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.


Great Decisions: South Africa’s Fragile Democracy

The seventh event for this 8 part series sponsored by the University of Missouri at St. Louis at the Ethical Society is on Thursday, April 19th.  The topic is: South Africa’s Fragile Democracy

The schedule for this event is:

12:00 Noon to 12:15 PM: Introduction of moderator and showing of portions of the FPA Video for the topic being discussed.
12:15 PM to 12:45 PM: Remarks by the moderator
12:45 PM to 1:15 PM: Q&A followed by a brief summation

Light refreshments, consisting of coffee and cookies, will be available to all participants in the meeting room at no charge.

Parking is free and convenient, located in the rear of the building on the north side. The parking lot is accessible from Clayton Road.

Meet the Interns

WAC-STL is happy to introduce you to the five interns who are working here this spring semester!

Adelaide Kelly

Adelaide Kelly is a junior at Saint Louis University. She is studying Anthropology, Spanish, and International Studies. Adelaide is from the Greater Chicagoland area. Before starting with the World Affairs Council, her international experience included studying abroad at Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile and serving as an International Ambassador for new international students at SLU. During her time at the World Affairs Council she hopes to learn more about working with professional international visitors, St. Louis’s own international community, and broaden her understanding about visitors to St. Louis.

Irene Garza Lazo

Irene Garza Lazo is a senior at Saint Louis University. She is studying International Studies and Spanish and has an Associate of Arts in Political Science. Irene is from Cadereyta, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. She is very involved at Saint Louis University and is apart of Kappa Alpha Theta, Alpha Phi Omega, Spanish National Honor Society, and Children’s Liturgy of the Word. During her time at the World Affairs Council she hopes to learn more about St. Louis’s international community and gain valuable experience that will prepare her for the work force post-graduation.

Katherine Volandt

Katherine studies International Relations at the University of Missouri—St Louis in the Pierre Laclede Honors College. In addition to working at the World Affairs Council, she looks forward to representing UMSL as a civilian delegate at the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference in April. Prior to her current course of study, Katherine taught Jiu Jitsu for five years in North Carolina and Georgia. She found herself drawn to foreign policy during that time and is now excited to jump into a career in international affairs.


Helen Burgess

Helen is a senior at Saint Louis University. She is majoring in International Studies and Economics with a Minor in French. Helen grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.  Prior to her time at the World Affairs Council, Helen studied abroad in Lyon, France at the Université Catholique de Lyon. Her passion for international affairs began in high school when she was involved in the global scholars program at Hathaway Brown School. During her time at the World Affairs Council she hopes to gain experience working with international affairs in a professional environment, learn about the international community in Saint Louis, and learn more about the international visitors who come to Saint Louis.

Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson is a freshman studying Criminology and Criminal Justice at Saint Louis University. In addition to interning at World Affairs Council, Emily volunteers with DOORWAYS Interfaith Residence and is a member of SLU’s rock climbing team. When she was younger, Emily lived in London, England, and she had the opportunity to travel internationally. This inspired in Emily a love for other cultures and an attraction to languages. Emily is interested in international crime, and she is consistently researching foreign affairs. Emily would love to be able to have a career which allows her to travel and to live overseas, and she is grateful for the opportunity World Affairs Council has given her to expand her global perspective.

If you are interested in becoming an intern at WAC-STL, click here!