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The World Affairs Council of Oregon

The World Affairs Council of Oregon offers over 40 public programs each year with experts and world leaders; hosts over 500 emerging leaders and entrepreneurs from around the globe and provides assistance to K-12 schools in their important work of teaching students to become citizens of the world. The World Affairs Council is a private, non- partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Mission Statement

The mission of the World Affairs Council of Oregon is to broaden public awareness and understanding of international affairs and to engage Oregonians with the world. The Council's staff and programs work to serve as a community resource on international affairs, enhance international education in the schools, and sponsor international professional visitors.

National Affiliation

The World Affairs Council of Oregon is a proud member of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The World Affairs Councils of America is the national office of the network of 90 member organizations across the country, all of which are non-profit, non-partisan groups working to engage and educate Americans in international affairs and foreign policy. In order to become members of the national association, each council must maintain an open membership policy in addition to being a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and maintaining a non-partisan agenda.

History of the World Affairs Council of Oregon

In the wake of America’s growing isolationism after World War II, a group of Reed College professors and friends organized an informal group in 1947 to encourage discussion of international issues. The group flourished under the leadership of Dr. Frank Munk and was incorporated as the World Affairs Council of Oregon in 1950.

During the 1950s, the Council emerged as Oregon’s leading international affairs organization. It was the pilot site for the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions program, a community-based discussion series that still thrives today in Oregon and in thousands of communities throughout the United States. At various points in its history, the Council has produced several long-running television series on international issues, operated a 24-hour a day volunteer interpreter service for over 60 languages, created and managed city-wide international festivals, hosted presidents and royalty, organized foreign policy conferences and economic summits, and served as a community resource for all manner of international interests.

For decades, the Council has led the state in providing educational programs, public discussion, study opportunities, and professional training programs designed to enhance international awareness. To celebrate the Council’s 50th Anniversary, the World Affairs Council of Oregon launched the International Speaker Series in the year 2000. The International Speaker Series has become renowned as the nation’s premier speaker series focused on international discussion and education.