctica that led to his sponsorship of the September 2018 presentation to WACSC by Dr. Grant Ballard from Point Blue Conservation Science.
While Ted has been a WACSC member since early 2007, he has been more than that. He was an advisor, a supporter and a friend to all and will be missed by those of us who had the privilege of meeting him and hearing him say “just call me Ted.”
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A Farewell to Bob Kirk, 2018
Bob Kirk, a noted historian and author and known to us as a long time World Affairs Council member, leader and good friend, has passed away. For some 20 years Bob served our Council with distinction, brought great experience and wisdom to all of us, and led our Council as President for 4 terms-a time after which he was known as “President for life” for his longtime directing of the Board. As President or as a Director on the Board Bob was always listened to and he always listened to others-the hallmark of a leader.
Bob and his wonderful wife, Barbara, were world travelers. So much so that after dozens of cruises, many of which were to French Polynesia, he assumed the nickname “Bora Bora Bob”. His lectures on these cruises enlightened other travelers to the beauty and history of that area and its peoples. Bob always wanted to share his knowledge and make the world a better place by teaching others.
Always noted for his sense of humor, at a meeting of the Board at my house which he found difficult to get to since it is way out in the country, he dryly asked when searching for the bathroom whether I had indoor plumbing! With his quick wit he had a way of putting a smile on people’s faces and making our jobs more fun.
While Bob is probably setting up shop to teach history and make many new friends in his new place he will be sorely missed at the World Affairs Council and his seat on the Board will be difficult to fill. He will be fondly remembered for a long time.
I and all the members of the Board of Directors and all who make up our World Affairs Council family extend our condolences to Barbara and wish her all the best and great strength in this difficult time. She knows full well what a great man Bob was and what a great life they had together.