Ancient Lost Cities of North Africa, August 15 - 27 led by:

Jim Falk

Jim Falk, president emeritus of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, retired in March 2021 after serving as the organization’s president since 2001. Now residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico he is member of the Board of Global Santa Fe where he chairs the program committee. Additionally, Jim co-hosts The McCuistion Program, a public affairs program, that airs weekly on KERA-Dallas (PBS). His interest in travel and global affairs grew from high school years spent in Tunis where he attended a French lycée. He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and earned his MA in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia specializing in international law and Middle East politics. In 2012, he was appointed Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Morocco. Jim has led numerous trips on behalf of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia to including Tunisia and Morocco.

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Grand Danube Passage, October 4 - 19 led by:

Mimi Gregory

Mimi Gregory has been actively involved in international affairs for the better part of 35 years. Her affiliation with the World Affairs Councils began in Boston where she served as an active member of the Program Committee and served as its Vice President. Since living in Naples she has been involved with the Naples Council on World Affairs, served as President for three years and continues as Program Chairman. She was appointed and remains Vice President. Mimi was also appointed to the National Board of the World Affairs Councils of America and was elected to serve on the Executive Committee. Mimi has been twice decorated by the French Government, most recently as “Commander of the National Order of Merit” in 2012, by decree of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Mimi has traveled extensively in Europe and participated in Council Leadership Missions to Germany, Lebanon, Kuwait, Israel, Egypt, Taiwan, and Iraq. She has also traveled to Afghanistan and Iran. Mimi has led two Council trips to France, three to the Danube, and a trip to Iran.

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Romance of the Douro River, September 26 - October 7, 2023 led by:

Matthew Hughes

Matthew Hughes is the current President and CEO of the World Affairs Councils of America. He previously served as executive director at the International Relations Council (IRC) in Kansas City. Matthew’s professional experience bridges the education and nonprofit sectors. He has designed and delivered learning opportunities for students and colleagues ranging from age 4 through working professionals, including for six years as a k-12 teacher. Moving into the nonprofit sector, Matthew supported the development of international and intercultural understanding in schools and communities around the world from People to People International’s world headquarters in Kansas City. He has served as board member and committee chair for a variety of organizations, including the World Affairs Councils of America, the Sister Cities Association of Kansas City, and the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City. Fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese, Matthew relishes the chance to explore the world – six of seven continents and all 50 U.S. states so far – and has experience living internationally, including in South America and on the U.S.-Mexico border. Last year Matthew led a cruise from Lisbon to London.


Exploring Iceland, July 25 - August 4, 2023 led by:

Derrick Olsen

Derrick Olsen is President of WorldOregon, and a former Foreign Service Officer. Derrick was the Vice President of Regional Strategy at the regional economic development nonprofit Greater Portland Inc (GPI) where he led the implementation of Greater Portland Global, the region’s Global Trade and Investment Plan developed as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint program of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Previously, Derrick managed international trade and investment issues for over four years with Business Oregon (the Oregon Business Development Department). In 2013, Derrick participated in the U.S.-Spain Council Young Leaders Program. Derrick also has over 13 years of experience managing political and economic issues as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State in Latin America, Asia, and Washington, DC, with four overseas tours including as Chief of the U.S. Embassy’s Political Section in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Fluent in Spanish, he has a Bachelor of Arts in Government and History from Dartmouth College and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

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Cuba and Its People, December 1 - 8, 2023 led by:

Don Samford

Don Samford is a retired History/Social Science instructor from Eureka High School and Illinois Central College Psychology adjunct. He is currently active in the Peoria Area World Affairs Council where he is Past President and Chairman of the Education Outreach and Program Committees. Don is a past National Board Member of the World Affairs Councils of America, now serves on the Advisory Board and serves on the Global Education Committee. Don has made five trips to Cuba in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 He has worked closely with the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, Illinois Working Group on Cuba, and Focus Cuba. During these trips Don has been able to meet with leading Cuban entrepreneurs, scholars. Economists, government officials, and everyday Cubans to explore Cuban life and policies.


Legends of the Nile, February 6-17, 2024 led by:

Dr. Carla Thorson

Dr. Carla Thorson is Vice President of Programs at the Commonwealth Club. A political scientist who specializes in Russian politics and relations among the former Soviet states and East Europe, she holds a PhD from UCLA, an M.Litt. from the University of Oxford and a BA from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to joining the Commonwealth Club, she was Senior Vice President at World Affairs in San Francisco and worked previously at UCLA’s International Institute, the RAND Corporation, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc, and the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). Her work has focused on the rule of law in socialist regimes and the process of democratization. She enjoys travelling the world and has led and lectured on numerous tours including the Baltics, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Central Asia, China and Cuba.

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Machu Picchu to the Galapagos, Jan 23 — Feb 7 led by:

Megan Torrey

Megan Clark Torrey is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the World Affairs Council of CT. Megan became the Executive Director in March 2014, after having served as Program Director since 2003. She oversees the development and delivery of world class programming that educates the community on global affairs. Recently, Megan implemented a nation-wide World Affairs Council series focused on global women’s health, helped pilot a leadership mission to Brazil and produced a mini-documentary on Henry Kissinger that featured several former Secretaries of State. Megan has facilitated the visits of several world leaders to the Council in Hartford. During her time at CTWAC, the Council has expanded the scope and reach of its programming by implementing new technology and communications initiatives. Ms. Torrey has two degrees in international relations and diplomacy. Her research interests include inclusive security and the role of women in post-conflict situations and citizen participation in foreign policy. Before joining the World Affairs Council in 2003, she worked with UNESCO’s International Year for the Culture of Peace at the headquarters in Paris and at the United Nations International Training Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. Megan has traveled extensively all over the world and including Council trips to Cuba and Nepal and Bhutan.

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