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.

Join us in Celebrating Gateway Globe Winners Nov. 1!

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis, in collaboration with the St. Louis Regional International Partnership, cordially invites you to recognize individuals and organizations within the St. Louis area as the first recipients of its new Gateway Globe Awards program. The awards, designed to honor those who are connecting the St. Louis region to the world, will be presented annually and cover categories such as global commitment, culture, policy, and business.
Join us on:
November 1, 2018
5:30 pm to 9:00 pm

The Coronado Ballroom
3701 Lindell Blvd. St. Louis MO 63108

Join us for a private VIP-only reception with award finalists, and special recognition, immediately prior to the main event.
General admission tickets to attend the event may also be purchased, for $80. With any ticket, you get complimentary valet parking, access to an exhibit hall of local internationally themed organizations, food stations representing world cuisines, and open bar and dessert/coffee bar.
Catering by the renowned Butler’s Pantry.

To purchase tickets please click here.

Award recipients will be determined by a judging panel, with multiple awardees in each category of global commitment, culture, policy, and business. Finalists for the 2018 Gateway Globe awards will be announced in early October.

Nominations for the 2018 Gateway Globes are currently being accepted and can be made on the event page.

To see the agenda for the evening, and all other information click here

Thank you to our sponsors:


IVLP Home Hospitality Request!

Have a specialty American dish you would love to showcase to those from foreign nations? Want to hear about life in Europe? Do you have a strong interest in media and journalism?

If you said YES to any of those questions you need to host home hospitality! 

Ten media professionals from Europe are traveling to St. Louis to exchange with their American counterparts ways to foster a discerning audience of media consumers. The IVLP is requesting that this group be hosted by an American person, group or family for a home-made American dinner.

Busy schedule? We understand. Here is a choice of dates: Friday, October 19, Saturday, October 20 or Sunday, October 21.

The evening would entail picking up the visitors from The Moonrise Hotel in the the Delmar Loop, taking them to your home, providing dinner and then returning them to the hotel at the end of the evening, filled with joy from a lovely evening full of laughs and conversation.

Please fill out the form below if you are interested in this unique experience of hosting 2-3 of our English speaking visitors.


Armenia –Mr. Daniel IOANNISYAN –Co-Founder and Programs Director, Union of Informed Citizens

Bulgaria- Mr. Lyubomir LYUBOMIROV- Reporter, Bulgarian News Agency

Hungary- Dr. Gabor POLYAK-Chairman, Mertek Media Monitor

Ireland- Ms. Stephanie COMEY- Senior Manager, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

Italy- Mr. Antonio FRASCHILLA –Editor, La Repubblica, Palermo Edition

Latvia- Ms. Renate LAZDINA- Director, Latgale Regional Studio, Latvian National Radio

Poland- Mr. Michal GIERSZ- Reporter, Polsat News TV

Slovenia- Ms. Barbara STRUKELJ- Editor‑in‑Chief, Slovenian Press Agency

United Kingdom- Mr. Adam DONALD- Broadcast Journalist, BBC News

UNESCO- Ms. Saorla MCCABE- Program Specialist, Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, UNESCO


WAC Welcomes its New Fall Interns!

We are proud to announce our two interns that will be with us through the fall semester.

Hannah Voudrié is a senior at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. She is majoring in International Relations and has a minor in Religious Studies. Alongside interning with the World Affairs Council, Hannah participates in Model United Nations at McKendree and is in several honor societies. In Model United Nations she acts as the General Assembly president for the high school conference and also as the Security Council delegate during college conferences in Chicago and St. Louis. Her passion for international relations began during Model UN in high school and grew while attending the National Youth Leadership Conference for National Security in 2015. Hannah will be continuing her education in the fall at Webster University to receive her masters in International Relations.

Angel Moss is a senior at Lindenwood University. She is studying Business Administration with a double emphasis in Human Resource Management and Marketing.  After she receives her bachelor’s degree, she plans to continue her education and pursue a master’s degree in Business Leadership. Currently, she lives in St. Charles County, where she was born and raised. In her free time, She enjoys riding bicycles on the Katy Trail with her son. She also loves to travel. She has traveled within the U.S., Germany, and the Czech Republic. If given the opportunity, she would love to return to Germany so that her son could learn and experience the culture of her family. She is excited and grateful for the opportunity to intern here at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis and looks forward to learning more about global culture and international matters as they relate to the St. Louis area.

Please contact if you want to be a part of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis internship program!

IVLP Alumni in the Spotlight

Nkole Mwamba with his IVLP colleagues while visiting The Gateway Arch in March 2016.

In 2016, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis was pleased to host the director of the Savannah Project in Zambia, Nkole Mwamba, through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Prior to Mwamba’s visit to St. Louis, his work with the Savannah Project was primarily focused on the addressing issues such as civil rights, environmental conservation, and education. With the use of his degree in Project Management and Business Management, Mwamba has collaborated alongside the U.S. Embassy to provide training in the financial literacy and entrepreneurship departments.

While in St. Louis with other IVLP participants, Mwamba met local experts in non-governmental organizations (NGO) and civic activism, including a meeting on fundraising with author Carol Weisman, a professional meeting with UM-St. Louis’ academic coordination and community engagement manager, Daniel Sise, and various cultural activities.

After his visit in St. Louis through the IVLP, Mwamba continued his work with the Savannah Project, developing a new initiative called “Communities of Influence.” This initiative integrates knowledge of many topics including healthcare and environment to solve issues in Zambia.

In an article posted on Global Ties website months after his visit to St. Louis, Mwamba writes, “many communities will benefit and many lives will be touched in Zambia through the Savannah Project’s Communities of Influence just as I have been influenced by the IVLP and my American counterparts.”

Just as Mwamba’s experience changed many lives in Zambia, Mwamba exchanged his expertise with those individuals he met in St. Louis.