Our Fall Season

Past Events

Photo of speakr Dr. CadyKorson

Separatist Movements and the Quest for Independence:

A Case Study in the South Pacific

Dr. Cadey Korson

Massey University of New Zealand

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Program -- 6:30-7:30 PM

Sneden Hall, Grand Rapids Community College (DeVos campus)

Room 108

Parking is available on the DeVos campus

Free to attend. Open to the public. No reservations needed.

In partnership with Grand Rapids Community College Social Sciences Department

Cadey Korson, a Kent County native and alumna of GRCC and Aquinas College, pursued graduate studies in Geography at the University of Missouri and Kent State University. Following award of the PhD, she took a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Oulu in Finland and engaged in scholarship devoted to geopolitics with special reference to Francophone regions.


Dr. Korson subsequently accepted a faculty appointment at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. At Massey, she guides both undergraduate and graduate students in geographical studies while continuing to conduct research in geopolitics, identity, and the Indigenous peoples of the South Pacific.


Her lecture is timely, for it will take place only a month after a referendum is held in New Caledonia to determine its independence from France. After more than a hundred years of colonization, the dependency became an United Nations Non-Self-Governing territory in 1986.


Over the next six years, inhabitants, including the Indigenous Kanak community will make a final decision on New Caledonia’s sovereignty.


In addition to its strategic location in the South Pacific, New Caledonia holds 25% of the world’s nickel reserves. Its per capita GDP is among the highest in the region. Dr. Korson will discuss the current situation in New Caledonia within the context of separatist movements across the globe.



Perhaps there is no region of the world about which Americans know so much, yet so little than the countries of the Arabian Peninsula.


Our Fall Lecture Series will feature four presentations about four distinctly different Middle Eastern nations.


Learn why Oman is on many “safest countries to visit” lists, how Qatar is coping with the blockade instituted by its neighbors, what the loosening of long-standing cultural laws means for Saudi Arabia, and if there is any hope for an end to the war in Yemen.


What happens in this part of the world impacts us.

Let’s be informed global citizens.


Fall Lecture Series

Shifting Sands in the Arabian Peninsula

Photo of Fahad Bishara
Photo of Chase Untermeyer
Photo of Abdullah Alrebh
Photo of Gamal Gasim

Thursday, October 18: Oman

Dr. Fahad Bishara, University of Virginia




Wednesday, October 24: Qatar

Ambassador Chase Untermeyer (ret.), U.S. Ambassador to Qatar



Tuesday, November 13: Saudi Arabia

Dr. Abdullah Alrebh, Grand Valley State University



Tuesday, November 20: Yemen

Dr. Gamal Gasim, Grand Valley State University


All Programs 7:00-8:15 PM  

A reception will kick off the series On October 18 from 6:15-7:00 PM

Seidman College of Business, GVSU

L. William Seidman Center, Charles W. Loosemore Forum


50 Front Ave. SW Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Public invited. Free parking in Fulton Street Lot. No RSVPs necessary.


Cost to attend: $10 per evening

*Oct. 18 is free and open to the public thanks to support from the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center and the World Affairs Councils of America.


Free admission to WACWM corporate members and their employees; Senator members; and the faculty, staff and students of our educational partners.


Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center Logo

Engage Ameria: Oman 2018 is a program of the World Affairs Councils of America in partnership with the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center

World Affairs Councils of America Logo

In partnership with Seidman College of Business and

the Middle East Studies Program, Grand Valley State University

Additional support from

SoundOff Signal Logo
Fernando Gonzalez Saiffe, Consul of Mexico in Detroit

Mexico-U.S. Relations:

A Storied Past and a Hopeful Future

Reception and Presentation with 

Fernando Gonzalez Saiffe

Consul of Mexico in Detroit

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Social Time -- 5:15-6:00 PM  

Program -- 6:00-7:00 PM

City Hall in the City of Holland

270 S. River Av., Holland, MI 49423

Free to attend. Open to the public. No reservations needed.

In partnership with the City of Holland

and the Consulate General of Mexico in Detroit

Information about attending the event can be acquired from

the City of Holland at hrc@cityofholland.com or 616-335-3122.

Mr. Gonzalez Saiffe has been in his diplomatic post since September 15, 2017. Previously, he has served the Mexican Foreign Ministry in executive positions in Canada (2013-17); Vietnam (2011-13); the United Nations (2009-11 and 2002-03); and as liaison for congressional affairs to the U.S. House of Representatives (2004-08).

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Instituto Technologico Autonomo de Mexico and a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law in Diplomacy at Tufts University.

A lecturer on Mexican foreign policy and the United Nations in academic and governmental settings, he has published numerous articles on these subjects.

Event graciously underwritten by

Supply Chain Solutions logo
Photo of Guillaume Lacroix, Consul General of France in Chicaog

French-U.S. Relations:

A Beneficial History and  a Hopeful Future

Reception and Presentation with 

Guillaume Lacroix

Consul General of France in Chicago

Tuesday, September 25 2018

Social Time -- 6:15-7:00 PM  

Program -- 7:00-8:00 PM

Calvin College, Commons Annex Lecture Hall

1835 Knollcrest Circle SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Use Covenant Fine Arts Center parking lot

Cost to attend: $10

Free admission to WACWM corporate members and their employees; Senator members; and the faculty, staff and students of our educational partners.

In partnership with Calvin College French Department

and the Consulate General of France in Chicago

Public invited. Free parking. No RSVPs necessary.

Mr. Lacroix has been in his diplomatic post since August 29, 2017. Previously, he has served in the Department of African and Indian Ocean Affairs in Paris, the French Embassy in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

From 2013 until 2017, he served in the French Foreign Affairs Department as a Counsellor for African Affairs.

Mr. Lacroix holds diplomas from Institut d'études politiques de Paris and Université Panthéon-Assas. He speaks Swahili, a language he studied at Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales in Paris and in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Event graciously underwritten by

Steelcase sponsor logo



CHINA Town Hall is a national conversation on China taking place in scores of communities throughout the United States and in Greater China

Interactive webcast with

Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisory

moderated by Stephen A. Orlins, President 

National Committee on U.S. - China Relations

In person China Specialist

Kaiser Kuo, Co-founder, Sinica Podcast

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


Interactive Webcast  -- 6:00-6:45 PM

On-site China Specialist  -- 6:45-7:30 PM  

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Free to attend. 

Public invited. Free parking. No RSVPs necessary.


China Town Hall logo
Picture of Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state

Condoleezza Rice is currently the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, and professor of Political Science at Stanford University. She is also a founding partner of RiceHadleyGates, LLC.


From January 2005 to 2009, Secretary Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, the second woman and first African American woman to hold the post. She also served as President George W. Bush’s Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor) from January 2001 to 2005, the first woman to hold the position. Read Secretary Rice's full bio.

Picture of Kaiser Kuo

Kaiser Kuo is an editor-at-large at SupChina.com and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast, the most popular English-language podcast on current affairs in China. Until April 2016, he served as director of international communications for Baidu, China’s leading search engine.


In 2016, Kaiser returned to the U.S. after a 20-year stint in Beijing, where his career spanned the gamut from music to journalism to technology. Kaiser also spent a year in Beijing from 1988 to 1989, when he co-founded the seminal Chinese heavy metal band Tang Dynasty. Read Kaiser Kuo's full bio.

National Sponsor:

National Committee on U.S. China Relatons sponsor logo

 Program Co-host:

Gerald R. Ford Presidetial Library and Museum Logo

Event graciously underwritten by

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