2022 World Affairs Council of the Year
Network of Independent World Affairs Councils of America

Travel the World with World Affairs Councils

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The Tennessee World Affairs Council is proud to partner with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia to offer you world-class opportunities to travel the globe.



Engage with the world through the World Affairs Councils travel program. Unique destinations and access to political leaders and local experts who give behind the scenes views and briefings make the trips unforgettable. From India or Iran to Cuba and Croatia, the Council provides unique tours all around the world, as well as in-depth briefings and destinations in the U.S.

Many trips include presenters from the diplomatic corps, news media, or academia and offer “meet the people” opportunities. The trips are available to World Affairs Councils’ members and are organized and run through the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. All trips provide attendees with memorable experiences and include:

  • Expert, veteran tour leaders
  • Like-minded fellow travelers
  • Advance reading materials
  • Substantive in-country briefings
  • Singular, high-quality content


Upcoming Trips 2016




The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia has, for more than thirty five years, offered a travel program to Cooperating Councils. In August, 2005, the WACA national board voted to make the Philadelphia travel program a Flagship program – denoting a program of excellence.


The trips offer all the highlights of touring, as well as access to political leaders and local experts for behind-the-scenes briefings that make our trips unique.

Our hallmark “Inside” tours are highly substantive, featuring private briefings. Many land tours and cruises feature Council leaders who can draw on their expertise in the fields of diplomacy, journalism, or academia to create added-value to the experience.

Members become citizen diplomats with an opportunity to “meet the people” for an exchange of ideas, thereby creating the “Soft Power” that Joseph Nye values.



MEET THE PEOPLE: Most of our trips offer this opportunity. We are firm believers in “citizen diplomat travel”. As well as panel discussions, we often visit a school, an NGO, dine with a family, or hear from an Imam for example.

China: As one of the first U.S. institutions to be allowed to visit in 1977, the Council has established a reputation for tours that provide a combination of substantive briefings, cultural highlights and sightseeing led by the best guides in China.

Substantive Cruises: Most of our cruises are aboard “small ships” (85 to 200 guests) that focus on quality service, excellent local guides on included shore excursions, and enrichment lecturers such as David Eisenhower; Dr. Sergei Khrushchev and keynote speakers like President Lech Walesa and Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill. Read about our Council lecturers in the section following.

Inside Washington: This 5-night program was created in the late 80s and, after a hiatus, was re-introduced after 9/11. It features substantive briefings with Members of Congress, Administration officials, think tank scholars, journalists and Embassy visits. Some cultural activities are highlighted.

Cuba: We began sponsoring educational tours in 1997 and have developed an independent relationship with many Cubans: academics, artists, religious leaders, community workers and N.G.O.’s. who have exchanged ideas with our members on civic participation, economic freedom and democracy. We have held Cuba licenses for People-to-People programs and have four Cuba trips in 2016 including a new cruise.

Iran: With a newly elected, and seemingly more liberal president in Iran, we reinstated our Iran tours. Past participants raved about our local guide and really engaged with the Iranian people they met. Two trips sold out immediately and a third took place October 2014 with Ambassador McAfee (Jacksonville WAC) and Maria Zammit (Greater Hampton Roads) leading. We had three trips in 2015 and there is space still on an April 2016 Iran tour.

COUNCIL LEADERS/LECTURERS: In addition to nationally known figures such as David Eisenhower and Sergei Krushchev, our own Council experts act as leaders or lecturers on trips.

Dr. Carla Thorson (WAC No Cal) has led tours to Russia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, lectured on a cruise to the Baltic states in June 2012, a Silk Road tour in 2013 and two Cuba tours. She lectured on a cruise to Antarctica in 2014 about the political and energy exploration aspects of this last great frontier. She will lead a tour to Tanzania in November.

Maria Zammit (WAC of Greater Hampton Roads) also led a tour to Morocco in 2011 and one to Vietnam in November 2012. She lectured on a Malta to Rome cruise and brought on board our U.S. ambassador to Malta. On an India tour, she arranged high-level briefings. She co-led an Iran tour and has also led a tour to Sri Lanka.

Mimi Gregory (Naples WAC) – lectured on three Danube cruise, a Rhine cruise and a tour of France. She organizes some special events and briefings using her French and Belgrade contacts. She will lead a cruise from Barcelona to Rome in October 2016.

Ambassador Marilyn McAfee (WAC Jacksonville) lectured on a South America tour 2014 and co-led an Iran trip in 2014. She had served in Tehran prior to the revolution. Dr. Pamela Zeiser, coordinator between North Florida University and WAC Jacksonville, will lecture on Eastern Europe in June.

Dr. Jerry Leach, President Emeritus WACA, will lecture on a Nile Cruise departing in February. He taught at the American University, Cairo.

Kay Maxwell (World Affairs Forum, Stamford CT) took a group to Cuba in 2013 and to Myanmar in early 2014. She led a Viet Nam and Cambodia tour in October 2015 and will return to Viet Nam in October.

Ambassador Heather Hodges (WAC Cleveland) lectured on a Belize and Guatemala cruise and led a tour to South America, fall 2014. She will lecture on our Cuba Cruise in 2016 and lead a tour to Portugal and Spain in September.

Craig Snyder (WAC Philadelphia) lectured on a Baltics Cruise and will lead tours to Cuba and to Oman, UAE and Qatar in 2016.

Past Traveler Comments:

“It was a marvelous trip for many reasons…great leaders, friendly locals, interesting sites, fine facilities etc. etc. There was, however, one wonderful aspect of the trip we did not anticipate – the individuals who participated in this adventure. This group of people was especially stimulating, knowledgeable, and interesting. We felt so fortunate to be part of it.” Carolyn Maki, FL, Iran 2014

“Hats off to you, Joan. You put together such an incredible combination of speakers. We truly were briefed on all major international subjects and countries of interest — no wonder people keep coming back! I had a wonderful time and do not have even a tiny complaint about anything. Perfection!” Mari Rhea, OR, Inside Washington 2013

“My wife and I have traveled for 35 years in Europe, Asia, and North America. We agree that this was the most fascinating, best learning experience of all. It was a great location, well executed by a great organization.” Cecil Ursprung, CT, Cuba 2013

“Jim’s direct connections with several noted locals made the trip more personal and engaging including a private visit to the Hassan II mosque. Fattah, our guide, was spectacular. Very informed, bright, caring. He took his time with every question or concern. He was the most cordial and proficient tour guide I have ever been with.” Carmen Dubroc, NY, Morocco 2013

“I have never been on a trip that was so well organized with such amazing access. It was spectacular!” Suzanne Singer, Inside Washington 2012

“The highlight of the trip was the 77 year old city guide in Nijmegen, Netherlands telling personal stories dating from WWII and post-WWII.” –Bernard Lublin, Holland & Belgium Cruise 2014

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