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WACWM presents the youngest coffee grader ever and the Mexican Ambassador, plus forums on social med


The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan (WACWM) is back this fall –its 71st year of bringing the global conversations to the region—with Her Excellency Martha Bàrcena Coqui, the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., in a digital discussion about North American trade, pandemic mitigation and cultural relations on Thursday, September 17.

Start time for the live program via YouTube, will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 17.

Ambassador Bàrcena has been to West Michigan before and she is familiar with its people, industry, and educational excellence. She will talk about the new USMCA trade agreement, COVID-19 responses, and suggest some positive ways forward for the Mexican-U.S. relationship. The corporate partner on this event is the law firm of Warner Norcross + Judd.

On Tuesday, September 22, the Council welcomes the world’s youngest coffee Q grader,14-year-old Frankie Volkema, to talk about global coffee and what she’s learned about connecting with coffee growers in Burundi and Columbia. That program will begin at 7 p.m., again through the Council’s YouTube channel. A recent story on Frankie will help set the background for this conversation.

More programming is in the works for the fall, including programs on global supply chains, Hong Kong, the weaponization of social media, the global context of policing, and more.

In all, once again, WACWM covers a good portion of the world with timely and challenging global programming.

“Despite the challenges of programming within a pandemic and not being able to meet in person, the Council has found a way to bring global experts to West Michigan,” said Michael Van Denend, the WACWM executive director.

“In fact, now more than ever, we need to keep our attention on what’s happening in the world and to be creative in our region’s communication and partnership with potential collaborators in other countries,” he added.

Visit our Fall programming page in the coming weeks for more information on our programming and to register for our September events.

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The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan empowers the people and organizations of West Michigan to engage thoughtfully with the world.

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Grand Rapids, MI 49506

(616) 776-1721

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