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




Friday, September 26, 2014, THE PARADOX OF DISCLOSURE:  SNOWDEN LEAKS AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE, Mark Randol, Retired Senior Specialist, Domestic Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Congressional Research Service; and Director of Counterterrorism Policy at the Department of Homeland Security.


Noon, Quail Inn, Oakmont

7035 Oakmont Drive, Santa Rosa


Members: $26; Non-members: $31

Reservations due 9/19


Last year’s blockbuster leaks by Edward Snowden revealed the extent of electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA); specifically, NSA collected phone and Internet communications of Americans, stockpiled a huge database of telephone “metadata,” inserted “back doors” into widely-used online encryption, and tapped phones of friendly foreign leaders. 


These activities were undertaken just as they are supposed to be, in our representative democracy; they were authorized and re-authorized by law, overseen by Congress, and supervised by the judiciary, albeit a special court that operates in secret. Snowden’s leaks were illegal, but without them, how would Americans have learned about intelligence activities of significant concern? 


Mark Randol addresses this paradox of disclosure, discussing the tension between security and liberty arising from our demand that government protect us from terrorism and other threats, but also protect our privacy and uphold civil liberties while remaining transparent. Is it possible to achieve these objectives in the intelligence realm where secrets are essential?


Mr. Randol is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, with a Masters Degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. 





Thursday, October 2, 2014, INSIDER’S VIEW: AFGHANISTAN UPDATE, Theodore Eliot, former Ambassador to Afghanistan


6:30 p.m., Spring Lake Village Auditorium (Note early start time!)

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa


WAC and SLV members: no cost; Visitors: $5



Ted Eliot will share his observations following the recent runoff presidential election in Afghanistan. Ted has met both of the candidates and will have first-hand thoughts about the winner. He will share with us how political and economic issues will possibly be handled in the future, including the U.S. exit strategy. 


Mr. Eliot is a retired Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department, having served in Sri Lanka, Germany, the Soviet Union, and Iran; from 1973-1978 he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. In 1978 Ted retired from the Foreign Service after 30 years to become Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He has served in a number of capacities at the Asia Foundation.


Ted Eliot received his B.A. and M.P.A. degrees from Harvard University. He is an esteemed member of the World Affairs Council of Sonoma County and a resident of Sonoma.



Thursday, October 9, 2014, BEHIND THE ARAB SPRING: Causes, Consequences, and the Future of the Middle East, Glenn Robinson, Associate Professor, Department of Defense Analysis, Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences, Naval Postgraduate School

7:30 p.m. Ingram Hall

First Presbyterian Church

1550 Pacific Ave., Santa Rosa

Members, FPC & SLV Guests: Free; Visitors: $5


Beginning with the self-immolation of a Tunisian street peddler in December 2010, the Arab world has been roiled in turmoil, sometimes violent, sometimes peaceful. Dr. Robinson will explore the social and political changes in the Arab world that led to the Arab Spring and explain why we should expect many more years of upheaval and change in the Middle East.


Dr. Robinson has a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley where he continues as a Research Associate at its Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His past experiences include being Associate Editor for the Middle Eastern Studies Association Bulletin and Research Fellow, Truman Institute of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Jordan in Amman. He has also been with USAID Middle East projects and is a Senior Political Scientist with the Rand Corporation, developing projects in the Middle East. Dr. Robinson also speaks Farsi.



Friday, October 24, 2014, THE RIDDLE OF MERKEL’S  GERMANY, Donald Abenheim, Associate Professor of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School


Noon, Hilton Hotel, Nagasawa Ballroom

3555 Round Barn Blvd., Santa Rosa


Members: $26; Non-members: $31

Reservations deadline 10/17



Germany’s power has reemerged amid the world’s financial crisis and the war in Ukraine as a riddle of the international system. No figure better personifies this riddle than recently reelected Angela Merkel. What are the sources of German strength in state, society, culture, and politics? How does Germany fit into the international system of states, and how will German-American relations unfold in a third Merkel chancellorship? Professor Abenheim will discuss these issues and more in historical and contemporary perspective.


Donald Abenheim has a Ph.D. in German history from Stanford University, as well as 40 years of government service focused on European security. He is an expert in past and present Central European and German affairs, especially in security and defense. He has authored several works on the German Armed Forces and is a member of the Clausewitz Society, the association of German general staff officers. From 1987 until 2012 he was a visiting scholar and research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His scholarly work is published in Germany, Austria, and the United States.




Thursday, November 13, 2014, Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: A Personal Account, Abigail Kokutetsa Bridgman, Attorney at Law


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

5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa


A joint meeting with United Nations Assoc.,

Sonoma County Chapter.


Members, UNA & SLV free: Visitors $5


Recognizing serious violations of humanitarian law in Rwanda, the Security Council, under the United Nations Charter, created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in November 1994. This tribunal prosecutes those responsible for genocide and other serious violations committed in Rwanda in 1994 -- the first time high-ranking individuals have been called to account before an international court of law for massive violations of human rights in Africa. International criminal justice has come a long way, but much still has to be done.


Ms. Bridgman spent four months in Tanzania doing legal research at the Tribunal for Rwanda, which is now winding down. She will share her experience working there, the milestones and legacy of the tribunal, and the continuous challenges it faces.


Abigail Bridgman completed law school in Uganda and received her Master of Laws Degree in International Crime and Justice in Italy. She now practices law in Santa Rosa.



Friday, November 21, 2014, WATER: THE VANISHING NECESSITY,  Sylvia Lee, Director of the Water Program, Skoll Global Threat Fund


Noon, Flamingo Hotel

2777 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa


Members: $26; Non-members: $31  

Reservations deadline 11/14


As populations increase and economies get wealthier, water needs increase. Experts estimate a 40 percent gap between global water supply and demand by 2030. Climate change is already profoundly impacting water availability and distribution.


Over 260 river basins -- home to over 40 percent of world population -- are shared by two or more countries. If water resources are poorly managed, food and energy production declines. Combined with poverty, social tensions, and weak leadership and institutions, water challenges produce social disruptions, causing state instability and regional tension. Examples are already evident between Ethiopia and Egypt, India and Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and China and its Mekong neighbors. In each case, an upstream country plans to build hydropower and irrigation structures, negatively impacting the downstream country.


Prior to 15 years experience in the water sector, Sylvia Lee worked at the World Bank in Nepal, focusing on trans-boundary water issues and climate change adaptation and resilience building. She led the Water Initiative at the World Economic Forum. Sylvia is an engineering graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and McGill University.




Thursday, December 4, 2014, THE NEW SULTAN: Erdogan and the Future of Turkish Politics, Ryan Gingeras, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California


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

5555 Montgomery Drive


Members & SLV: free; Visitors: $5



Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected president of Turkey, outmaneuvering his two opponents. Dr. Gingeras will discuss Erdogan and the critical elements of Turkey's past and important prospects for the country's future in the greater Middle East.


Ryan Gingeras is the author of several books on the history of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. His latest book is entitled Heroin, Organized Crime and the Making of Modern Turkey, published by Oxford University Press in 2014. He has published numerous articles on a wide variety of topics related to violence, organized crime, and politics in the Middle East, the Caucasus, and the Balkans. He received his doctorate in history from the University of Toronto and is conversant in German, Turkish, Albanian, Macedonian, and Spanish. While a native of New York City, he has called California his home for most his life.




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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