“World Affairs Councils are great organizations. They help keep people throughout our country alive to important developments in world affairs and underscore that, in the country, we stay engaged and we are part of the world.” –  George Schultz

The World Affairs Council of Charlotte (WACC) prides itself on providing leadership for global thinking by hosting world renowned experts on current events and global issues impacting the world today. We try to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating issues that we believe will be pertinent and topical to the greater Charlotte community. If you’ve attended a WACC program, you are aware that our mission is ultimately to build a better understanding of world affairs while encouraging in-depth dialogue on pressing issues of the day.  

In March last year, we hosted General David H. Petraeus, who spoke to a crowd of 600 Charlotte area residents about U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since then, he assumed command of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) on July 4, 2010 after serving for over 20 months as Commander, United States Central Command. In recent news announcements, the Obama administration has nominated General Petraeus as the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), replacing Leon Panetta (who is expected to replace Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense).

More recently, the Council hosted Ryan Crocker, long time U.S. diplomat and former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan, Syria and Lebanon, as part of our Middle East Series in March 2011. Crocker spoke in length about key issues regarding the Middle East revolution and internal conflicts in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and Libya. His insights into the region were remarkable and we appreciated his first-hand knowledge into that tumultuous part of the world. As many of you know, Crocker is at the top of the list to become the new U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan (*replacing Ambassador Karl Eikenberry) under the current U.S. administration.

For those of you who attended last week’s program with Michael Scheuer, author of “Osama Bin Laden” and former chief of the bin Laden tracking unit (CIA 1996-1999), you will realize the timeliness of the program hosted by the WACC. President Obama’s announcement about Osama bin Laden’s death and the U.S. military operation that preceded the event on Sunday has become major news all around the world. Scheuer described the American foreign policy as it pertained to the Middle East and the impact Osama Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network has on U.S. national security.

Past speakers who are making waves around the world include former French Ambassador to the United States and current diplomatic adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy, Jean-David Levitte, who has been named future head of the National Security Council (France) and Liam Fox who was appointed Secretary of Defense for the United Kingdom in May last year.

We are keeping the Charlotte community informed,educated and engaged by building on our hallmark of exceptional and timely programming.  Our distinguished speakers and experts are making strides in the global community on multiple fronts on a multitude of complex and current issues.

If you haven’t participated in a World Affairs Council of Charlotte program, we urge you to consider attending our upcoming program on May 25th with Dr. Parag Khanna, author of “How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance” and rest assured, you will walk-away with thoughtful insights on world affairs and prepared to ask the right questions about issues influencing our communities, cities and country.