We proudly present our featured speakers with fine Sonoma County wines.




Thursday, March 26, 2015, DEVIANT GLOBALIZATION, Nils Gilman, Associate Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley, California


7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa

Members & SLV free: Visitors $5


Nils Gilman is a Berkeley-trained historian, futurist, and management consultant. Currently serving as the Associate Chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, Nils is the author of numerous books and articles, including Mandarins of the Future and Deviant Globalization.


The traditional nation-state, committed to producing and providing equitable access to public goods, is under a twin assault -- from below by criminals and from above by plutocrats. Unlike traditional revolutionary organizations that sought to take over the state in order to enact their own social visions, this new breed of insurgents seeks autonomy and distance from the state, even as they continue to rely parasitically on the legacy of the welfare state. This talk discusses the historical rise of the twin insurgency and how it is likely to play itself out in a variety of local contexts.




Friday, April 10, 2015, VIETNAM: NEW ALLY OR OLD ENEMY, Perry Ritenour, Ph.D., Adjunct College Professor and Lecturer on Foreign Affairs

Noon, Hilton Hotel, Nagasawa Ballroom

3555 Round Barn Blvd., Santa Rosa

Members: $27; Non-members: $32

Reservations deadline 4/3


Vietnam: the name evokes a multitude of emotions and memories for older Americans who remember this war, America’s longest. Vietnam is now a member of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and today, Vietnam and the U.S. are developing trade and political ties. This talk will tell the story of the new Vietnam, rising from the ashes of war into a modern nation. Old enemy or new ally?  


Perry Ritenour is a retired bank executive and an adjunct college professor of Asian Studies. He received his B.A. in History from Virginia Military Institute and his Ph.D. in Chinese History from Georgetown University. He and his wife are WACSC members and live in Sebastopol.




Thursday, April 16, 2015, YOUR FATWA DOES NOT APPLY HERE, Karima Bennoune, Professor of International Law at University of California, Davis, School of Law; author


7:30 p.m., Ingram Hall

First Presbyterian Church

1550 Pacific Avenue


Members, FPC & SLV free: Visitors $5


Professor Bennoune will speak about her book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, and the ongoing work of people of Muslim heritage around the world to challenge fundamentalism and terror in the ISIS era. Her book details local struggles against extremism and is based on 300 interviews with people of Muslim heritage from 30 countries, Afghanistan to Mali.


A former legal advisor for Amnesty International, Professor Bennoune currently sits on the board of the network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML). She has appeared on NPR's “All Things Considered” and CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” She has made frequent appearances on MSNBC including “All In With Chris Hayes” after the Paris attacks. Professor Bennoune has written for Reuters, the San Francisco Chronicle, the website of Al Jazeera English, The Guardian “Comment is Free,” the website “Open Democracy,” and the New York Times.


Professor Bennoune’s book won the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize; for more information, please visit www.karimabennoune.com



Thursday, April 23, 2015, SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN HAVE LED TO MORE HARM THAN GOOD: YES OR NO? Sonoma Academy Debate Team: Team Captain Sierra Maciorowski; Logan Noel; Team Captain Squid Tamar-Mattis; and Karishma Bottari


7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa


Members, SLV & Students free, Visitors $5


The nationally-ranked Sonoma Academy Debate Team comes to WACSC with four student debaters under Coach Brandon Spars to debate the question of sanctions against Iran. These multitalented and diverse students are part of a debate team that has been in existence for seven years and is now ranked third nationally, with 25 members having achieved numerous championships locally and nationally.


Our Council has long been interested in getting young people involved in its programs. What better way than to have an outstanding young local debate team present a program that is timely, relevant, and controversial. After hearing the pros and cons of this issue, we may find our assumptions about the subject and about young people today challenged. This promises to be an unusual and provocative program.



Friday, May 8, 2015, WILL THE “NUCLEAR SPRING” EVER ARRIVE? David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle reporter; journalist.


Noon, La Gare Restaurant

208 Wilson Street, Santa Rosa


Members: $23   Nonmembers: $28


Reservations deadline 5/1


Just a few years ago, nuclear power appeared poised for a comeback. Unlike power plants fueled by coal or natural gas, nuclear plants generate electricity without pumping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And unlike wind farms and solar facilities, nuclear plants can deliver electricity steadily and predictably, hour after hour, day and night. But old nuclear plants have closed in California, Vermont, and Wisconsin, while efforts to build new ones have faced delays and cost overruns. Signs that the nuclear renaissance wasn’t happening in the United States were clear even before the 2011 Fukushima disaster.


What happened to the promised rebirth? What would the end of nuclear power mean for policy makers concerned about global warming? Can California meet its climate-change goals without nuclear power?


David Baker covers energy issues for the San Francisco Chronicle, which he joined in 2000 after reporting for the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News. He will bring us up to date on California’s energy issues – nuclear plants, greenhouse gas emissions, the expansion of renewable power, and fracking. He graduated from Amherst College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.




Thursday, May 21, 2015, WHAT IS HAPPENING TO NEWS – AND WHY, Jack Fuller, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; author; former editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and president of the Tribune Publishing Company


7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa


Members and SLV free; Visitors $5


Across America, newspapers that have defined their cities for over a century are failing, their circulation plummeting even as opinion-soaked Web outlets thrive. Meanwhile, nightly news programs shock viewers with stories of terrorism, horrific crime, and celebrity scandal, while the smug sarcasm of shouting pundits dominates cable television.


In the face of these problems, veteran editor and newspaperman Jack Fuller explores how journalism got this way – and what has caused the change. He locates the surprising sources of change in the collision between a revolutionary new information age and a human brain that is still wired for the threats faced by our prehistoric ancestors. Fuller explains why the information overload of contemporary life makes us dramatically more receptive to sensational news, both local and international, while rendering the staid, objective voice of standard journalism ineffective. He then tackles the most difficult question – what can be done about this?



Friday, June 12, 2015, NEW LIGHT ON WORLD WAR II AND THE ORIGINS OF THE COLD WAR, Dr. Christopher D. O’Sullivan, Professor, University of San Francisco


Noon, Fountaingrove Inn, Camelot Room

101 Fountaingrove Parkway, Santa Rosa


Members: $30; Non-members: $35


Reservations deadline 6/5


Exploring international relations during World War II, as well as the origins of the Cold War, Dr. O’Sullivan has recently published a new diplomatic biography of FDR’s special advisor, Harry Hopkins: FDR’s Envoy to Churchill and Stalin. Many of us are familiar with Hopkins’ name and his era, but few understand how essential he was to the strategy of maintaining the delicate “Big Three” alliance of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin.


Both Churchill and Stalin acknowledged that much of what the Allies achieved during the war would never have been possible without Hopkins, whom the press described as FDR’s most trusted advisor. Analyzing Hopkins’ role in wartime diplomacy and his interactions with the Allies’ leaders, Dr. O’Sullivan presents fresh insights into American foreign policy, the diplomacy of World War II, and the origins of the Cold War. He also offers observations as to why America’s role in world affairs since World War II has been largely marked by poor planning, misperceptions, and enormous miscalculations.


Dr. O’Sullivan is the recipient of the Distinguished Lecturer Award at the University of San Francisco. He received his Ph.D. from the University of London and his B.A. from UC Berkeley. The author of five books on world affairs, he lives in Healdsburg with his wife Maeve. They are WACSC members.




Thursday, June 18, 2015, HAVING FAITH IN DEMOCRACY: Politics, Islam, and Identity in Contemporary Indonesia, Darren Zook, Ph.D., Institute for South Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley


7:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa


Members & SLV free: Visitors $5



Indonesia’s democratic transformation after 1998 has been one of the more surprising success stories in recent years. Few observers had expectations that Indonesia, a majority Muslim country of 250 million people, would be able to make democracy work, given the lack of experience with democratic politics and the unbelievably complex layers of Indonesian society. Yet, against all odds, Indonesia has emerged as one of the few countries in the region to keep democracy moving in a stable and productive direction. This is especially evident in the dramatic presidential elections of July 2014, which brought Joko Widodo to power on a platform of hope and reform for the next chapter of Indonesia’s ongoing political transition. Problems and challenges remain, of course, but Indonesia seems determined to stay the course of democratization.

Professor Zook teaches political science and international and area studies at UC Berkeley. His interests include international law and human rights, cybersecurity, and comparative politics of the Asia-Pacific region. He spent the summer of 2014 in Indonesia, monitoring the election.




For reservations, make checks payable to WACSC and send to World Affairs Council, PO Box 1433, Santa Rosa, CA 95402.

We have a great corporate sponsor, Spring Lake Village, please support them at every opportunity.

Reservation and Cancellation Policies.

Luncheon and Annual Dinner reservations have become increasingly popular and are filling our venue capacities more rapidly than ever. While this is greatly appreciated by the WACSC Management Board, it requires the implementation of some practical controls, as follows:

Reservations must be cut off one week before the date of the event. If your reservation is received after the published deadline it will be returned and your name will be placed on a waiting list.

Cancellations will be honored if you call us at 707-573-6014, at least 48 hours before the event. This same number can be used to ask questions about WACSC programs and policies. You will receive a refund in the mail. If you need to cancel less than 48 hours before the event we cannot issue a refund because your meal will be charged to the Council. Cancellations made before the 48 hour deadline may allow members on a waiting list to attend.

No Doggie Bag policy applies to two of our meal venues: Fountaingrove Inn and the Hilton Hotel. This is their food safety rule; not ours.

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