About the Council

Believing that Democracy Demands Discourse, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan international affairs experience provider with more than 70 years of expertise in connecting Philadelphia to the world.

The Council was established in 1949 and is supported through earned and contributed revenue from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Today, the Council invites the Greater Philadelphia community to grow their knowledge of the world through corporate, foundation, and individual membership; educational experiences; world travel; and a wide-ranging portfolio of events and programming.

To some, international affairs can seem less relevant than local issues. However, these issues are not distant, and the World Affairs Council provides resources and expertise to help citizens understand how the issues impact our local community. Providing authentic and meaningful learning experiences, the Council makes critical, international affairs topics accessible to people of all ages, political beliefs, and backgrounds. It provides a platform for open-minded, respectful dialogue and a seat at the table to all for learning and growth. The Council helps the community to understand the world around us.

Education Programs and Speaker Events

The Council plays a pivotal role in the region, educating the public about world affairs. Since the 1950s, the Council has sponsored a nationally acclaimed world affairs youth education and development program that has become a staple part of the curriculum of major school districts in southern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and northern Delaware.  Each year, as many as 2,500 students and teachers from nearly 90 elementary and secondary schools make use of extensive resource material, guest speakers, conferences, lectures, simulation programs, and field trips provided by the Council.  The Council has provided world-class, world affairs education to over one million students since its founding.

As one of the top public policy forums in the nation, the Council also offers a diverse series of more than 30 informative programs each year, where Council members and the public are afforded the unique opportunity to participate in direct discussion with some of the world’s most influential leaders and experts. Program attendees gain firsthand insight into the most critical issues of the day.

The Council has hosted more than 5,000 sought-after speakers. Government officials, heads of state, journalists, academics, activists, and corporate executives have graced the Council podium, offering members the chance to meet and interact with the people who shape our world. The Council has been and remains one of the nation’s most respected forums within the American marketplace of ideas.

Travel the World

The Council also has been offering tours to members and cooperating Councils for more than 40 years. These trips offer all the highlights of touring, as well as access to political leaders and other local experts who give the behind-the-scenes views and briefings that make our trips unique. Many of our tours feature leaders such as career diplomats and journalists who share their expertise with our travelers. The World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) has designated the Philadelphia Council’s Travel the World program as a national program of excellence.

Membership and Development

Whether you're a student, a business professional, or an individual with a keen interest in the news and the world around you, you'll discover the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia to be one of the best ways to fulfill those interests. Membership at all levels gives you access to the most influential figures of the national and international scene, as well as opportunities to develop social and professional contacts through networking. Firms serve their customers and clients and, collectively, the Council serves the community and country.

The Whole Truth with David Eisenhower

In 2016, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, in partnership with WHYY TV and American Public Television (A.P.T.), created a refreshing approach with its television show, The Whole Truth with David Eisenhower. With a baseline of civil, thoughtful, and enlightening debate on issues of the day, the World Affairs Council produced 5 seasons of this outstanding program. All episodes are viewable here on our website. Since 2020, the show’s production has been led under agreement with The Whole Truth Fund. Check your local listings for upcoming showtimes in your area.

Become a Member

Whether you're a student, a business professional, or an individual with a keen interest in the news and the world around you, you'll discover the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia to be one of the best ways to fulfill those interests.