SAVE THE DATE: 2014 Annual Meeting on October 8 to Feature Okey Ndibe on Nigeria & Boko Haram

Journalist & author Okey Ndibe

Journalist & author Okey Ndibe

Journalist and author Okey Ndibe will speak at our Annual Meeting and Dinner on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.  The title of his talk will be Does Nigeria Have a Fighting Chance Against Boko Haram? The event will take place at the Springfield Sheraton and will begin with a cash bar reception at 6:00 p.m. with dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m.  The cost is $45 per person.  Call 413-733-0110 to register or click here.

Dr. Ndibe is a novelist, political columnist, and essayist.  After a career as a magazine editor in Nigeria, he moved to the US in 1988 to be the founding editor of African Commentary, an award-winning magazine published by the Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe. He has published essays in a number of North American, British and Nigerian magazines and writes a weekly column for The Guardian, Nigeria’s most respected daily newspaper.  He holds both an MFA in writing and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.   Ndibe taught at several colleges, including Connecticut College, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Trinity College (Hartford), and currently Brown University.  He  is a regular columnist for NEXT and Sahara Reporters and also contributes to many other publications, including The Hartford Courant, The Fabian Society Journal, Black Issues Book Review, and BBC Online.

Foreign Gods Inc.

“We clearly have a fresh talent at work here. It is quite a while since I sensed creative promise on this level.” —Wole Soyinka, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

His first novel  Arrows of Rain, will be reissued in the fall and his second novel, Foreign Gods, Incorporated—described by critics as “razor-sharp” and “a morality tale for our time”—was published by SOHO Press in 2014.  (We are hoping both books will be available for purchase at the event.)

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Adventures in International Dining: Ibiza

ibiza-logo-homeThe World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts will be heading off to Spain for our next Adventures in International Dining at Ibiza Tapas Restaurant and Wine Bar, 7 Strong Avenue in Northampton, on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 from 6:00-8:30 p.m.  The cost is $32.00 per person including tax and gratuity.

From 6:00 to 6:45 we will have a social hour with cash bar.  (Be sure to try out the great selection of Spanish wines and there is Spanish beer on tap.)

Hot and cold tapas, entrees and dessert will be served family style and we will hear comments from Ibiza owner Juan Suarez

Space is limited so please reserve your spot quickly!  R.S.V.P. with your payment by May 15th.  You can pay online with a credit card here.

Parking: parking in lot by old Union Station, back lot, free after 6 p.m. Walk past old Union Station, down the stairs and you will be on Strong Avenue, across from Eastside Grille.  Ibiza is just down the street from Eastside Grille.

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Instant Issues to Feature Haroon Ullah

Haroon K. Ullah is a international scholar, US diplomat, and field researcher specializing in South Asia and the Middle East.

Haroon K. Ullah is an international scholar, US diplomat, and field researcher specializing in South Asia and the Middle East.

On Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at noon, the World Affairs Council is pleased to join with Critical Connections to present Haroon K. Ullah, an international scholar, US diplomat, and field researcher specializing in South Asia and the Middle East, at a brown bag Instant Issues event in the third floor Community Room at One Financial Plaza, 1350 Main Street in downtown Springfield, MA.

Critical Connections seeks to promote greater understanding of the Muslim world and the diaspora while strengthening Muslim communities from within.

Critical Connections seeks to promote greater understanding of the Muslim world and the diaspora while strengthening Muslim communities from within.

The cost for members is $5 without a lunch and $15 with a lunch provided.  Nonmembers cost is $10 without a lunch and $20 with a lunch provided.  To reserve a sandwich–tuna, turkey or vegetarian–reply by email or call the World Affairs Council office at 413-733-0110.  You can register on line with a credit card here.

RSVP deadline for this event is Friday, May 23, 2014.

Haroon K. Ullah currently serves on Secretary John Kerry’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. State Department, where he focuses on public diplomacy and countering violent extremism.  He grew up in a farming community in Washington State and was trained at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he served as a senior Belfer fellow and completed his MPA.  He has a PhD from the University of Michigan and was a William J. Fulbright Fellow, a Harvard University Presidential Scholar, a National Security Education Program Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Public Service Fellow.  Haroon is author of Vying for Allah’s Vote (Georgetown University Press, 2013) and Bargain from The Bazaar (Public Affairs Books, 2014).

Copies of The Bargain from the Bazaar will be available for purchase at the event, courtesy of The Odyssey Bookshop.

The Instant Issues series is generously sponsored by Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Charista Construction, Prosperity Candle, and A. L. Cignoli Company.  Our media sponsor is BusinessWest.

 

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Second Annual International Wine and Cheese Event

wine_and_cheese10348

 

The World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts will present Our Second International Wine and Cheese Tasting on Sunday, April 6, 2014 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Longtime World Affairs Council member Gary Lefort will host this event at his home:130 East Longmeadow Road, Hampden, MA 01036.  (Directions will be provided upon registration)

The program will feature little known wines from Greece, Hungary and Israel plus a dessert wine from Slovenia. We will “blind taste”, one at a time, followed by discussion of all the wines. Dress is casual.

The tasting will include seven wines (one white and one red from each country plus the dessert wine) cheeses, bread, crackers, fruit and dessert.  This is a chance to learn about wines from lesser-known vineyards of “Eastern Europe” while socializing with World Affairs Council members.  First bottle will be opened at 3:15 p.m.

 The cost person is $20.00.

Register via email or phone or online with a credit card on our website here.  Space is limited so please register early!  RSVP deadline is Thursday, April 3rd.

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Wilbraham & Monson Academy Team Wins Academic WorldQuest 2014!

Academic WorldQuest 2014 champs: Emily Carson, Danielle Bellefeuille, Brian Popovich, Emily Zeno & faculty coach Gina Markowski

Academic WorldQuest 2014 champs: Emily Carson, Danielle Bellefeuille, Brian Popovich, Emily Zeno & faculty coach Gina Markowski (photo credit:  Meredith Basler)

Eight Springfield-area high schools converged on Wilbraham & Monson Academy on Saturday, January 18, 2014 for the World Affairs Council’s 9th Annual Academic WorldQuest competition.  The team from WMA seized upon whatever “home court advantage” there was to be had, took the lead early–tying with the Springfield High School of Science & Technology at the half–and maintained it, going on to win, beating out powerhouse Springfield Renaissance High School, which has won four out of the last five years.

Longmeadow High School took second place and Renaissance and Springfield Central High School tied for third.

WMA will now go on to compete nationally at a competition hosted by the World Affairs Councils of America in Washington in April.

Academic WorldQuest is sponsored locally by Bacon & Wilson PC, Fitzgerald Attorneys at Law, Rediker Software and Wilbraham & Monson Academy

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Japanese Consul General Akira Muto to Speak on Abenomics & Governor Deval Patrick’s Mission to Japan

Japanese Consul General in Boston Akira Muto

Japanese Consul General in Boston Akira Muto

Japanese Consul General in Boston Akira Muto will speak on “Abenomics and Governor Deval Patrick’s Mission to Japan”at an Instant Issues event on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at noon in the Community Room at One Financial Plaza (1350 Main Street) 3rd Floor, downtown Springfield.

The cost for members is $5 without a lunch and $15 with a lunch provided.  Nonmembers cost is $10 without a lunch and $20 with a lunch provided.  To reserve a sandwich–tuna, turkey or vegetarian–reply by email or call the World Affairs Council office at 413-733-0110.  You can register on line with a credit card here.

RSVP deadline for this event is Monday, May 11, 2014.

G Muto with former Council Executive Director Sue Root and her family during a ceremony in November 2012 in which the Japanese government conferred upon her the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

CG Muto with former Council Executive Director Sue Root and her family during a ceremony in November 2012 in Springfield.  The Japanese government conferred upon Sue Root the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Consul General Akira Muto came to Boston in 2012 following a number of major domestic and international assignments for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Since joining the Ministry in 1985, he has held the posts of First Secretary at the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC and Counselor at the Embassy of Japan in Moscow. In Tokyo, he has served as Director of several divisions in the Economic Affairs Bureau. Immediately prior to his assignment in Boston in CG Akira Muto served as Director of the Policy Coordination Division in the Foreign Policy Bureau since 2010.  In that capacity he drafted, compiled and coordinated foreign policy on the various difficult issues which faced Japan.  His work focused on fulfilling the roles and responsibilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, and maintaining friendship and goodwill between Japan and the U.S. as “comprehensive partners” that contribute to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

The Instant Issues series is generously sponsored by Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Prosperity Candle, and A. L. Cignoli Company.  Our media sponsor is BusinessWest.

 

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RESCHEDULED: State Senator Gale Candaras to Speak on Human Trafficking in Massachusetts

Massachusetts State Senator Gale D. Candaras

Massachusetts State Senator Gale D. Candaras

Massachusetts State Senator Gale D. Candaras will speak on  human trafficking in Massachusetts on Monday, January 27, 2014 at noon in the Community Room at One Financial Plaza (1350 Main Street) 3rd Floor, downtown Springfield.

The cost for members is $5 without a lunch and $15 with a lunch provided.  Nonmembers cost is $10 without a lunch and $20 with a lunch provided.  To reserve a sandwich–tuna, turkey or vegetarian–reply by email or call the World Affairs Council office at 413-733-0110.  You can register on line with a credit card here.

RSVP deadline for this event is Thursday, January 23, 2014.

Gale D. Candaras, an attorney, has a twenty-year record of exemplary public service.  Prior to her election to the Massachusetts State Senate, representing the 1st Hampden and Hampshire District, Gale Candaras represented Wilbraham, Springfield and East Longmeadow for ten years as State Representative for the 12th Hampden District, the largest district in the state.

Gale Candaras with 2008 Academic WorldQuest Champions from Early College High School

Senator Gale Candaras with Early College High School student team members, faculty and family, Academic WorldQuest 2008 Champions

A longtime member and friend of the World Affairs Council, Senator Candaras served as the moderator of the 2008 Academic WorldQuest competition and has met with people from China, Afghanistan and Nigeria interested in state and local government and visiting the US through the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

The Instant Issues series is generously sponsored by Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Prosperity Candle, and A. L. Cignoli Company.  Our media sponsor is BusinessWest.

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Local High Schools: Register NOW for Academic WorldQuest 2014!

High school teams consider a question during Academic WorldQuest 2013

High school teams consider a question during Academic WorldQuest 2013

Academic WorldQuest 2014 is set to take place  Saturday, January 18, 2013  at new venue, Wilbraham & Monson Academy, in Wilbraham.  The event will run from 2:00-5:00 p.m. with teams arriving at 1:30 p.m. to register.

Mike Dobbs (center) speaks to International Visitors in the US through the State Department about reporting on local politics

Mike Dobbs (center) speaks to International Visitors in the US through the State Department about reporting on local politics

Mike Dobbs, Managing Editor of Reminder Publications, will serve as moderator.  Dobbs is also a film historian, college instructor, and former radio talk show host with 30 years experience in mass communications.

Four-student teams representing any public or private high school in the four westernmost counties of Massachusetts or northern Connecticut are welcome to participate.  We are still accepting teams so please let us know if you are interested in participating.

The winning team will go on to compete nationally at the national competition in April hosted by the World Affairs Councils of America in Washington, DC.

awq2014logoThe topics for 2014 are:

•       Cybersecurity
•       U.S. Energy Policy
•       Global Economic Realignment
•       Middle East
•       Global Environmental Issues
•       U.S. Education
•       UN Millennium Goal 1: Eradicate                                Extreme Poverty & Hunger
•       Global Health
•       Geography
•       Current Events

Team Renaissance at Academic WorldQuest 2013 in Washington, DC

Team Renaissance at Academic WorldQuest 2013 in Washington, DC

Teams must register in advance, but there is no fee and a study guide will be provided. For more information, please contact the World Affairs Council office at 413-733-0110.

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October Instant Issues to Focus on Syria

Five College Professor of International Relations Jon Western to speak at Instant Issues on October 24.

Five College Professor of International Relations Jon Western to speak at Instant Issues on October 24.

Professor Jon Western,  Five College Professor of International Relations at Mount Holyoke College will speak on  Syria and the question of international response to the violence on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at noon in the Community Room at 1350 Main Street–3rd Floor (Sovereign Bank), downtown Springfield.

The cost for members is $5 without a lunch and $15 with a lunch provided.  Nonmembers cost is $10 without a lunch and $20 with a lunch provided.  To reserve a sandwich–tuna, turkey or vegetarian–reply by email or call the World Affairs Council office at 413-733-0110.  You can register on line with a credit card here.

RSVP deadline for this event is Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

Jon Western is Five College Professor of International Relations at Mount Holyoke College and the FiveColleges, Inc. and Chair of the Five College International Relations Program. He also chairs the MHC Nexus on Law, Public Policy, and Human Rights.

Western is the author of Selling Intervention and War: The Presidency, the Media, and the American Public. He is the co-editor of The International Community and Statebuilding: Getting Its Act Together? and co-editor of Global Giant: Is China Changing the Rules of the Game. His most recent manuscript titled Why Bother? The Rise and Fall of Liberal Statebuilding from Sarajevo to Kabul will be published in early 2014. He is currently managing two additional research projects on post-hegemonic global governance and on international responses to mass atrocity violence.

Prior to joining the Mount Holyoke faculty, Western served as a Peace Scholar-in-residence and the coordinator of the Dayton Upgrade Project at the United States Institute of Peace. He has taught at Columbia University and George Washington University and served as a Balkans analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the U.S. Department of State.

Western’s articles have appeared in numerous publications including Foreign Affairs, Security Studies, International Security, Ethnopolitics, Harvard International Review, Perspectives on Politics, and Political Science Quarterly. He is a regular contributor to Duck of Minerva, a blog focusing on International Relations, and he writes a monthly column for Current Intelligence, a British journal on politics and culture.

The Instant Issues series is generously sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Prosperity Candle, and A. L. Cignoli Company.  Our media sponsor is BusinessWest.

 

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Ambassador Marc Grossman to Address Annual Meeting 2013

Former US Special Envoy to Afghanistan & Pakistan Marc Grossman (Photo credit:  NATO)

Former US Special Envoy to Afghanistan & Pakistan Marc Grossman (Photo credit: NATO)

The World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts is pleased to announce that Ambassador Marc Grossman, former US Special Envoy to Afghanistan & Pakistan, will speak at their annual meeting and dinner on Monday, October 7, 2013 at the Springfield Marriott Hotel, 2 Boland Way in downtown Springfield.  The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a  cash bar reception, and then dinner and the program will start at 6:30 p.m.  The event is open to the public and costs $50 per person, which includes dinner.  The registration deadline has passed and this event is now full.

Ambassador Marc Grossman, former US Special Envoy to Afghanistan & Pak

Ambassador Marc Grossman, former US Special Envoy to Afghanistan & Pak

Marc Grossman served as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the State Department’s third ranking official, until his retirement in 2005 after 29 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. As Under Secretary, he helped marshal diplomatic support for the international response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. He also managed US policies in the Balkans and Colombia and promoted a key expansion of the NATO alliance. As Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, he helped direct NATO’s military campaign in Kosovo and an earlier round of NATO expansion. In Turkey, Ambassador Grossman encouraged vibrant US-Turkish economic relations.

In 2004, Grossman achieved the rank of Career Ambassador, a rare distinction awarded by nomination of the President and confirmation by the United States Senate.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Grossman back to service in 2011 to replace the late Richard Holbrooke as US. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He promoted the international effort to support Afghanistan by shaping major international meetings in Istanbul, Bonn, Chicago and Tokyo. He provided US backing for an Afghan peace process designed to end thirty years of conflict and played an important part in restoring US ties with Pakistan.

In January 2013 Ambassador Grossman was appointed a Kissinger Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute at Yale University. He is Vice Chairman of The Cohen Group.

Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Council past president, Ken R. Furst

Ambassador Ryan Crocker & Ken R. Furst in November 2012

The topic of the evening will be Afghanistan, Pakistan & More: The Real Story and will be presented in the form of a dialogue between Ambassador Grossman and World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts Past President Ken R. Furst of Wilbraham, who spent time in Kabul, Afghanistan as a guest of Ambassador Ryan Crocker in the spring of 2012 and also served on the board of the World Affairs Councils of America with Ambassador Grossman.

The aim will be to give the audience an opportunity to hear what’s behind the news and what our country faces in this region of the world.  Grossman will address the situations in Syria and Egypt as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

 

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