A Conversation with

Ambassador André Haspels

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States


in partnership with the Netherland-America Foundation (NAF)

Thursday, June 11, 2020

10:30 - 11:30 am


Now online: you can attend virtually via the 

World Affairs Council's YouTube page.

Public invited. 

Free to view. 

No registration needed. 

Webinar will be available as a live video on our YouTube site and archived after the presentation.

Archived Programming

COVID 19 and a Future with Pandemics


with Ambassador William Garvelink (ret.)

former U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the  Congo

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

12 - 1 PM


Now online: you can attend virtually via the 

World Affairs Council's YouTube page.

This presentation has been archived.

Public invited. No reservations needed.

Free to view. 

William Garvelink, former U.S. Ambassador to The Democratic Republic of the Congo, will speak on the current COVID crisis using lessons learned from Ebola and his experience as a senior diplomat. During his presentation, he'll outline the following:

  • Global trends that contribute to higher probabilities of a pandemic like COVID 19

  • The characteristics and control of COVID 19

  • Reducing the health effects of COVID 19 in the US and stabilizing the economy

  • How COVID 19 impacts global affairs

  •  Living in a future with pandemics


Serving as a U.S. Ambassador from 2007 to 2010, Garvelink’s work prior to that was at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where his responsibilities included oversight of the agency’s worldwide humanitarian assistance and democracy programs.  

Garvelink spent 1988-99 in the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), working around the globe to conduct assessments and direct relief operations. 

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ambassador Garvelink received numerous Meritorious and Superior Service Awards and two Senior Foreign Service Presidential Meritorious Honor Awards. 

Ambassador Garvelink holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and a master’s from the University of Minnesota. 

Due to COVID-19, the Christo Brand event has been postponed, hopefully to be scheduled for FALL 2020. If you have already registered, we will notify you when the event is re-scheduled.


Doing Life with Mandela:

My Prisoner, My Friend


with Christo Brand

Christo Brand is a former South African prison guard who was one of several that were responsible for guarding Nelson Mandela. He came to Robben Island, where Mandela was being held, in 1978 when he was 19 years old.


In 1982 he was transferred along with Mandela to Pollsmoor Prison. Christo and Mandela developed a close friendship over the course of many years.

Join us for an unforgettable story of grace and reconciliation.

With gratitude to 

Event partners

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

World Affairs Council of Western Michigan

To change the world,

first know the world.

Sign up for advance notice of our events.

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

"To change the world, first know the world."

Credible. Objective. Relevant. Civil. Compelling.

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Grand Rapids, MI 49506

(616) 776-1721

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