200 Ring in Year of the Pig

With a sumptuous feast, dancers, musicians and kung fu students, nearly 200 people joined WAC-STL at Mandarin House. 

Thanks to our sponsors and our donors for the silent auction: Jeff and Dayna Morris, Waterway, Rosalita’s Cantina, Bentley Photography, Missouri Botanical Garden, Kaldi’s Coffee, AAA, Parkway Hotel, Purina, Top Golf, Sheldon Concert Hall: Bernstein and Barber, Amp Up, Crystal Barker, SugarFire, Donna Kirtian, Corporate Transportation, Dewey’s Pizza, Omaha Steaks, Flamingo Bowl, Pieology, Chase Park Plaza, Pierce Powers, Cyrano’s, Lona’s Lil Eats, St. Alban’s Country Club, Repertory Theatre, St Louis Regional Chamber, Linda Kurz, Burt Follman, The Hatfield Family, Victor Wang, Schlafly Bottleworks, Parker’s Table, Cheshire Inn, Hi-Pointe Drive-In.

  Check out pictures on our Facebook page and learn about upcoming events at https://wacstl.org/.

Also, we depend on membership to help us bring international programming to the community and to develop custom itineraries for international visitors.  Joining as an organizational member or as an individual, retiree, couple or student, is super easy and makes a difference for us all.

Chinese New Year Celebration Features Four Entertainers, 10 Courses

More than 150 people are already planning to join the World Affairs Council of St. Louis to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Year of the Pig at The Mandarin House on Feb. 8.

Highlights will include a 10-course Chinese tasting menu served family style, more than 40 silent auction items and entertainment from:

Yiqing Zhang (playing Guzheng) “Melodies From The Night Fisherman”
Jiajing Lin (playing Erhu): first piece:” Horse Racing” and Step by Step”.
Kung Fu Performance by Master Qi Kungfu School
Lion Dance performed by the International Shaolin Wushu Center

For WAC members, the 10-course meal with food and drink included, is just $88. 

For non-members, the price is $98.  (The number 8 is considered beneficial in the Mandarin language.) 


We have special corporate rates as well; please contact rfoster@wac-stl.org.

To sponsor at the Platinum level, a table of 10 is $2,500; the Gold level is $2,000 and the Silver level is $1,500. All sponsors get promotional recognition and premiums table location.

This event provides us with the necessary funds to continue our engagement of the St. Louis community in a globalized world through educational programming and community outreach.


World Affairs Council: 26th Annual Celebration

WAC-STL hosts Hungarian Ambassador

WAC-STL and Lewis Rice host Hungarian Ambassador Dr. László Szabó January 25.

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis and Lewis Rice welcomed Hungary’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. László Szabó, to a business roundtable Jan. 25.

The informal discussion among business leaders, Lewis Rice senior attorneys and World Affairs Council of St. Louis leadership, was part of the Ambassador’s first visit to St. Louis, which also included delivering the 2019 Boeing Distinguished Guest Lecture at St. Louis University and a visit to Zoltek.

Ambassador Szabó, was appointed to the post in 2017 and is based at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC. He discussed Hungary’s tax and investment policies, role within the EU and long tradition of innovation and invention.

WAC-STL President Pierce Powers Jr., and Hungarian Ambassador Dr. Szabo.

Among Hungary’s innovations include the world’s largest test facility for autonomous vehicles, due for completion later this year, and transforming its embassy into a tech-innovation incubator.

Guests at the luncheon included Ambassador Dr. Szabó; his wife Dr. Ivonn Szeverényi; Dorottya Martonffy-Nagy, Hungary’s Trade and Investment Attache’ at the Embassy of Hungary; András Juhász, Hungary’s Commercial Attache’ from the Chicago Consulate, Joszef Szamosfalvi, Managing Director, Interlink Capital Strategies;  Con McGrath, Thompson Street Capital Partners; Liane Constantine, International Liaison, International Studies and Programs, UM-St. Louis; Tamas Javor, Assistant Director of UMSL Accelerate; Robert Foster, Executive Director, World Affairs Council of St. Louis; Pierce Powers, Jr., CEO of Powers Insurance and President of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis; Donna Kirtian, Director, JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.; Dr. Seung Kim, Emeritus Director, Boeing Institute of International Business at Saint Louis University; Mrs. Sue Powers; Dr. Hadi Alhorr, Director, Boeing Institute of International Business at Saint Louis University; Larry Taylor, President, Aziotics; Annamaria Szakonyi, Research Lead, Saint Louis University; Fatima Khan, Attorney, Lewis Rice; Kirk Damman, Attorney, Lewis Rice; Sonette Magnus; Attorney, Lewis Rice; Justin McKinney, Chief Executive Officer, Ivani; Matthew Wooton, Chief Technology Officers, Ivani; Drew Smith, President, Nardo Agribotics; Mr. Dan Pollman, President, Happy Medium;  Dr. Damon Broyles, Vice President,  Clinical Innovation at Mercy Technology.

Dr. Szabo presents the 2019 Boeing Distinguished Guest Lecture at Saint Louis University.

Join us for Chinese New Year at Mandarin House Feb. 8

Plan to attend!  February 8, 2019 at The Mandarin House

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis’s signature fundraising event is our Annual Chinese New Year Celebration.

For more than twenty years, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis has welcomed the Chinese New Year with a wide variety of reception activities, stunning entertainment, an exquisite Chinese banquet, multiple raffles with exciting prizes, and a silent auction.

Early Bird Pricing is now in effect!  For WAC members, the 10-course meal with food and drink included, is just $88. 

For non-members, the price is $98.  (The number 8 is considered beneficial in the Mandarin language.) 

We have special corporate rates as well; please contact rfoster@wac-stl.org.

To sponsor at the Platinum level, a table of 10 is $2,500; the Gold level is $2,000 and the Silver level is $1,500. All sponsors get promotional recognition and premiums table location.

This event provides us with the necessary funds to continue our engagement of the St. Louis community in a globalized world through educational programming and community outreach.

World Affairs Council: 26th Annual Celebration


World Affairs Council: 26th Annual Celebration

Fiji Journalists discuss press freedoms with St. Louis experts

Robert Patrick, reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, meets with journalists from Fiji at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis office Dec. 14, 2018.

Media professionals from Fiji were in St. Louis in mid-December to learn about the rights and responsibilities of a free press, part of a program developed by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.

The visitors include the Deputy Managing Editor of the Fiji Sun; a  journalist/news presenter for Communications Fiji Limited; a teaching assistant from the Journalism School at the Universityof the South Pacific; the Desk Editor for the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation; a senior journalist for The Fiji Times; and multimedia journalist for Fiji TV.

During the three-day program organized by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, the group met with legal experts, journalists and educators:     

  • Mark Sableman, a partner at Thompson Coburnwho helps news media clients gather and publish news, and business clientsbuild their brands, and fight infringement and false advertising.
  • From the St. Louis American Newspaper, they met with Editorial Director Chris King
  • From St. Louis University, they met Dr. Dan Kozlowski, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator for St. Louis University’s Department of Communications. 
  • From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the group met with reporter Robert Patrick and photojournalist David Carson, who discussed the responsibilities of journalists and their experience covering major news events in St. Louis.
  • From Webster University, they met Larry Baden, Associate Professor and Program Facilitator – Media Law and Ethics

The visit is part of the International Visitors Leadership Program, overseen by the U.S. State Department.  In 2018, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted more the 150 visitors and provided an economic impact to the region of $453,719.

Vianney captures “World” championship for global knowledge

Vianney High School takes first place in the 2018 Academic WorldQuest Competition presented by Saint Louis University and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis. They will compete nationally in April in Washington, DC.

A team from Vianney High School emerged victorious at the 17th Annual High School Academic WorldQuest Competition, presented by Saint Louis University and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, Nov. 29.

The Vianney team correctly answered questions on North Korea, space policy, the NATO alliance, global refugees and migration and current world events to beat out 32 other teams of high schoolers.

Their team included Andrew Chapman, Jack Schlote, Nick Schwarzen, P.J. Wuennenberg, Charlie Preiss and advisor Dennis Matreci.

Moderator Rachel Lippman of St. Louis Public Radio asked 70 questions, such as:

Earlier this month, Facebook came under fire when which political data firm gained access to the private information of 50 million users for the purpose of influencing their political behavior?
1. Global Strategy Group
2. Cambridge Analytica
3. Precision Strategies
4. FP1 Strategies

The Vianney team earned an all-expense paid trip to the National Academic WorldQuest competition to be held in April in Washington, DC.  The competition is hosted by the World Affairs Councils of America.

Taking second in the St. Louis competition was Duchesne High School ($500 prize). 

Duchesne High School takes second place in the 2018 Academic WorldQuest Competition presented by Saint Louis University and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.








Third was Fort Zumwalt North ($250 prize) and the Rookie of the Year award went to St. Joseph’s Academy.

In all, more than 130 students participated.

Fort Zumwalt North takes third place in the 2018 Academic WorldQuest Competition presented by Saint Louis University and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.

“It’s inspiring to see these bright, globally-minded young people gather and compete to see who knows the most,” said World Affairs Council of St. Louis President Pierce Powers, Jr.  “We are honored to partner with Saint Louis University and our World Affairs Councils of America organization to make this evening possible.”

St Joseph’s Academy takes Rookie of the Year honors in the 2018 Academic WorldQuest Competition presented by Saint Louis University and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.


STL Connects With National World Affairs Councils Annual Meeting

Speaking on “Breaking Out of Orbit: Trends in Space Policy” are Laura Delgado López’ the Advocacy Lead, Harris Corp. Space; Intelligence Systems and Editor-in-Chief, Space Policy Journal; Audrey M. Schaffer, Director for Space Strategy and Plans U.S. Department of Defense; Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director at the Secure World Foundation; and Theresa Hitchens, Senior Research Associate, Center for International Security Studies, University of Maryland

For nearly three decades, the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) National Conference has brought World Affairs Council leaders and members to engage with top government officials, diplomats, business executives, innovators, journalists, educators, and students on the most pressing global issues and policy choices that impact our lives. 

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis was represented by President Pierce Powers, Jr. and Executive Director Robert Foster.  

Highlights of the meeting included the membership meeting of WACA, which represents more than 90 councils nationally.  Major programs include Academic WorldQuest, Great Decisions discussion series, ambassador visits and discussions and events.

Amb. Roman Popadiuk, chairman of the WACA Board, WAC-STL Executive Director Robert Foster and President Pierce Powers, Jr.

During the meeting, Powers and Foster met with former Ukraininan Ambassador Roman Popadiuk, now board chairman of WACA, regarding potential Ukrainian interest in the St. Louis agribusiness and technology scene.

The two attended a reception at the Organization of American States, featuring a salute to the 75th Anniversary of the Foreign Policy Association and observance of the 100th Anniversary of the conclusion of World War I.  Powers and Foster also met with officials from Global Ties, the primary administrator of the International Visitor Leadership Program, which brings nearly 200 visitors to St. Louis.

WACA Executive Director Bill Clifford moderates a panel at the American Enterprise Institute, one of five briefings at prominent Washington DC think tanks



Gateway Globes Honors St. Louisans With International Impact


Former St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (center) and World Affairs Council of St. Louis President Pierce Powers, Jr. (right), present the WAC-STL Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas at the Gateway Globe Awards Nov. 1.

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis and the St. Louis Regional International Partnership inaugural Gateway Globe Awards on Nov. 1,  honored 10 organizations and individuals “who inspire us through their efforts to promote global networks, embrace cultural differences, create welcoming policies and foster global business opportunities within the St. Louis region. “

President of the World Affairs Council, Pierce Powers, Jr., said, “There is a common cord connecting nominees, sponsors, attendees and winners:  we promote global cooperation and networking, we embrace cultural differences, we create welcoming opportunity as a policy, and we foster global business opportunities.”

Powers and Hon. Francis G. Slay, who served as mayor in the City of St. Louis for 16 years, presented the World Affairs Council Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas for his support of the region, including arranging and funding a delegation of business and education leaders from St. Louis to travel to India in 2017.

Carnival Cruise sponsored the Carnival Gateway Globe Award for Culture. The award honors an individual or organization whose efforts are building alliances and bridges to connect St. Louis to the world.

The award was presented to Bilingual International Assistant Services, “an organization whose mission is to ensure equal access to healthcare, mental health, and social services for all, regardless of national origin or language ability, through the advocacy, education, and direct multilingual services that they provide. In fact, they were able to provide services to more than 3,200 clients this past year alone. In addition, they are the largest provider of mental health services for survivors of torture and war trauma in the St. Louis region.”

The Emerson Gateway Globe Award for Community Outreach was presented by Guillermo Rodriguez to Casa de Salud, “a premier health care resource for the foreign-born community of metropolitan St. Louis. This organization is an integral part of the infrastructure that welcomes people of all origins to our region.

They have accomplished their critical mission through the help of more than 200 volunteers, including doctors, nurse practitioners, scribes, interpreters and navigators, who in total provided more than 9,000 volunteer hours to the organization in this past year alone.”

The Gateway Globe Award for Policy was presented to the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center, “an organization who mission first, is to support the research and training of graduate and undergraduate students in ecology, evolution and conservation. And second, to provide community outreach in the area of biodiversity education.  In addition to support for research, this organization also provides training in conservation implementation through undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. More than 260 students have come from 37 countries to take part in these programs. “

The Gateway Globe Award for Logistics and Transportation was awarded to St. Louis Regional Freightway, “an organization which impressed the nominating committee by hosting a the first of its kind, four-day event in St. Louis, which brought together an estimated 2,000 industry leaders and experts from around the nation to collaborate on the forward movement of America’s growing freight industry.  The event also highlighted the region’s enviable location as the epicenter of American logistics.  In addition, this organization has successfully united the public and private sectors in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois. Among its key achievements, they have prioritized infrastructure needs to ensure the region is prepared to handle the projected large increases in freight volume over the next two decades.”

Dr. Pradip Das presented the Das Family Foundation Gateway Globe Award for Entrepreneurship to Jessica Bueler, founder of Welcome Neighbor STL. “Founded in 2016, this organization of more than 1,200 volunteers is a community group supporting immigrants and refugees as they begin a new life in St. Louis. They offer emotional and social support, as well as warm meals, to enrich and nourish immigrants and refugees who’ve found a new home in the St. Louis community.

The Novus Gateway Globe Award for Business, was presented by Gavin Bowman to Mavuno. “Founded in St. Louis, Mavuno is focused on rural development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support its efforts fighting poverty in the war-torn eastern Congo. It approaches development from the inside out, believing that villagers are the foremost experts on their own community. The organization has created a model of collaboration which empowers local leaders to create change from within, coming alongside them as equal partners to support their work. In addition, it has developed a robust plan to scale its model to seven strategic hubs throughout the region to empower local leadership, to support market innovation, and to alleviate poverty in the DRC.”

The Powers Insurance and Risk Management Gateway Globe Award for Sustainability, was presented by President J.D. Powers to Evertrak, “a start-up company that is dedicated to the environmental health of our planet by developing products from recycled plastic and fiberglass. The company’s first product is a composite railroad tie that will be manufactured in St. Louis, MO. This revolutionary product lasts longer and performs better than environmentally hazardous creosote-soaked hardwood railroad ties currently in use.”

St. Louis Regional International Partnership Chairman Brad Reinhardt presented the Global Pioneer Award to Jennifer Labit, Owner of Cotton Babies, Inc. and creator of bumGenius, Flip and Econobum.  “The Global Pioneer award is given annually to a St. Louis-based company that demonstrates an exemplary understanding of, and commitment to, innovation for global expansion. These words describe Jennifer and Cotton Babies to a tee,” he said.

“Cotton Babies began with $100 worth of product in a tiny green milkcrate stored on a shelf in her kitchen. It grew from there to a bookshelf, a closet, a bedroom, her basement and finally, the business exploded into commercial space.Today, Cotton Babies is a privately held market leader in the juvenile product industry and a diverse retailer, offering everything a family needs to take care of their baby. The company’s primary focus is cloth diapers, but they also offer a wealth of other products designed to make parenting easy!”

The St. Louis Regional International Partnership’s International Ambassador Award is typically reserved for someone who is working in the background, not being recognized or receiving honors for the outstanding service they have given to the International community.

Reinhardt present the award to Ik-Whan G. Kwon, Ph.D.Professor Emeritus Supply Chain Management Director Emeritus and Founder of the Supply Chain Excellence, “who has spent more than 50 years at Saint Louis University, the last 20 years leading and now supporting the Center for Supply Chain Management Studies. In addition to creating the Center and forging multiple university and industry partnerships, he has dedicated his research and knowledge within supply chain to help champion his causes. These include proper health care across the globe, disaster relief, and readiness strategies on a global scale, and the eradication of global hunger.”

World Affairs Council President Powers presented the Gateway Globe Humanitarian of the Year Award, which honors those who have favorably impacted global humanitarian needs.

“This year, we are pleased to honor Dr. Sadiq Mohyuddin and the Mohyuddin Family,” Powers said. “Dr. Mohyuddin and his family, have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in international health care, pulmonary medicine and human services across the globe. Tonight, we recognize them for their many contributions to the St. Louis community and their dedication to those in Pakistan. Among the family’s many achievements are:

  • Founding an endowment in 2015 at Saint Anthony’s Alton to promote and enhance pulmonary medicine, and a lab there carries the family name
  • Founding a primary medical care clinic in Lahore, Pakistan
  • Founding the World Affairs Council of St. Louis Mohyuddin Family Speaker Series.

About the World Affairs Council of St. Louis
The World Affairs Council of St. Louis was founded in 1948 as a non-partisan membership organization to connect the citizens of the Gateway region to the world. The council’s mission is to connect St. Louis to the world on current matters important to all people in understanding global culture, policy and business.

About the St. Louis Regional International Partnership
The Partnership is an alliance of approximately 20 internationally focused organizations who support efforts to increase international trade, education, cultural exchanges, and world understanding.

Gateway Globe Awards sponsors for 2018







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CHINA Town Hall covers U.S./China Relations, State of Public Health

From tensions in the South China Sea, to international copyright law to tariffs, relations between the U.S. and China, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice presented her assessment of the past and present state of relations between the two countries.

As part of a national live teleconference, about 60 people attended CHINA Town Hall at the Webster University Downtown St. Louis campus Oct. 9.  The event was presented by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Confucius Institute of Webster University, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis and Webster University.  A second event was hosted locally at UM-St. Louis.

Dr. Rice, who lived for a year in China as a student, said the goal of leaders must be to ensure ongoing dialogue.  She noted the ability to talk through incidents and areas of mutual interest is very important.  “It’s in everyone’s best interest to have a strong and stable China,” she noted.   Discussing current trade disputes, she asserted the current state is not a trade “war” but a set of economic barriers that can hurt both sides.  She also said China’s expressed desire to overtake the U.S. in technologies such as AI and quantum computing was not a constructive attitude.

Speaking as a college professor, she said restrictions on travel by students of the two countries was a mistake.  She believes that attracting the best and brightest students around the world and allowing them to apply their talents freely is the best way to spur innovation and growth.

At the Webster presentation, Dr. Joan Kaufman of the international master’s program in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in China, discussed the current state of public health in  the country, including air quality, smoking prevalence and the impacts of the now-rescinded one-child policy.