Note: Join TNWAC President Patrick Ryan on a May 2018 tour of Tuscany. Details here.

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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 2018

December 27, 2017– January 7, 2018 – Egypt & the Nile: A Journey into Antiquity – Join an extraordinary New Year’s journey through the ancient land of Egypt.  Begin in Giza, fly to Luxor, cruise aboard the intimate Sanctuary Nile Adventurer to Abu Simbel, and then fly to Cairo.  Attend special lectures by Norm Olsen, Retired Senior U.S. Foreign Service Officer, and Isabel Stünkel, Associate Curator in the Department of Egyptian Art at The Met.  From $8,999 per person plus air.

January 12 – 15 – Mexico Seminar with Craig Snyder – On this special mission to Mexico we will explore the state of the U.S. – Mexico relationship through the challenges and implications of increased social and economic pressures. This special seminar will include meetings with former Mexican President Vicente Fox and Mrs. Marta Fox.  You will also attend an exclusive musical performance by the School Petit Performance, and have a specially arranged visit to the Corralejo Tequila Hacienda.  $2,290 per person plus airfare.

January 19 – February 10 – A President’s Journey Around the World Join Ambassador Mark Johnson on a highly anticipated around-the-world journey.  This new itinerary, personally hosted by Shelley Cline—president of our tour partner TCS World Travel—weaves together some of the world’s most fascinating cities and enduring cultures as well as a variety of threatened natural wonders as it circumnavigates the globe.  Enjoy personalized service throughout the journey and stay at some of the world’s finest accommodations.  Wait List Only.

February 2 – 12 – Colombia Rediscovered with G. Philip Hughes – Colombia warmly welcomes visitors to experience its wealth of indigenous cultures, evocative Spanish Colonial heritage, and lush landscapes.  A Caribbean gem, discover this country’s many jewels, from Bogotá and the Coffee Triangle to Medellin and Cartagena.  Special meetings throughout.  $4,548 including airfrom Miami (other gateways available).

February 9 – 19 – Passage Through the Panama Canal and Costa Rica – A spectacular nine-day journey from the Costa Rican rainforest through the mighty locks of the Panama Canal. Cruise aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star, all-Suite M.V. STAR BREEZE to experience a daylight passage through the canal and call at remote island paradises.  Join Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, former Ambassador to Panama, on this small ship cruise.  From $4,995 per person plus airfare – a savings of $1,000!  Limited space remains!

February 18 – March 5 – Southern Africa with Dr. Carla Thorson – Discover the remarkable beauty and vibrant culture of South Africa and Zimbabwe as you explore modern cities, track wildlife on safari and explore the natural wonder of Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. Talks by local experts, excursions with expert guides and safari game drives combine to make this the travel experience of a lifetime.  From $7,245 per person plus airfare. Wait List Only.

March 10 – 31 – Exploring Australia & New Zealand with Dr. Jerry Leach – Small group touring and the Lands Down Under add up to a perfect combination as we travel from Australia’s spectacular Great Barrier Reef to the storied Outback and Ayers Rock to sophisticated Sydney; from New Zealand’s towering Mt. Cook and breathtaking Milford Sound to high-spirited Queenstown and Auckland.  Several “meet-the-people” opportunities throughout.  $9,634 including air from Los Angeles (other gateways available).

March 31 – April 12 – Inside Japan – Urban and pastoral highlights of Tokyo, Kyoto, and magnificent Mt. Fuji.  Travel off the beaten path to the lovely historic cities of Takayama, Kanazawa, and Nara.  Embassy briefing and other special events.  Discover Hiroshima on an optional 3-day/2-night post-tour extension. $6,841 including air from Los Angeles (other gateways available).

March 31 – April 7 – On the Road to Freedom: Understanding the Civil Rights Movement:  A Family-Friendly Program– Our carefully designed program returns to Memphis on the 50th year anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to partake in the events commemorating his legacy.  From Selma to Little Rock High School, we will learn the story of the civil rights movement framed within the histories of the music and cuisine of the South.  $3,990 per person based on double occupancy.  Triple and Quadruple occupancy options available.

April 6 – 19 – Inside Iran with Dr. Ann Lesch – Travel to golden deserts, glittering canals of water, clay-baked caravanserais, and a horizon pierced by turquoise minarets.  Explore this complex land from Tehran to Shiraz. Marvel at ancient Persian civilization at Persepolis, and experience the warmth of the Iranian people.  $6,540 per person plus airfare.

April 18 – 26 – River Life Along the Dutch Waterways – Cruise for seven nights in Holland and Flanders aboard an exclusively chartered, deluxe AMADEUS small river ship when the picturesque Dutch tulip fields are in bloom. Meet local residents during the exclusive RIVER LIFE FORUM. Tour the Kröller-Müller Museum. Visit Amsterdam, Bruges, Hoorn, Maastricht, Antwerp and Keukenhof Gardens. Amsterdam Pre-Cruise and The Hague, Delft and Kinderdijk Post-Cruise options available. From $2,995 per person plus airfare – a savings of $1,000 if you book by September 19!

April 30 – May 9 – European Coastal Civilizations: Lisbon to London with Dr. Pamela Zeiser – This eight-night cruise along coastal Portugal, Spain, France and England aboard the Five-Star M.S. LE BORÉAL features a memorable cruise up the River Thames and a visit to the beaches of Normandy with special guest speaker Dwight D. Eisenhower II.  From $5,195 per person plus airfare – a savings of $1,000 if you book by September 22!  Cabins are going fast!

April 30 – May 5 – Inside Washington– Our hallmark program! 5-night schedule of inside the beltway small-group briefings and cultural highlights. Stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel.  Keynote speakers: Dr. Steven Cook, auther and expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy; Dr. Thomas Wright at the National Press Club; and  Dr. James Thurber for our final Cosmos Club dinner.  $2,850 per person. ($1,850 no hotel option.)

May 5 -19 – Dynasties of China and Tibet featuring a Yangtze River Cruise with Kay Maxwell – Experience the best of China and Tibet featuring a three-night cruise along the fabled Yangtze River and Five-Star accommodations in Beijing, Xi’an, Lhasa and Shanghai. Visit the Three Gorges Dam, Beijing’s Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Xi’an’s Terra Cotta Warriors and Lhasa’s magnificent Potala Palace.  Enjoy meeting the fascinating people of China and the friendly people of Tibet.  From $6,745 per person plus airfare – a savings of $1,000 if you book by October 12!

May 29 – June 6 – Tuscany with Patrick Ryan – Tuscany’s rolling knolls and fertile valleys have attracted artists, writers and travelers for centuries. Discover this remarkable landscape for yourself during a seven-night journey.  You will call a charming villa in Cortona home, and enjoy excursions to Renaissance villages, beloved Florence, and a family-owned winery. Along the way you will stroll charming piazzas, explore Etruscan treasures, and delight in regional flavors.  $3,590 per person – a savings of $250 if you book by November 7!

June 5 – 16 – Riches of the Emerald Isle with Denise Bala – Experience the finest in Irish culture during stays in Ennis, Killarney, Mallow and Dublin. Explore lively Galway, traverse the Burren landscape and admire the resplendent Cliffs of Moher. Enjoy Blarney Castle and Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College. This ten-night, small-group experience features first-class hotels, fascinating insights from local guides and experts. $4,540 per person plus airfare – a savings of $500 if you book by August 29!

June 11 – 19 – Changing Tides of History: Cruising the Baltic Sea – Experience the cultural rebirth of the Baltic States with seven nights aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star M.V. STAR BREEZE. Enjoy specially arranged presentations by former president of Poland Lech Wałęsa. Visit Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Bornholm.  From $6,495 per person – a savings of $1,000 if you book by November 17!

June 27 – July 5 – Odysseys of Ancient Civilizations: Adriatic and Aegean Seas – Join Norm Olsen, Retired Senior U.S. Foreign Service Officer, as he leads our wonderful cruise from Venice along the stunning Dalmatian coast to Athens for seven nights aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star, small ship M.S. LE LYRIAL. Visit five countries and six UNESCO World Heritage sites. Enjoy an exclusive COASTAL LIFE FORUM with local residents and a folk music performance.  From $4,495 per person plus airfare.

July 4 – 12 – Cruise the Rhine: Amsterdam to Basel with Jim Falk – Discover the Rhine River on an enchanting cruise through Holland, Germany and France to visit Amsterdam, Cologne, Strasbourg, the Rhine Valley and more. Learn about the region’s history and culture. From $3,440 plus airfare – a savings of $500 if you book by August 29!

July 14 – 22 – Poland & Moscow Seminar with Craig Snyder – Join an in-depth seminar exploring the relationship between Russia and its near neighbor, Poland. Visit both these nations, discovering their historical sites, educational institutions, and heartbreaking monuments, as well as hearing expert lecturers, and interacting with the people of the two interconnected countries.

July 20 – 28 – Town & Country Life in Cambridge, Oxford & Cotswolds featuring Blenheim Palace – Discover the true character of England’s town and country life during this extraordinary small-group itinerary featuring the university towns of Oxford and Cambridge and the charming Cotswolds. Call on Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill; visit “Downton Abbey”.  Anna Berry, Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire will share information on her experience living in London.From $3,995 per person plus airfare.

July 25 – August 2 – Circumnavigation of Iceland – Unearth Iceland on this seven-night circumnavigation aboard the Five-Star, small ship M.V. STAR PRIDE. See ancient Viking ruins and glittering glaciers atop simmering volcanoes. Cross the Arctic Circle and cruise along Surtsey. Included round-trip air from select cities.  From $5,995 per person.

August 3 – 10 – Discover Southeast Alaska by sea – Discover the endless beauty, abundant wildlife and native cultures of Southeast Alaska. Aboard the nimble, 66-passenger Admiralty Dream, you’ll have access to the breathtaking byways of Alaska’s Inside Passage. With skilled naturalists by your side, you’ll encounter magnificent peaks and fjords, and ice-blue glaciers of unfathomable proportions—while learning about the traditions of Alaska’s indigenous cultures.  From $3,495 plus airfare.

August 27 – 31 – Treasures of Ecuador & the Amazon – Arrive in Quito and attend a U.S. Embassy briefing before visiting the impressive “Middle of the World” monument at the Equator, which marks latitude 0º. Transfer to your Amazon Lodge overlooking the river and enjoy a hike along the flourishing nature trail.  Visit with a local Quechua family – learn about their tribal customs and hear stories of everyday Amazonian life. Derrick Olsen, President of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, will lead this tour and bring his experience of working in Latin America to the program.

September 11 – 25 – Himalayan Kingdoms: Nepal & Bhutan with Megan Torrey – An exhilarating journey to two distant and devout lands where Himalayan scenery casts an awe-inspiring spell.  Experience these nations’ cultural riches, exquisite beauty, and profound spirituality as you discover Nepal’s storied Kathmandu Valley and explore Bhutan from Thimphu to Punakha and the legendary Tiger’s Nest monastery.  Several special briefings will be added to final itinerary  $5,747 including air from New York (other gateways available).

September 15 – 26 – Romance of the Douro River with Dixie Anderson: land and cruise featuring Lisbon, Porto and the Alto Douro Wine Region – Explore the remarkable cities and towns of Portugal on this enriching journey that showcases the country’s history and heritage. Spend three nights in Lisbon, the city that launched many of the great Age of Discovery expeditions. Cruise the Douro River for seven nights aboard an exclusively chartered ship that takes you through Portugal’s famous port-producing region. From $3,840 plus airfare – a savings of $500 if you book by August 29!

September 27 – October 20 – Around the World by private jet – Our classic private jet journey offers a life list of destinations to some of the world’s most iconic places, including Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef and the Serengeti Plain. By combining these destinations into one seamless, elegant trip, we create a 24-day itinerary that is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.

October 6 -14 – Town and Country Life of Languedoc with Joyce Davis – Experience the South of France for nine days in the unspoiled provinces of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées dotted with traditional villages and Cathar fortresses. Visit Carcassonne and cruise the Canal du Midi, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Stay in the historic HOTEL MERCURE ALBI BASTIDES and the stylish CHÂTEAU DE FLOURE. Exclusive TOWN & COUNTRY LIFE FORUM with local residents. From $3795 per person plus airfare.

October 3 – 15 – Botswana with Mimi Gregory- Immerse yourself in the daily life of the locals on this remarkable journey to Botswana. Devote time to learning the intricacies of the Botswanan government.  Jet to your next destination in a light aircraft, with unbeatable birdseye views of the vistas below. Take in the spectacular view over the Okavango; a massive wetland wilderness of looping channels, islands forested with palms, and wide grassy floodplains that you’ll explore on foot, in open 4×4 safari vehicles, and floating along the channels in authentic mokoro canoes in search of elephant and lion, leopard and Pel’s Fishing Owl. Several meet-the-people opportunities throughout.  $7,995 per person plus airfare.

October 28 – November 2 – Inside New York – Travel to the most populous city in the U.S. to hear from opinion makers, scholars, grass-roots activists and media experts about the hot issues driving foreign policy today. Each day will begin with a morning discussion, followed by an afternoon panel on a variety of topics: the credibility of media in politics, activism in America, and national security and immigration.

November 4 -12 – Cuba: Art, Culture & People with Don Samford – Discover Cuba’s highlights, architecture, music and culture for eight nights during stays in Havana and Cienfuegos. Meet local artists and dancers and learn from local experts. Along the way, visit historic sites, museums, schools and community projects, and explore the 13th Annual Art Biennial installations in Havana. This small-group experience includes round-trip flights between Miami and Cuba and all excursions.  $5,645 per person including air to/from Cuba – a savings of $500 if you book by August 29!

November 9 – 18 – India Seminar with Craig Snyder- Join a carefully designed program which focuses on learning first-hand about a wide variety of aspects of life in India. Begin in Delhi and meet with a journalist from the Times of India. Visit the office of Balaknama, a monthly newsletter, run for and by street children, and interact with prominent advocates for women’s rights and prison reforms. Attend a briefing at the U.S. Embassy. Visit the International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIIT Bangalore), one of the premier national graduate schools in the country. In Mumbai stop at the Gandhi Museum and Research Institute to meet with a Department Head from their Political Science sector.  $5,995 per person plus airfare.




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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