Founded in 1948, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan membership organization that connects the citizens of the Gateway region to the world. The Council’s mission is to sponsor programs that promote understanding, engagement, relationships, and leadership in World Affairs.
The St. Louis Council belongs to a national association known as the World Affairs Councils of America that includes more than 90 independent member organizations. Collectively, the Councils comprise the oldest and largest international affairs non-profit in the country. With its roots in the Foreign Policy Association—founded in 1918 to promote U.S. involvement in the post-World War 1 era—the national association took full shape in 1947. Today, the Council system reaches more than 2 million people each year with more than 2,500 events, radio, TV and school programs. Through its relationship with the national office, the St. Louis Council receives “best practices” ideas, operational techniques, and access to programming that contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of our organization.
As part of the national association, the St. Louis Council is looked upon favorably by the U.S. State Department as one of a few local organizations that encourage active citizen involvement in international affairs. The Council also plays a local role in its cooperative efforts with the Missouri State and St. Louis City government as well as various economic development agencies.
In light of the extent to which international issues affect every citizen, the Council strives to engage each demographic of the Gateway region. Through outreach efforts, speaker events and membership activities, the Council reaches a broad segment of the St. Louis population. It especially strives to serve local students and senior citizens.
Although our activities are open to everyone, the Council maintains corporate and individual membership to help defray program costs and provide St. Louis with a network of individuals interested in international affairs. Membership includes around 50 local corporations and 300 individuals.
With more than years of service to the St. Louis community, the Council
continues to look for ways to inspire, educate, and connect our community to issues in world affairs. As part of this effort, we are working to improve the quality of our programs and the breadth of our audience.