To All of the Members, Ambassadors, Trustees, Board Members and Friends of the World Affairs Council of Orange County:

I am proud to have the honor to serve as your Chair of the WoImage result for judge james grayrld Affairs Council of Orange County for this year.  As I hope you know, your Council remains Orange County’s premier forum and speakers’ platform on world affairs.  Uniquely, we provide an open forum for our community to engage in learning and participating in discussions on world affairs in a nonpartisan, citizen-diplomat setting, and always follow up our presentations with time for questions from the audience.

Our Council hosts monthly dinners and luncheons with prominent, experienced and knowledgeable speakers who are high-level government officials and political leaders, world leaders, ambassadors and diplomats, leaders of NGOs, journalists, international business leaders, academicians and Think Tank experts.  Thus we are able to foster greater awareness and understanding about timely global topics, such as geo-politics, regional conflicts, the military and defense, the economy, and national and world security.  Council members include former US Ambassadors and diplomats, and a diversity of professionals, business leaders, academics, journalists, concerned citizens and students.

With WACOC programs like Academic WorldQuest, high school students in Orange County compete academically on subjects such as world geography and politics, United States and world history, and international affairs. This competition is sponsored by our Council and hosted by the national World Affairs Councils of America in Washington DC. And the winning team has the opportunity to represent Orange County in traveling to Washington D.C. for the national competition.

The important role of the Council is evident from the current trend of rapid Globalization and the critical role of our nation in world affairs.  People and nations are now connected and communicating at extraordinary speed, generating relationships through the internet or face-to-face, and through business and trade, with rapid dissemination of knowledge and ideas. And almost everyone has access to what is happening on the other side of the world. So whether we are dealing with humanitarian issues, regional or civil wars, regime changes or economic successes or failures, we are collectively affected.  Consequently, since in a democracy we get the government we deserve, it is important that we have an informed citizenry.  And no group performs a greater function in local world awareness than the WACOC!

For all of these reasons, please join and remain active in our Council and be engaged in a truly interesting and exciting experience.  And may I take this opportunity to thank our Trustees, our new 2017-18 Executive Board Members, and generous sponsors who continue to serve and make this Council extraordinary. With your considerable efforts and student sponsorship, we continue to help generate the future leaders of our nation!

Life is Good!

Judge James P. Gray (Ret.)
2017-18 Chair
Board of Trustees and Executive Board
World Affairs Council of Orange County



Our Council is part of the World Affairs Councils of America, a nonprofit and nonpartisan national organization based in Washington, DC.  Its mission is very simple; to educate and engage Americans on global issues.  With nearly 100 councils across 40 states reaching more than half a million people annually, the members of our local Council share an affinity with individuals across America.