World Affairs Council

La Crisis Política en Perú

On December 7th, 2022, Pedro Castillo, the disputed President of Peru, attempted to dissolve the nation’s Congress, placing a national curfew in effect. In light of a weak presidency, marred by the looming threat of the right-wing legislature in his opposition, threats of a censure for “moral incapacity” were met with one of the largest political disruptions in Peru’s recent history. Quick to respond, the Peruvian Congress quickly voted to remove the President from office, basing their decision on “moral incapacity”, and very soon, panic took hold in Lima, the nation’s capital. 

Protests quickly erupted in Lima, where panicked citizens rushed to hoard food and basic supplies, fearing an escalation of events. Castillo’s supporters took to the streets, spurring on violent clashes between protesters and the police, particularly in the capital, Lima, and in the south of the country. The state has responded to the protests with a major crackdown on civil and political rights. To date, at least 58 civilians are confirmed to have been killed, including 10 in a single massacre in the central city of Ayacucho and another 18 in a massacre in the southern city of Juliaca. The National Association of Journalists in Peru has indicated that 21 national journalists have been “victims of aggression or censorship”, signaling the biggest crackdown on media censorship in the country in the last 20 years. The social breakdown in Peru in the last month has been characteristic of the relative political instability the country has suffered since the fall of the military dictatorship in 1980, even as the country has made significant economic gains.

These political crackdowns, taking place heavily in areas with majority indigenous or Quechua speaking populations, call into question the use of extensive force by Peruvian authorities. Reports of officers in civilian clothes, arresting those participating in peaceful demonstrations have sparked dialogue regarding the brutalization and stigmatization of indigenous peoples in a country where about one in four are indigenous or Quechua speaking. The heavy stigmatization of indigenous in Peru has contributed to the overall brutalization of this sector of society. Indigenous Peruvians have been shown to have been disproportionately arrested, monitored, and killed by police violence in the last months. At this time, the protests seem to have no end in sight with the current political establishment still vying for the support of the masses, still, the larger questions brought on by this uprising will persist far beyond their conclusion. 

Written by Andrew Martin, Research & Development Intern

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Where’s the Money?: Holidays and COVID Bailouts

Written by Fundraising and Technology Intern, Norbu Kangchen

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China’s A4 Protests: The Blank Paper Revolution

China has been in a tumultuous state since the coronavirus pandemic. Strict quarantine enforcement over the course of the last two years have left citizens feeling uneasy and have drawn more attention to human rights issues surrounding the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority within the country. Following an apartment fire at a Uyghur neighborhood in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China, where 10 Uyghur residents died, students gathered to hold vigils honoring the victims and protest the government. The fire’s high death count was suspected to have been in part to the strict Covid-19 restrictions that barred the victims in with the fire and slowed rescue attempts. 

A popular way students have been protesting while attempting to circumvent Chinese media censorship is through the “blank paper revolution”. Videos of protestors standing in solidarity holding pieces of white A4 paper have gone viral. Criticism of the Communist party government and President Xi Jinping have been mounting alongside the sporadic bursts of activism, and experts are viewing this as a possible turning point in Chinese politics. 

Written by Program Management Intern, Cindy Tse

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Civil Unrest and Violent Suppression in Iran

Written by Fundraising and Technology Intern, Norbu Kangchen

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Russian-Ukrainian War: Zelensky Calls for ‘Open Diplomacy’

As the Russian-Ukrainian War continues to stretch on into its ninth month, negotiations between each sides’ respective leaders have continued to struggle. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has been issuing daily updates to his citizens as the war continues on, and in his November 7th address, recently stated his terms for open diplomacy which included respect for the UN Charter, territorial integrity of Ukraine, and prosecution of war criminals. This has been a change from his previous stance that peace talks with Russia were an “impossibility” if done under Russian president Vladimir Putin. Ukraine’s current situation is complicated by its reliance on assistance from the United States, which recently underwent its midterm elections.The potential shift in political climate may alter the level of aid provided.

November marks an important time globally, with meetings such as the G20 summit and the ASEAN summit both taking place this month. Russian forces have retreated from the Kherson region, Though it appears the conflict will continue at this time, the recent turn of events have raised hopes that Russia is losing steam in its campaign. The Biden administration has not established a strong position on how Ukraine should proceed, but expresses hope that more fruitful peace talks can occur now that the winter months are closing in, posing a danger for troops and civilians still caught in the conflict.

Program Management Intern, Cindy Tse

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Top Geopolitical Risks in 2020: Coronavirus Update | Time

Top Geopolitical Risks in 2020: Coronavirus Update Wei Liang—China News Service/Getty Images Coronavirus hasn’t just overturned daily life as we know it; it’s also upended global politics. I’ve been working on figuring out what coronavirus means for geopolitics beyond the immediate crisis that we’re in. As such, I’ve revisited our Top Risks 2020 that we published back in January and have updated them (the first time in our history we’ve ever done that) with the potential impact that the …


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A Realistic Look at Cybersecurity Threats for the 2020 elections and Beyond

How worried Should We Be?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Bryan Cunningham

  • Executive Director of Cyber Security Policy & Research Institute
  • Former Deputy Legal Adviser to then-Nat’/ Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
  • Served six years in the Clinton Administration as a senior CIA officer and federal prosecutor

The World Affairs Council of Orange County is proud to present “How Worried Should We Be? A Realistic Look at Cybersecurity Threats for the 2020 Elections and Beyond” with Bryan Cunningham.

This timely event could not be more relevant as we approach the election season. Cunningham is a leading international expert on cybersecurity law and policy, a former White House lawyer and adviser and a media commentator on cybersecurity, technology and surveillance issues. Cunningham has extensive experience in senior U.S. government intelligence and law enforcement positions. He served as Deputy Legal Adviser to then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. He also served six years in the Clinton Administration as a senior CIA officer and federal prosecutor. Post 9/11, he drafted significant portions of the Homeland Security Act and related legislation.

Mr. Cunningham was founding vice-chair of the American Bar Association Cyber Security Privacy Task Force and was awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement for his work on information issues. He is currently UCl’s Cybersecurity Policy and Research Institute’s Executive Director.

Time: Reception: 6:15 pm Program: 7:00 pm

Location: Newport Beach Marriott Bayview (500 Bayview Cir, Newport Beach, CA 92660)

Pricing: Members: $35, Non-Members: $45, Students: $15

Register: or Call: 949-253-5751

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Save the date: Rethinking Strategy and Engagement: US Policy in a Turbulent Middle East

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The World Affairs Council of Orange County Presents:

“Rethinking Strategy and Engagement: US Policy in a Turbulent Middle East”

Dr. Paul Salem Ph.D. Harvard

An Evening Event featuring Dr. Paul Salem, Ph.D. Harvard

President of the Middle East Institute, Washington DC

Writer, and Founding Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center

The World Affairs Council is proud to present an exciting program on “Rethinking Strategy and Engagement: US Policy in a Turbulent Middle East in Crisis”, by a true expert on current US policy in that conflict prone region: Paul Salem Ph. D., President of the prestigious Middle East Institute based in Washington DC.

Over the last three decades, the Middle East has been the focal point of US Foreign Policy. Conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the recent near war escalation with Iran have made daily headlines. Now Russia, Turkey, Iran and Israel have focused their efforts in Syria and created even more crisis. Is a war inevitable? Will Israel continue to carry on attacks in Syria against Iranian surrogates? Are the US and Russia/Iran headed toward a military conflict and whose side will Turkey take if the Kurds assist the US and the West. Will the US continue its disengagement from the region under President Trump’s stated goal for a US withdrawal? Who will fill the vacuum if that occurs? What about Saudi Arabia and its allies, who will defend them against Iranian threats? Finally is ISIS the terror group finally defeated or has it survived and will it benefit from the internecine battles drawing attention away from its defeat?

Despite the focus and resources of the United States in the region, we are still encountering new and more complicated conflicts every year. Subsequently, there must be a re-evaluation of the role that the United States has in this part of the world. We have weakened or toppled dangerous regimes in Iraq and Syria, yet, there does not seem to be an end to hostilities..

As always the World Affairs Council wishes to provide current and topical information to the Orange County Community about International Affairs. Please join us for a sure to be great program!

More Details Coming Soon

Event Promotional and Financial Sponsors are welcome!

Please contact us at or call us at at (949) 253-5751 to learn more about the benefits of becoming a Promotion Sponsor with us.

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December 18th, 2019: Annual Holiday Dinner Event with Ambassador Gaddi Vasquez


Register Now!


December 18th, 2019


“US Foreign Policy Overview”


Annual Holiday Dinner Event




Ambassador Gaddi Vasquez





Register Here!



The Westin South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Reception: 5:45

Dinner/Event: 6:30



Members: $85

Non-Members: $95

Students: $70


The World Affairs Council of Orange County proudly presents Ambassador Gaddi Vasquez. Vasquez is the United States’ 8th Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, in Rome, Italy. Ambassador Vasquez’ public service extends through the city, county, state and federal levels of government. He began his 28-year career in public service as a police officer in Orange, California, has served as an appointee of three former California governors, and was appointed by former President George H. W. Bush to two federal commissions. From 2002 to 2006, he served as Director of the United States Peace Corps. In 2019, he retired as Vice President of Public Affairs for the Southern California Edison Company, one of the nation’s largest investor owned utilities.​ We look forward to an amazing event! 



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November 20th, 2019: Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency. An Evening Dinner Event with Professor Larry Diamond.


Registration Open Now!


November 20th, 2019


Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency.


A Dinner and Conversation Event




Professor Larry Diamond

Moderated by UCI Law Professor Gregory Shaffer



Register Here!





The Pacific Club, 4110 MacArthur Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92660


Reception: 5:45

Lecture: 6:30



Members: $80

Non-Members: $90

Students: $70


Register Here!


The World Affairs Council of Orange County is proud to present Professor Larry Diamond. Professor Larry Diamond is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. For 6 years, Professor Diamond served as Director of Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. The Professor will be discussing his newest book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency. We look forward to an enlightening and timely lecture! You can read a more detailed bio of our speaker below.



Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. For more than six years, he directed FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, where he now leads its Program on Arab Reform and Democracy and its Global Digital Policy Incubator. He is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as senior consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. His research focuses on democratic trends and conditions around the world and on policies and reforms to defend and advance democracy. His forthcoming book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency, analyzes the challenges confronting liberal democracy in the U.S. and around the world at this potential “hinge in history,” and offers an agenda for strengthening and defending democracy at home and abroad. He is now writing a textbook and preparing a massive open online course (MOOC) on democratic development. Diamond’s other books include In Search of Democracy 2016), The Spirit of Democracy (2008), Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation (1999), Promoting Democracy in the 1990s (1995), and Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria (1989). He has also edited or coedited more than forty books on democratic development around the world. He directed the Stanford Program on Democracy in Taiwan for more than ten years and has been a regular visitor to Taiwan since 1995.

During 2002–03, Diamond served as a consultant to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and was a contributing author of its report Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to universities and think tanks around the world, and to the World Bank, the United Nations, the State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development. During the first three months of 2004, Diamond served as a senior adviser on governance to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. His 2005 book, Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq, was one of the first books to critically analyze America’s postwar engagement in Iraq.

Among Diamond’s edited books are Democracy in Decline?; Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World; Will China Democratize?; and Liberation Technology: Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy, all edited with Marc F. Plattner; and Politics and Culture in Contemporary Iran, with Abbas Milani. With Juan J. Linz and Seymour Martin Lipset, he edited the series, Democracy in Developing Countries, which helped to shape a new generation of comparative study of democratic development.

Diamond writes a monthly column for The American Interest and frequently consults on policies and programs to promote democracy.


Meet your Moderator: UCI Law Professor Gregory Shaffer



Professor Gregory Shaffer is Chancellor’s Professor and Director of the Center on Globalization, Law and Society (GLAS) at the University of California, Irvine. He is a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and the Journal of International Economic Law and has served as Vice President of the American Society of International Law. He received his JD from Stanford Law School and his BA from Dartmouth College. His publications include seven books and over one hundred articles and book chapters. The books and edited volumes are Constitution-Making as a Transnational Legal Order (with Ginsburg and Halliday, 2019); Transnational Legal Orders (with Halliday, 2015); Transnational Legal Ordering and State Change (2013); Dispute Settlement at the WTO: The Developing Country Experience (with Melendez, 2011); When Cooperation Fails: The International Law and Politics of Genetically Modified Foods (with Pollack, 2008); Defending Interests: Public-Private Partnerships in WTO Litigation (2003), and Transatlantic Governance in the Global Economy (with Pollack, 2001). His editorials and commentaries appear in the Washington Post and Huffington Post.

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