UK visitors hear perspectives on the American experience

Lt. Col. Gerald Leyshock, South Patrol – Deputy Chief in the3 St. Louis Police Department meets with visitors from the UK August 10.

Social media journalists from the United Kingdom learn about aspects of the America Experience in a visit to St. Louis in early August.  Part of a program with the U.S. Embassy in London,the nine visitors met with:

  • Lt. Col. Gerald Leyshock, South Patrol – Deputy Chief in the St. Louis Police Department
  • Faizan Syed, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islam Relations-Missouri (CAIR)
  • Aaron Holdmeyer, Videographer, Midwest Center for Media Literacy

Other destinations for the group in the U.S. included Washington, DC and San Diego.  More than 170 international visitors attend programs arranged each year by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.

Beginning Chinese Language Course builds skills for travelers

Blue sky and white clouds, ancient Chinese architecture

Beginning Chinese for Business

Learn Chinese for Business:  Open doors for travel.

Do you enjoy different cultures and travel? Do you like to challenge yourself? And most importantly, do you want open up opportunities to work, live, communicate, and understand a country that will continue to play an important role in the world’s future?

Then this class is for YOU!

In this noncredit class, you will learn common phrases and scenarios of business in China. Ten topics will be introduced, which include self-introduction, asking for directions, taking transportations, visiting a Chinese family, dining in a restaurant with your business partners, etc.

The class will be sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Webster University and World Affairs Council of St. Louis, instructed by professors from Beijing Language and Culture University. Additionally, five of the classes will feature guest speakers who can offer further insight into China’s business, society and culture.

  • Non-credit class: Beginning Chinese for business
  • Schedule: September 11, 2018 – November 15, 2018. 10 weeks, 10 classes.
  • Time: Every Tuesday, 5:30pm – 7:00pm
  • Location: Arcade Building, Classroom TBD
  • Address: 812 Olive St, St. Louis, MO 63101
  • Material fee: $80 (Other cost covered by the Confucius Institute at Webster University)
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    Chinese Language for Business Course
    To learn more about the 10-week course, offered through the Confucius Institute at Webster University and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, sign up here.

WAC-STL Annual Meeting and Wine Tasting August 21

Wine and the World

Celebrating the start of the new program year, welcoming new officers and thanking our members, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis will hold its annual meeting and wine tasting at Parker’s Table from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on August 21.

Parker’s Table will be presenting wines from countries who may still be under the radar for producing excellent vintages.  We will also have a nice array of appetizers to enjoy while Parker’s Table staff describe the origin and characters of each wine.

The program will also include a brief overview of the World Affairs Council and opportunities to learn more.  To register for the event ($25 for members and $35 for nonmembers), please complete the form below.

To join as a member and take advantage of the savings, visit our membership page and select the appropriate category.
$ 0.00
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Sudanese experts learn about GMOs and humanitarian aid

Sudanese policy makers interested in learning about GMOs and Humanitarian Aid visiting the World Affairs Council of St. Louis include Ismail Ahmed Elkamesh Ismail, Director, Environmental Health and Food Control Administration; Asim Fadl Abu Sarra Ahmed, Executive Director, National Biosafety Council;  Ahmed Mohamed Adammahmoud,Commissioner, Humanitarian Aid Commission; Awad Mohamed Ahmed Sokrab, Director General, Sudanese Standards and Metrology Organization; and Tahani Yousif Elagib Omar, Director, Biotechnology and Biosafety Research Center

Seeking to learn more about the topic of GMOs and Humanitarian Aid, a delegation of high level health, agriculture and policy experts from Sudan visited the World Affairs Council of St. Louis July 12-14.  During their visit, the delegation met with experts on the topic from the US Agency for International Development, Monsanto, Kansas State University’s Department of Agriculture and the National Corn Growers Association.

Visitors included:

Mr. Ismail Ahmed Elkamesh Ismail, Director, Environmental Health and Food Control Administration

Mr. Asim Fadl Abu Sarra Ahmed, Executive Director, National Biosafety Council

 Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Adammahmoud,Commissioner, Humanitarian Aid Commission

Mr. Awad Mohamed Ahmed Sokrab, Director General, Sudanese Standards and Metrology Organization

Ms. Tahani Yousif Elagib Omar, Director, Biotechnology and Biosafety Research Center

The visit was part of the International Visitor Leadership Program.  The U.S. State Department annually brings about 4,000 “high-potential” middle managers from around the world for a three week program to the United States.

They are selected by U.S. Embassies abroad and represent all disciplines, i.e., business entrepreneurs, academics, journalism, law enforcement, medicine, engineering, agriculture and government. During their first week they are introduced to the workings of Washington, D.C.; then they exchange ideas, practices and challenges with their selected professional U.S. counterparts in two or three locations across the States for 2-3 days each.

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosts about 250 of these foreign citizen ambassadors in groups of one to fifteen per year. Among IVLP’s alumni are 192 current and former heads of state including former Prime Minister Tony Blair of England, former President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, and the late President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat.

The IVLP allows the visitors to see grassroots America at work, in schools and in the community. The American host has an unequaled opportunity to enrich his/her knowledge of the visitor’s homeland, form a new friendship and to continue exchanging ideas even after the visit is concluded



World Affairs Council of St. Louis Hosts Visitors from Lake Chad Basin region of Africa

On May 30, The World Affairs Council of St. Louis welcomed three interpreters and nine individuals from the Lake Chad Basin region of Africa to St. Louis. The group consisted of those who have passionately dedicated their careers to serving in local and national police departments, anti-terrorist/ national security forces, and community outreach organizations, all of whom arrived with a purpose to share their unique experiences, and to gain new insights on integrating community outreach and policing efforts.

Programs from May 31 to June 4 included:

  • A Presentation from a St. Louis Neighborhood Improvement Specialist, who acts as the bridge between neighborhood concerns and municipal action.
  • A Visit to St. Louis City Hall where the Mayor’s spokesperson and the liaison for the Mayor and aldermen explained the role of the Mayor’s office in informing the public of their policies, actions and reactions to events in the city.
  • A Meet and greet with the St. Louis mayor.
  • A Trip to County Police Headquarters in downtown Clayton. A Sergeant explained the Police Athletic League (PAL) Program and introduced two officers who shared their stories of immigration into North America from Africa, to serve in the police force.
  • A County police ride-along in the 1st precinct
  • A Discussion led by the head of the Community Mediation services, who explained the positive role mediation can play between government agencies and the citizens they serve.
  • A Presentation from an Officer who is head of the city’s PAL, describing how the nonprofit sector functions and why it is beneficial to the community.
  • A Trip to the Ferguson Police Headquarters. The Head Commissioner, Police Chief and City Manager of Ferguson explained the Moving Ferguson Forward” Ordinance passed in response to the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 that touched off tense social unrest in the community and nationwide.
  • A Meeting with the Director of the Restorative Justice School Program who shared the practices used to contribute to stronger and safer communities.
  • A Meeting with a social entrepreneur who developed the Books & Badges program for police recruits and elementary school students.

Each meeting concluded with dynamic questions and dialogue. As the visitors and speakers discussed cultural differences that render police work and outreach unique to St. Louis and the Lake Chad Basin respectively, they discovered many commonalities which led to fruitful conversations about how improvements and liaisons can be forged in both areas.

This visit was made possible through the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as well as Cultural Vistas.  The World Affairs Council of St. Louis annually hosts more than 150 visitors through the program, providing an important link between local experts on important global issues and countries where deeper knowledge on those issues is important.

Cyberthreats primarily international, range from simple to sophisticated

Cybercriminals, just as computer users in general, have a wide range of sophistication and effort in their attacks, noted speakers at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis’s session, “Cyber Security and You” presented May 23.  Speakers Rob Rudloff of RubinBrown’s cybersecurity group, and Matt Flinner of the Better Business Bureau, offered perspective on the nature of the attackers as well as protective strategies.

“We’re finding attacks are mostly coming from four countries, Russia, Romania, Jamaica, and France,” Rudloff said. 

  • Both speakers agreed that threats are constant and their greatest chance of success is when people don’t take appropriate precautions.  Using weak or obvious passwords, opening emails and attachments without some skepticism, failing to check links for unusual URLs (or country codes such as ca for China), and not protecting key information can open people up to cybertheft.Suggestions include:
  • using a password manager, such as LastPass,
  • only using a credit card, not debit card, for transactions,
  • keeping a close eye on your credit score and bank statements
  • avoiding quizzes online
  • don’t follow links from emails but go to the website for the company itself
  • don’t post on social media that you will be out of town, or provide details that can help criminals guess your passwords
  • use different passwords for each online activity


Home Hospitality Request!

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis and the International Visitor Leadership Program are looking for a host for a home hospitality dinner.

Hosting a home hospitality dinner entails picking up the visitors from their hotel, taking them to your home, serving them dinner, and then returning them to the hotel at the end of the evening.

In the upcoming weeks, IVLP has requested home hospitality visits for two groups.

The first group is from the Lake Chad Basin and is focusing on Community Relations and the Fight Against Terrorism in the US. Their home hospitality visit will be on May 31st, June 1st, or June 2nd.  The visitors are observing Ramadan, which means the host must be open to a later dinner time and the meal served must be halal. This group is made up of three interpreters and nine visitors. We are looking for three hosts available to host four visitors (1 interpreter and 3 International Visitors) on any of the previously mentioned nights. Please contact Elizabeth Hatfield if you are interested in hosting a home hospitality visit for this group.




The visitors:

Mr. Adam Adam Tchari – Director of Kadaye FM Radio

Mr. Hissein Dudoua Hamit – Chief Comander of the Mobile Intervention Police Group of the Ministry of National Security

Mr. Moussa Aniguey Khassim – Head of Civil Military Unit of the Chadian Army’s AntiTerrorism Group

Mr. Abdoul Aziz Abdoulaye Moussa – Police Inspector of the Niamey District V Police Station

Mr. Aboubakar Francois Bernazou – Police Commissioner of Niamey District V Police Station

Mr. Moctar Kio Abdou – Police Officer at the Niamey District V Police Station

Ms. Esther Abimiku Ibanga – Executive Director of Women without Walls Initiative

Mr. Wilson Iyamu – Deputy Superintendent of the Nigeria Police

Mr. Saleh Ibrahim Saad – Assistant Commissioner of Nigeria Police

Mr. Philippe Chamy – Simultaneous Interpreter

Mr. Zac Heyman – Simultaneous Interpreter

Ms. Christiane Metral – Administrative Interpreter


The second group is a group of seven visitors from Russia. This group is focused on Preventing Trafficking in Persons: Advocacy and Partnerships. Their home hospitality visit will be on June 4th or June 5th. We are looking for one host to host 4 visitors (1 interpreter and 3 international visitors) and a second host for 5 visitors (1 interpreter and 4 international visitors) on either of the previously listed nights. Please contact Elizabeth Hatfield if you are interested in hosting a home hospitality visit on the dates above.

The visitors:

Ms. Veronica Antimonik – Project Coordinator of Safehouse Foundation in Lyubertsy

Ms. Vladlena Avdeeva – Project Manager of Stellit in St. Petersburg

Ms. Svetlana Bazhenova – Founder and Director of Far-Eastern Center for Civil Initiatives and Social Partnerships in Vladivostok

Ms. Nurzida Bensgier – Chief Executive of Non-Commercial Partnership International Information Center Association in Yekaterinburg

Mrs. Elena Boliubakh – Chief Executive of Institute of Non-Discriminatory Gender Relations, Women’s Crisis Center in St. Petersburg

Mr. Oluremi Kekhinde – Head of Help Services for Nigerians in Russia in Moscow

Ms. Nadezhda Zamotaeva – Chief Executive of Sisters Charity Center for Victims of Sexual Violence in Moscow

Ms. Mila Bonnichsen – Russian Language Interpreter

Mr. Raymond Krischchyunas – Russian Language Interpreter

WAC-STL hosts international group focused on Combating Gender-Based Violence

To aid in the international campaign against Gender-Based Violence, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted seven visitors from the country of Georgia May 6-9. The delegation included two language interpreters and five individuals with careers in national and local law enforcement and NGOs, all concentrating their time in the U.S. upon Combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The group arrived in Saint Louis looking to learn more about:

  • the impact of legislation on Domestic Violence,
  • Specialized Police and Courts roles in these topics and
  • NGO activity in the legal sphere of GBV.

During their time here, they met with various governmental department heads and leaders of organizations.  On Monday, May 7, the group’s meetings focused on law enforcement and legal rulings pertaining to domestic violence cases. They observed Judges presiding over their domestic abuse court cases in St. Louis County.

After meeting with several circuit judges, they finished the day meeting with a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Detective from the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART).

On May 8, the meetings focused more on policy and service aspects of domestic violence. The group met with an attorney from the Legal Advocates for Abused Women (LAAW), the only domestic violence program partnering with law enforcement and criminal court systems.

Next, they met with the Public Policy Director of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) who discussed efforts and challenges in lobbying for legislation related to victims of abuse. They concluded the day by meeting with a manager from Provident, INC. an organization providing therapy services to families and individuals suffering from abuse, as well as those who have, themselves, committed domestic violence.

The group on May 9 continued their trip to Boston, Massachusetts, where they spent two more days meeting with leaders of current local efforts to combating GBV and exploring various prevention and education programs within the city.

This visit was made possible through the State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs as well as Global Ties U.S.    The World Affairs Council of St. Louis annually hosts more than 150 visitors through the program, providing an important link between local experts on important global issues and countries where deeper knowledge on those issues is important.


Cyber Security and You: Hear the Experts May 23

Learn about protecting yourself and your organization from cyber threats.

Hear from Rob Rudloff, a Cyber Security services team leader from RubinBrown and Matt Flinner, Better Business Bureau Education and Outreach Coordinator.

The key points of the presentation will cover the steps for concrete prevention and remedies of today’s greatest cyber threats, the latest information on emerging threats and tactics used by cyber criminals, and effective strategies for minimizing your risk of identity theft online.

There will be appetizers and a cash bar!

Cost is $20 a person, purchasing a whole table with 8 spots is $120.

Register here:

Pay by mail to:
Robert Foster, Executive Director
World Affairs Council
812 Olive Street, Suite 110, St. Louis MO 63101
or pay at the door.

Wac Welcomes Summer 2018 Intern

The school year is over and summer has begun, which means we are welcoming a new intern to WAC-STL!

Bonjour, hi! My name is Jessica Ryan and I am a Junior majoring in Environmental Sciences and minoring in Communication Studies and Social Entrepreneurship at McGill University. I plan to use this mélange work in a philanthropic minded international organization. I grew up in Saint Louis and moved to Montréal, Canada for school two years ago. During the year, I participate in McGill’s Ski club and volunteer for Junior Peacemakers: an organization that provides middle school classrooms with UN designed curriculum and activities to expand American kids’ global knowledge in a captivating way. I love learning new languages because it also helps me increase my awareness of a culture (food plays a significant role here!). I am fluent in English and French although I have previously studied Ancient Greek and Spanish, and hope to start Korean soon. I greatly look forward to spending my summer connecting Saint Louis to the international community here at the World Affairs Council.

If you are interested in becoming an intern for the Fall or Spring semesters, be sure to fill out our interest form!