The St. Louis Blues and the International Impact of Hockey

After 52 years in the National Hockey League, the St. Louis Blues have finally won the coveted Stanley Cup. The win following a seven-game championship series was an incredible team effort, but who makes up the team is also incredible. There are twenty-six players on the team, and twenty-three of them are international players, hailing from Russia, Sweden, and Canada. It’s hard to separate the team from its international makeup. The Blues would not be the same without Canadian Jordan Binnington in goal or without goal-scoring powerhouse Vladimir Tarasenko of Russia.

The Stanley Cup itself is also of international origin. According to, the history of the cup can be traced back to 1892 in Canada when Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston bought the original cup as a  prize for the best hockey team in the country. Since then, the trophy changed form a few times before 1958 when it took the shape of the cup we see today. At first, it was an award only Canadian teams could compete for until 1916 when the first American hockey team competed for the prize. More and more American teams began competing until 1926 when the cup became solely an NHL trophy.

The Stanley Cup has a long, rich tradition as one of the most coveted sports trophies, and now the Blues are a part of this legacy. The St. Louis Blues are proud of its players, hailing from all across the globe and finding a connection in the shared love of the sport. Whether you were born in St. Louis or across the ocean,  the Blues connect us all together as players and fans. The World Affairs Council is proud to support a team whose goals so closely align with our own mission: to connect St. Louis to the world. While we work to accomplish our mission through speaker series, community engagement, and inviting international leaders to St. Louis, the Blues take a slightly different approach. The Blues connect St. Louis to the world through hockey games across the country, through a fanbase that spans the globe, and by showing all who watch the unwavering determination of their home city.

Check below to see where your favorite Blues player is from!




Mackenzie MacEachern, Pat Maroon, Zach Sanford

Ivan Barbashev, Vladimir Tarasenko




Carl Gunnarsson, Oskar Sundqvist




Jake Allen, Jordan Binnington, Sammy Blais, Robert Bortuzzo, Jay Bouwmeester, Tyler Bozak, Michael Del Zotto, Vince Dunn, Joel Edmundson, Robby Fabbri, Ryan O’Reilly, Colton Parayko, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo (Captain), Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, Robert Thomas, Chris Thorburn


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Wunderbar Together at the Tap Room

On Wednesday, May 22, Ricklef Beutin, visiting fellow in the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed German policy and the German-American relationship at the Schlafly Tap Room. Dinner followed the discussion and reception, allowing guests the opportunity to enjoy a three-course meal and stimulating conversation. This event was organized by The American Council on Germany, St. Louis Eric M. Warburg Chapter and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis. The event is part of the Wunderbar Together campaign which seeks to celebrate and promote Germany and the United States’ long-standing partnership and friendship.


World Affairs Council of St. Louis Welcomes New Intern

While living in Beijing for the summer, Christine had the opportunity to visit several historic sites like the Summer Palace.

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis is happy to welcome our new summer intern, Christine dePenaloza. Christine is a rising senior at Indiana University, Bloomington pursuing double majors in International Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures in the Hamilton-Lugar School of Global and International Studies. She studies diplomacy, security, and governance and is interested in US-China relations. Christine has been taking Mandarin Chinese classes since high school and has already been to China three times in pursuit of language fluency. She most recently spent the summer of 2018 in Beijing studying with an intensive language program. As a St. Louis native, she is excited to work with the council this summer to further its goal of connecting St. Louis to the international community.

Great Decisions Lectures: Understanding China and Cybersecurity

Trade with China and Cybersecurity highlighted a pair of programs in WAC’s 2019 Great Decisions Lecture Series on Thursday, April 4. First, Dr. Nori Katagiri, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Saint Louis University, provided insight on U.S.-China relations today. The topic of “Decoding U.S.-China Trade” was contextualized by Dr. Katagiri through a brief explanation of the trade war, potential hot-spots in the South China Sea region, and the current stance of the United States towards the Chinese government. His detailed descriptions provided attendees with an understanding of the situation today, as well as how the relationship might change in the future.

Later in the afternoon, Kurt Aubuchon, Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity at Maryville University, presented at Venture Café. Discussing the topic of “Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics,” Professor Aubuchon explained some of the biggest threats in cybersecurity today, whether that be Russia, China, or other non-state actors. Next, he provided an overview of U.S. capabilities to combat this emerging threat in the future. Overall, he conveyed the importance of protecting ourselves against foreign actors and understanding that cyber war may be the next battlefield.

Please join UMSL’s International Studies & Programs Department and the World Affairs Council for the next segment of the Great Decisions Lecture Series on April 11, 2019. In order to provide insight and perspective on the topic, “Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics”, Professor Aubuchon will be at the St. Louis Ethical Society.

The Great Decisions Lecture Series is free and open to the public. The series entails eight weekly sessions moderated by local experts on the most critical challenges to United States foreign policy. For the complete list of topics, please click here.

This event runs for eight consecutive Thursdays in March and April from 12 – 1:30 PM. Great Decisions will be held at the Ethical Society in Clayton at 9001 Clayton Rd – St. Louis, MO 63124.

International Visitors Learn More About Food Security in the U.S.

From March 27 to April 1, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis hosted visitors from Bangladesh, Mozambique, Philippines, Thailand, Zambia, and Zimbabwe through our International Visitor Leadership Program.  The theme of the group’s visit was Strategic Approaches to Food Security and Nutrition.  The visitors were able to meet with numerous organizations/professionals in the area who work on providing nutritious and accessible food on a domestic and international level.  Meetings with the following organizations helped our visitors get a better sense of the challenges this country faces in making nutritious food accessible to those who need it most:

  • Operation Food Search
  • Bayer Crop Science
  • St. Louis Food Policy Coalition
  • American Soybean Association
  • National Corn Growers Association

The visitors were also able to enjoy dinner with local families through our Home Hospitality program.  The group left for New Orleans on April 1st.

Russian Journalists Learn About #MeToo from St. Louis Reporters

Following an orientation in Washington D.C., five Russian journalists traveled to St. Louis on March 22-30 to get a glimpse of the city’s journalistic tendencies and women’s rights.  Their activities ranged from subjects such as ethical transparency in journalism, protection of women’s rights, and journalism and the #MeToo Movement. By meeting with local news outlets and officials, the group was able to engage with various parts of the journalistic process.

These international guests visited St. Louis through Open World, an exchange program that aims to provide options for depolarization between world leaders. More than 27,000 leaders have visited from post-Soviet era countries because of this program, leading to further cross-cultural understanding between countries with previously tense relations.

The delegation of five included Ms. Anna Sakharova (freelance journalist, Takie Dela (Such Things)), Ms. Darya Serenko (department head, Peresvetov Lane Gallery), Ms. Elina Ibragimova (Freelance Journalist), Ms. Galina Mosalova (creative producer, Takie Dela (Such Things)), and Ms. Sofya Shimanskaya (self-employed blogger). The group is accompanied by Ms. Polina Nozdrina-Plotnitskaya a bicultural facilitator, and Mrs. Irina Bronstein LaRose, a bilingual translator.

In St. Louis, delegates discussed best practices for transparency in journalism, protection of women’s rights, coverage of the #MeToo Movement, and the HIV crisis in Russia. Delegates planned to meet with staff of Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri, and local leaders in the St. Louis area. Additional activities include KWMU-St. Louis Public Radio, Washington University, St. Louis American newspaper, and other prominent organizations. The delegation stayed in the homes of local WAC members serving as hospitality hosts.



IVLP Visitors: Protecting Against Terror Attacks

Meeting with St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief John. W. Hayden, Jr. (center in uniform) and Director of Public Safety Hon. Jimmie Edwards (at right)

From March 13 to March 19, security professionals from various countries including Canada, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, and the Netherlands visited St. Louis to learn about policy safety measures for public events.

This three-day program, hosted by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, was highlighted by the visitors joining staff in the St. Louis Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center, during the downtown St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  The visit, arranged by WAC-STL, featured the following legal and law enforcement professionals:

  • Jimmy Edwards, Director of St. Louis Public Safety
  • St. Louis Police Chief John W. Hayden, Jr.
  • Security Director for the St. Louis Cardinals, Phil Melcher
  • From the St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board, Nicolle Barton
  • Officer Greg Mueller and Officer Amber Gottschall, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
  • From Saint Louis University Law School, they met Dr. Monica Eppinger, a former Foreign Service Officer
  • Mr. Gary Christman from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Among the noteworthy comments from the presenters, Dr. Eppinger prefaced her presentation with the observation, “the softest target for terrorism in the United States is the Constitution.”

St. Louis Cardinals Director of Security Phil Melcher (top center), meets with the group at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis office.

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.

2019 Great Decisions

Every year the Foreign Policy Association (FPA), the nation’s oldest organization devoted to citizen education in world affairs, authors the Great Decisions Series, a national discussion program focusing on eight major foreign policy issues.

The issues are selected at the beginning of the year based on the most critical global challenges to United States foreign policy. The program aims to present all sides of each issue in order to inform and educate the public.

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis and the University of Missouri – St. Louis series of moderated discussions for the citizens of the St. Louis metropolitan area. We find local experts to host speaking sessions on global issues critical to the United States.

The 2019 Series will start on Thursday, March 7th at 12-1:30 PM at the Ethical Society in Clayton (9001 Clayton Rd) and continue for the next seven consecutive Thursdays. Please see the flyer below for each week’s topic and speakers.

W. Stuart Symington, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, to Deliver Keynote Address at Washington University

W. Stuart Symington, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, will deliver a keynote address at Washington University in St. Louis on Oct. 1, 2018.

His address, titled, “A Transatlantic Partnership of Global Importance,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Knight Hall’s Emerson Auditorium on the Danforth Campus; a reception will follow. The event is free and open to Washington University and St. Louis community, but RSVPs are encouraged to ensure seat availability. Please use the link for registration.

Ambassador Symington is a St. Louis native and long-time career United States diplomat in Africa. He previously served as the United States Ambassador to Rwanda and Djibouti. He was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Africa and African Security affairs.

“We are delighted that Ambassador Symington will visit our campus and provide important insights into America’s relationship with Africa, especially as it relates to the future,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said.

“We are connected to Africa by profound ties of family and friendship, principle and interest,” Symington said. “Americans, including many at Washington University, are working to save lives from disease, hunger, and violence. Today, from one end of Africa to the other, we are doing something more. We are investing resources and expertise to create profitable employment in a concerted effort to make true hope rise as fast as expectations and to meet growing demand with concrete opportunity.

“This work matters,” Symington continued. “What happens in Africa will affect profoundly the prospect for global peace, freedom, and prosperity.”

The Africa Initiative organized Symington’s visit, which will include meeting with students and faculty involved in studying, teaching, and research pertaining to Africa. The Africa Initiative is charged with strengthening Washington University’s efforts in Africa, by harnessing and expanding faculty and student engagements on the continent.

Benjamin Ola Akande, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Director of the Africa Initiative noted that “Ambassador Symington’s visit validates our commitment to continue to have a meaningful impact on Africa and Africa to impact us.”

Learn more about Washington University’s Africa Initiative here.