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 Conference 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.


Canadian Consulate General of Chicago guests meet with WAC leadership

In a week when a major trade agreement was concluded among North American Trading partners, the Consul General of Canada in Chicago, John Cruickshank and Consul Monica Robson visited St. Louis and met with leadership of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis and corporate leaders.

Mr. Cruickshank was in town as the keynote speakers at the 2018 Critical Infrastructure Conference hosted by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. Also keynoting was Alex Hergott, White House infrastructure advisor.

Canadian Consul General John Cruickshank (center) visits with leadership of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis and corporate leaders Oct. 2 in St. Louis. With Consul General John Cruickshank and Consul Monica Robson are Dr. Seung Kim, Director of the Boeing Institute for International Business, Saint Louis University; Mr. Pierce Powers, President of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis and CEO of Powers Insurance and Risk Management; Mr. Larry Taylor, Vice President at Large, World Affairs Council and President of Aziotics; Ms. Donna Kirtian, Executive Director, Chase Commercial Banking; Ms. Crystal Barker, Associate Relationship Director, PNC Bank (Canadian Citizen); Mr. Mark Sutherland, VP of Market Strategies for the Missouri Partnership; Mr. Gavin Bowman, Senior Director of Global Product Management for Novus International; Mr. Duane J. Simpson, State and Local Governmental Affairs Lead, Bayer U.S. – Crop Science; Mr. Robert Foster, Executive Director, World Affairs Council of St. Louis; Ms. Esther Farler-Westphal, Associate, JPMorgan Chase; Ms. Stella Sheehan, Deputy Director, World Trade Center of St. Louis.


James Knight remembered for legacy of citizenship

James Knight, 3rd from left, is honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis International Humanitarian of the Year 2016 gala event Oct 27, 2016. WAC President Deepak Kant Vyas, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton were also honored.

Tributes to James S. Knight were offered by leadership of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis upon news of Mr. Knight’s passing.  The only person to be awarded WAC-STL’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Knight distinguished himself with his dedication to civic leadership and international outreach.

“The dear friend of many of us, longtime stalwart supporter of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis and the only person to have attained WAC’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Jim was a true gentleman and model citizen,” said WAC-STL Executive Director Robert Foster.

“We send our condolences to his wife, Janet, and to his family.  He leaves a wonderful legacy and will be terribly missed,” Foster said.

In Mr. Knight’s acceptance speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award, he said, “The World Affairs Council was founded in 1948, after World War II, by community leaders concerned that isolationism could return to the U.S. Their concern is still a valid issue today. I am very proud to be part of an organization whose mission is to inform citizens about international affairs, so that we can all navigate a better, more peaceful future.”

He summed some of his core beliefs in a closing statement:
“I love working with non-profits. The ones I have chosen to work with all have loosely related missions to enhance the human condition through education, training, or research. Among them are John Burroughs School; Crossroads College Preparatory School; COCA, which is the most successful example of cultural and financial integration I know of; the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; the Weidenbaum Center at Washington University; the World Affairs Council of St. Louis; Jobs and More of STL in Ferguson. They are all builders of the moral and ethical capital of St. Louis — core values needed more than ever today.   I am so proud and grateful to have had the opportunity to serve these wonderful organizations and the city of St. Louis.  It has been a great joy.”

In 2016, presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jim Knight, Pierce Powers, WAC-STL president, said, “Newell S. Knight Jr, JIM, and his wife Janet have not only opened their window, but their front door to the world in the 65 years that have celebrated together. They are proud of their four children, their children’s spouses and three grandchildren. They are also proud of the many visitors they have adopted through the  St. Louis World Affairs Council sponsorship of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program .

“Amongst Jim’s greatest attributes is the generosity he exudes with his huge, engaging, effervescent and irresistible smile.  He began his business career in 1950 with Ralston Purina as a grocery store contact person. He later oversaw sales and marketing in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Great Britain with Warner- Jenkinson to then retire from the business world in 1984 as Vice President, the 7-Up company, a division of Phillip Morris.

  • He was born in Evanston Illinois in 1927
  • He graduated St. Louis Country Day in 1945
  • He served as a US Navy Seaman 1945 to 1946
  • He then graduated Yale with a BA in 1950

These past 32 years he served,  in accumulation, at last tally on 21 not-for-profit boards, and seven business, university or civic boards.

Mr. Knight’s obituary and details about an Oct. 27 memorial service are here.


Kazakh Leaders Examine Prison Reform and Alternatives to Incarceration During St. Louis Visit

Visitors meet with staff at the St. Louis County Prosecutors office.
Kazakh visitors tour the St. Louis County Justice Center
Criminal justice experts from Kazakhstan visited the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific, MO.

Open World Leadership Center, a legislative branch agency, coordinated the visit of a  delegation of Kazakh Criminal Justice Professionals to St. Louis, MO from September 14-22, 2018. While in St. Louis, Open World delegates were hosted by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.

The delegation of five included Mr. Aleksandr Terenya (Head of Probation Service, Committee of the Criminal-Executive System of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), Mr. Beibit Nurzhan (Judge, Astana City – District Court #2), Mr. Berik Bakulin (Deputy Head of Probation Service Management – Committee of the Criminal-Executive System of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), Mr. Ramazan Khassenov (Judge, North Kazakhstan Regional Court), and Mr. Shynggys Alekeshev (Assistant to the Prosecutor General, Prosecutor General’s Office). The group was accompanied by Ms. Zhanna Toktarova a bicultural facilitator, and Mrs. Irina Bronstein LaRose, a bilingual translator.

Prior to their arrival in St. Louis, delegates completed an orientation in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill. Delegates had policy meetings with several Members of Congress including staff for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri.

In St. Louis, delegates collaborated on best practices for Prison Reform and Alternatives to Incarceration. Delegates met staff of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, and local leaders in the St. Louis, Metro Area. Additional activities include Prison Performing Arts, Lindenwood University, St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office, and St. Louis County Court. The delegation stayed in the homes of local residents, serving as hospitality hosts.

More than 27,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in an Open World exchange program. Open World offers one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs to promote mutually beneficial options for depolarized engagement between future national leaders.

CHINA Town Hall to feature Dr. Condoleezza Rice video conference

Join us Oct. 9 for a national teleconference with Dr. Condoleezza Rice as well as an internationally recognized expert on China’s public health and demographic challenges.  The free event is hosted by the National Committee on U.S. China Relations, Webster University,  University of Missouri Department of International Studies and Programs, the Confucius Institute and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.  Reception immediately prior to the teleconference, followed by Q&A and a local lecturer. 

Former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor

Tuesday, October 9, from 4:30 to 7:00 pm
Webcast begins at 5:00 pm with Q&A after

Where: Two Locations
Webster University, Downtown STL-Arcade Bldg.
812 Olive Street, First Floor,  St. Louis MO 63101-1504

University of Missouri -St. Louis 
Student Government Association Chamber
Millennium Student Center
Parking Permit required, call

Dr. Glassman is the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of the Office of International Studies and Programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is a specialist in Chinese politics and U.S. relations with East Asia. He will deliver a short presentation about China’s changing role in the global system following Dr. Rice’s webcast.

Joan Kaufman is the Director for Academics at Schwarzman Scholars, a newly launched elite international master’s program in global affairs at Tsinghua University in China inspired by the Rhodes Scholars program at Oxford University in the U.K.   An expert on both China and global health policy, she was the Director of Columbia University’s Global Center for East Asia (Beijing) from 2012-2016 and Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Register to attend this FREE event at Webster University in Downtown St. Louis here!

To register to attend at UMSL and get a parking pass, click here or call 314-516-7299.

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.