WACA 2018 National Conference in Washington, DC

For nearly three decades, the 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.

Speakers include (not limited to): Ivo Daalder, James Lindsay, Dr. Nina Ansary and Kurt Volker

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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Cyberthreats primarily international, range from simple to sophisticated

Cybercriminals, just as computer users in general, have a wide range of sophistication and effort in their attacks, noted speakers at the World Affairs Council of St. Louis’s session, “Cyber Security and You” presented May 23.  Speakers Rob Rudloff of RubinBrown’s cybersecurity group, and Matt Flinner of the Better Business Bureau, offered perspective on the nature of the attackers as well as protective strategies.

“We’re finding attacks are mostly coming from four countries, Russia, Romania, Jamaica, and France,” Rudloff said. 

  • Both speakers agreed that threats are constant and their greatest chance of success is when people don’t take appropriate precautions.  Using weak or obvious passwords, opening emails and attachments without some skepticism, failing to check links for unusual URLs (or country codes such as ca for China), and not protecting key information can open people up to cybertheft.Suggestions include:
  • using a password manager, such as LastPass,
  • only using a credit card, not debit card, for transactions,
  • keeping a close eye on your credit score and bank statements
  • avoiding quizzes online
  • don’t follow links from emails but go to the website for the company itself
  • don’t post on social media that you will be out of town, or provide details that can help criminals guess your passwords
  • use different passwords for each online activity

 

Global Health, Local Focus

On Wednesday, April 25th Dr. Matthew Gabel presented on topics in Global Health as the final presenter in the World Affairs Council’s 2018 Great Decisions Series. His presentation focused on the amount of resources put into public health and the way those resources are used by various agents in the processes that perform public health abroad.

Dr. Gabel’s presentation called for reflection on the allotment of funds to global health initiatives. The presentation emphasized the difficulty that organizations who focus on global health initiatives are faced with when trying to evaluate and better their programs. Any policy change has a large number of surrounding confounding variables that make it difficult to understand the results of the enacted policies and practices.

The goal of global public health may be better suited to be carried out by philanthropic efforts, as the current channels of the US government have  a large emphasis on foreign policy, not a focus on long term sustainable health solutions. United States infrastructure abroad is mainly focused on military structures and group, so the results when health initiatives are put forth by the United States’ government is that they can exclude local experts and officials in ways that make the initiatives unsustainable.

Global Public Health’s role in national security was emphasized as an overlooked objective of the United States’ foreign policy. There is a lot of focus on intentional biological violence, but not as much focus on the more realistic culprit of the unassuming transmission of germs through travelers on a daily basis.

Fischer lauded, named Emeritus Director

Robert A. Fischer, director emeritus of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, displays a proclamation from St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, recognizing him for 16 years of service to the St. Louis community and declaring March 2, 2018 as “Robert A. Fischer Day”. At left are WAC-STL President Pierce Powers, Jr. and at right is Deepak Kant Vyas, past WAC-STL president.

At the association’s 27th Annual World Affairs Council of St. Louis observance of the Chinese New Year, retiring Executive Director Robert A. Fischer was recognized for 16 years of service by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis. Honors included appointment as Emeritus Director by the WAC-STL board and recognition of March 2 as Robert A. Fischer Day in St. Louis by Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The mayor’s proclamation reads in part “Mr. Fischer has served his hometown well and has done much to connect St. Louis to the world his entire career.”

In naming Fischer Emeritus Director, the WAC-STL Board recognized Fischer for nurturing “a relationship with the State Department’s Global Ties program, and hosted many guests from distant lands as part of the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). This hospitality projected Saint Louis as one of kindness and willingness to promote economic and social development for other nations.” Other initiatives spearheaded during Fischer’s term included:

  • the WorldQuest program, which includes high school students to learn more about the world outside their borders and advanced lives of academic excellence and personal achievement.
  • the International Humanitarian of the Year award, which enabled Saint Louis to recognize organizations and individuals for their acts of kindness, compassion, and charity in times of disaster and difficulty.
  • the Great Decisions program to promote learning and discussion on international affairs for students, adults, and senior citizens in the Saint Louis region

Fischer became executive director of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis on January 2, 2002. From 1995 through 2001, he served as Vice President, International with Policy Management Systems Corporation (PMSC) located in Columbia, South Carolina; a publicly traded company that was the largest supplier of insurance industry software in the world.

Fischer began his business career in 1961 as a salesperson for IBM. After several highly successful years, he worked in national marketing and held several sales management positions. In 1973, Fischer became IBM’s Industry Director responsible for IBM’s global business within the insurance industry; a position he held until 1979. In addition to IBM, and PMSC, he held executive management positions with Dun & Bradstreet, McDonnell Douglas, Prime Computer, and Structural Dynamics Research Corporation. From 1982 through 1986, Fischer was the Group Executive of McDonnell Douglas Information Systems Group (MDISG); a business with annual revenues in excess of US $1 billion and that employed about 10,000 people.

Fischer is a native of St. Louis and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a B.S. in Business Administration. He also served two years on active duty as a Captain in the United States Army. He is married and has five children and six grandchildren.