October 1, 2020
The aftermath of the horrors of WWI, the “War to End All Wars,” spawned an effort, in 1918, for Americans to be knowledgeable about the world with the formation of the League of Free Associations. It supported President Wilson’s efforts to assure post-war peace. That led to the formation of the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) in 1923, an independent institution committed to examining all sides of international questions.
In the decades that followed, FPA chapters and discussion groups were established across America, grassroots organizations, with the common mission of informing our fellow citizens about the global issues of the day, U.S. interests abroad, and building global bridges to enhance security and prosperity.
In 1986 a non-governmental office was established in Washington to coordinate the work of the independent global affairs awareness associations. The World Affairs Councils of America has come to include more than 90 councils nationwide, in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
The Tennessee World Affairs Council (TNWAC) was established in 2007 to meet a demonstrated shortfall in global education programs in our state. It was organized in the model of its sister groups: open to all, nonpartisan and committed to informing our community on all sides of international questions. The TNWAC continues the tradition of the post-World War I leaders who sought to empower people to meet their obligations as informed citizens.
Today, your World Affairs Council is based at Belmont University in Nashville, having enjoyed a decade long partnership. TNWAC, like most organizations had to pivot quickly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic from in-person programs to virtual presentations. An upside to the transformation in program delivery has been the ability to reach you beyond our home venue to wherever you are, and to bring you diplomats, business people, scholars, and other specialists from all points of the globe.
In this month alone the TNWAC will present 11 programs that include 40 distinguished speakers. They will talk about Election 2020 critical issues, reviews of global news, Nashville and its international profile and careers in global affairs for students and young professionals. TNWAC will also host Presidential Debate and Election evening watch parties, nonpartisan meetings to encourage civic engagement and understanding of the mechanics of America’s democracy, especially among young people.
Also, in October, TNWAC will start up its annual education outreach for high school students, a flagship program of the Council. The Academic WorldQuest global affairs competition encourages students to be informed about the world and to engage in conversations about key global issues. TNWAC helps form teams in high schools around the state (and hosts out of state students who can’t access this national program locally). The highlight is a springtime TNWAC championship match followed by the winning team representing the state in Washington at the national tournament. TNWAC organizes visits during that trip to foreign embassies, think tanks, Capitol Hill and other global affairs venues in addition to the national championship.
Why am I telling you this story?
Today, we are launching a Membership Month. The Council is a nonprofit, tax exempt educational charity and does not receive funding from any level of government. And like many others we depend on community involvement – members and donors — to keep our programs alive.
So, I invite you to become a member today.
There are numerous benefits for members – free or discounted programs, informative newsletters including a complementary subscription to “Daily Chatter,” members only events, discounts to foreign affairs publications like “The Economist,” and more when in-person programs are restored. However, the number one benefit for members is knowing you are a part of an organization dedicated: to educating youth about the world and to bringing top-notch programs to the community – to ensure our citizens “know the world.”
I joined the World Affairs Council shortly after I left office as Mayor of Nashville and Davidson County. I was attracted to the Council because of its education mission.
I have a commitment to education, when I served the people of Nashville and now as a citizen supporting the Tennessee World Affairs Council with my time and financial support. I invite you to share that commitment to global affairs awareness.
In an age of globalization and a rapidly shifting international order, we believe that our mission – engaging the public and leaders to better understand global affairs and America’s role in the world – is more vital than ever.
Karl F. Dean
Former Mayor of Nashville and Davidson County
October is new member month at the Tennessee World Affairs Council.
THANKS TO OUR PARTNERS IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS AWARENESS AND EDUCATION OUTREACH
THE MISSION of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.
THE VISION of the Tennessee World Affairs Council is a well-informed community that thinks critically about the world and the impact of global events.