Our Mission

The World Affairs Council-Washington DC is a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to facilitating collaboration throughout the global education and international affairs community by developing informed geo-political insights and critical thinking with a global perspective; and providing programs to educate, enlighten and empower students, educators, professionals, the American public and international community.

What We Do

The World Affairs Council – Washington, DC, ‘A Leading Forum for Global Education and International Affairs,’ is an institution ‘Where Learning Happens’.

Since 1980, WAC–DC has been a leading provider of top-level and thought-provoking presentations, debates, and discussions of global education and international affairs in the Washington metro area. The Council’s programs include public, diplomatic, political, and business events, along with town hall meetings, professional development seminars, and international communications programs.

The Council provides a neutral forum for speeches by presidents, prime ministers, cabinet officials, economists, diplomats, scholars, academics, corporate leaders, authors, researchers, pundits, journalists, and Nobel laureates. These worldwide speakers join Council members, VIP guests, online audiences and the public for in-depth discussions of major foreign policy and education issues that have global impact.

The Council's Ambassador, Embassy, Author, and Distinguished Speaker Series; Foreign Policy Fora; and Young Professional and News Maker programs engage over 6,000 members and guests each year. Since 2000, more than 125 foreign ambassadors, 50 US ambassadors, 23 US cabinet secretaries, and two US presidents have shared their perspectives on international affairs with our audiences. In addition, since launching the Council’s online programs in 2007, more than 350,000 people have viewed WAC–DC events via the internet, video streaming, podcasts, and other new media distribution channels, in addition to C-SPAN and FORA.tv coverage.

To prepare young people to compete in the 21st century market, the Council helps fill the global education and international affairs knowledge gap in the curricula currently offered by our country’s school systems. The Council’s teacher development workshops, in-depth issue seminars, youth leadership forums, Academic World Quest competitions, internships, and international travel-study tours foster a balanced view of global issues. These programs facilitate worldwide knowledge transfer and analytical insights for American and international educators and their students.

Within the World Affairs Councils of America’s 98-council nationwide network, WAC–DC is the recognized leader in professional development programs for educators. To date, over 1,100 American and international high school educators have participated in 28 annual Institutes on International Affairs, resulting in a direct impact on more than 500,000 students in the US and worldwide.

Since 2001, over 6,600 students from the national capital area have benefited from the council’s Youth Leadership Fora. Over the past ten years, the Council’s Young Ambassador Scholarship program has created international travel-study experiences for nearly 70 deserving area high school students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.  WAC–DC is aware of the need to bring this type of learning experience to the area school systems, and is actively engaged with an outreach program involving world history, geography, civics, social studies, and international affairs teachers and their students to help address this global education gap.

The Council is governed by a board composed of international corporate executives, former high-ranking US government officials, senior development bank and NGO personnel, and academics. The board works with an experienced professional staff, interns, and dedicated volunteers to ensure that the Council’s high-impact, targeted, and multi-disciplinary services are conducted according to international best practices and delivered with cost efficiency.  While the global education and international affairs results of the Council’s programs are extensive, WAC–DC is expanding its American and international partnerships and services through a proactive forward strategy for the 21st century.