Happy Holidays from the World Affairs Council
2019 was an absolutely extraordinary year for the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. As we celebrated our 70th anniversary and re-committed to our core principle that “democracy demands discourse,” we hosted from our podium presidents and luminaries of thought and deed from around the world; reached more middle and high school students than ever, impacting them more deeply; led hundreds of travelers, from around the nation, to every corner of the globe; and broadcast the fourth season of our national public broadcasting television series, The Whole Truth with David Eisenhower.
Citing the incredible diversity of opinion offered to our audiences, Philadelphia Magazine awarded the Council as “Best of Philly” for speaker series. Meanwhile, with your help this holiday season, our "Rising to the Occasion" fundraising campaign, can more than surpass the ambitious goal we set at the beginning of the year—raising at least $2 million above and beyond the Council’s annual operating budget to secure our stability and provide for our continued growth over the next decade.
Just a few other highlights for our organization this year:
- We presented our International Statesman Award to the President of Ukraine, a country that has come in the latter part of the year to be at the center of both world affairs and US politics.
- We held an anniversary gala, featuring a conversation with the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Rose Gottemoeller.
- We presented our Atlas Award to Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post correspondent wrongly imprisoned in Iran for 544 days.
- In partnership with Saint Joseph’s University, we held our largest live audience program in the Council’s entire history, presenting former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to an audience of 2000.
- In our best-of-its-kind global literacy program for area middle and high school students, this year we expanded our reach in South Jersey, including some of the most underserved schools in the city of Camden. You can read more about the extraordinary impact our education programs are making in our 2018-2019 Academic Year-End Report and our Global Smarts Evaluation and Analysis Report 2018-2019.
- With our TV show, The Whole Truth with David Eisenhower, we’ve now reached over 70% of US households, with the episodes having been broadcast over 7000 times by public television stations across the nation.
And as our work has grown, so too has the need for it, with only one-third of young Americans telling pollsters they believe it’s essential to live in a democracy and Americans of all ages seeming to lose the habits of being able to conduct civil discourse with others holding different points of view.
The WAC of Philadelphia is a small organization but, with your continued support, we can make some pretty big ripples in the American democratic pond. As you and your families gather for the holidays, we wish you all the best and ask if you could make one additional contribution this year to the work of the Council.
With all good wishes for your health and happiness,
President & CEO