Letter from the President
Our Program Committee works hard to keep our members informed about world affairs. And it always has. Take these topics, for example: “Political Unrest in China: History and Future Directions”; “Prospects for Regional Stability in South and Central Asia with a Focus on Afghanistan”; “Costa Rica and the Threat to its Rain Forests”; “Recent Social Changes in Japan.” The presenters were professors from Berkeley and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a retired foreign service officer. Most of you probably missed them. I know that I did. These were among the twice-monthly programs offered by our Council in its first couple of years -- 24 and 23 years ago.
Our Council’s founding fathers and mothers laid a solid foundation for our Council. The membership was under 150, about a third that of our membership in 2013. What stuns one is that the titles are as timely today as then. Some problems just don’t go away.
Other problems do go away. These lecture titles were also offered: “Confronting Soviet Economic Weakness”; “Gorbachev and His Revolution: Its Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe”; and “German Reunification: An Update.” Well, as we all know, the Soviet Union imploded, and the Cold War whispered to a close; Gorbachev moved up to cruise-ship lecturing; and Germany is still unified. The Iron Curtain has rusted away.
What jumps out at me from reading the list of lectures from 1989-90 is that some issues are persistent, and some of those will be around for the rest of our lives. Others, which seem catastrophic and cataclysmic at the time, fade into history. I was also impressed with the high quality of the programs offered back then. That is something else that’s persistent -- our Program Committee’s insistence on excellent speakers and topics.
WAC Program Committee
First row l to r: Joe Oliver, Leanna Breese (chairman), Pat Givens, Perry Ritenour
(vice-chairman). Second Row l to r: Alice Eurotas, Susan Standish, Tom Bond.
Missing: Paul Willihnganz, Bill Anderson, ad hoc member.
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