Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford (LECTURE EVENT- NOT A DINNER EVENT)


Lecture Style Event – NOT A DINNER EVENT


Wednesday May 3rd, 2017

“The Crisis in Syria – What Are the Causes? What Are the Options?”


Special insight from the


Former US Ambassador to Syria (2011-2014)

Former US Ambassador to Algeria (2006-2008)


Ambassador Robert S. Ford



Ambassador Robert S. Ford spent 4.5 years working for the US Mission in Iraq and another 3 years working on Syrian issues, including as the US Ambassador. As a former US ambassador to Syria he has special insight into the causes and complexities of the bloody Syrian civil war, which tragically has caused the death of nearly ½ million people and refugees that number in the millions.  Ambassador Ford will address the factors that caused the unrest in both Iraq and Syria and spawned the Syrian civil war and which allowed the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), now straddling across the two countries’ borders. The Ambassador will also asses current US and international efforts to contain the conflicts and opine on the signs that may predict the next steps of the US administration in this volatile region.

AMB. Ford completed a 30-year career with the Peace Corps and the U.S. Department of State in April 2014 and now is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, where he writes and speaks about Syria, Iraq and North Africa. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Syria 2011-2014, receiving wide recognition for his work defending Syrians’ human rights. He received the annual Profile in Courage award in 2012 from the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston for his human rights work and a Presidential Honor award in 2012 for his stewardship of the American Embassy in Damascus during a crisis period. AMB. Ford was the U.S. Ambassador to Algeria 2006-2008, boosting bilateral cooperation in education and the rule of law. He also served five years in Iraq helping the Iraqis establish their permanent government through three rounds of elections and preparation of a new constitution. He received from Secretary of State John Kerry in March 2014, the Distinguished Service award, the State Department’s highest award. The Ambassador has appeared on CNN, PBS, MSNBC, Fox, NPR, the BBC, Arabic networks speaking in Arabic as well as in numerous print media, including The New York Times. He has taught at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and is a devoted fan of the Baltimore Orioles.




 Location: Hotel Irvine (17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, CA 92614)

Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

$10 Students/ $20 Members/ $30 Non-Members/ $45 Limited Reserved seating for the first 5 rows

$8 Self-Parking / $10 Valet

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Dinner with Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, “How Will ISIS End?”



{Thursday April 20th, 2017}


“How Will ISIS End?”


 Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer

Professor of Sociology, Global Studies & Religious Studies, Kundan Kaur Kapany Chair of Global and Sikh Studies & Fellow of the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies at University of Santa Barbara

 Founding Director of the Global & International Studies Program & the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies at UCSB

Past President of the American Academy of Religion


In 2014, ISIS brutally controlled over 34,000 square miles in Syria and Iraq, from the Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad. Its genocidal campaign went unchecked and contributed to the immigration havoc unseen in recent history. Now as the US and allied forces engage in fierce battles to recapture the two remaining ISIS strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa, the difficult question becomes, how will ISIS End?  And what will come in its place?

Dr. Juergensmeyer, an expert on ISIS and its malignant doctrines, will attempt to answer these questions by exploring three different movements within ISIS aligned in an uneasy coalition, each with its own violent agenda and its own possibilities for long-term continuity even after the fall of ISIS’ territorial claims.  He’ll look at how ISIS is simultaneously a purported movement for Sunni Muslim empowerment, an apocalyptic cult, and a global cyber community of young activists.  Drawing from his recent visits to Iraq and from detailed monitoring of jihadi internet postings, Dr. Juergensmeyer will discuss how each of these movements have different trajectories and in their own way may be around in one form or another long after the roads from Baghdad to Mosul and from Damascus to Raqqa have been secured and freed from ISIS’ control.

Location: Westin Hotel (South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)

Time: 5:30 PM Registration/Reception

6:30 PM Dinner/ Speaker Event

$70 Members / $55 Students/ $80 Non-Members


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“Assessment of President Trump’s Emerging “America First” Foreign & Economic Policies” with General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus

The World Affairs Council of Orange County


The Richard Nixon Foundation






 “Assessment of President Trump’s Emerging “America First” Foreign & Economic Policies”


Dinner with General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus


GEN_David_H_Petraeus_-_Uniform_Class_A 1

Venue: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum


Member $150

Non-Member $175


For Sponsorship Level seating please contact our office at (949)-253-5751 or e-mail us at



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Ambassador Dennis Ross “Will The Trump Administration Change US Policy Toward Israel, the Palestinians and the Rest of the Middle East – Will it Bring Peace or More Turmoil in the Region?”

{Tuesday, May 16th 2017}


 “Does the Trump Administration Have a Middle East Policy”


 Will the Trump Administration Change US Policy Toward Israel, the Palestinians and the Rest of the Middle East – Will it Bring Peace or More Turmoil in the Region?


Ambassador Dennis Ross
Special Envoy to the Middle East for President George Bush Sr., President Bill Clinton & President Barack Obama



 The Golden Orange Award will be presented to

Ms. Nora Valenzuela



Time: 5:45 PM Registration/Reception

6:30 PM Dinner/Speaker

$75 Member/ $60 Student/ $90 Non-Member

Location: Westin Hotel (South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)


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Luncheon with General Michael Hayden – “Playing To The Edge: American Intelligence In The Age of Terror”



{Friday, March 31st, 2017}


                       “Playing In The Edge: American Intelligence In The Age of Terror”


 General Michael Hayden

                                                                           United States Air Force General, ret.
              Former Director of National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)


 Book Signing


Our Council is pleased to announce its very special guest speaker this month, Gen. Michael Hayden, retired United States Air Force four-star general and former Director of the National Security Agency, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group, a security consultancy founded by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Hayden also serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University School of Public Policy. Under President George W. Bush, his tenure as Director of the NSA and CIA involved sweeping changes and modernization to our Nation’s intelligence gathering methods and organizations. In the face of terrorist threats while addressing domestic critics on privacy & civil rights, he navigated a precarious path during a critical time of this nation’s security history. His involvement at the highest levels of our country’s security and his personal account of those years including where we stand today with our nation’s “state of intelligence”  in view of the ongoing terrorist threats, will be the subject of his speech and in more depth his recommended book.


General 9780143109983-fullsize-rgbMichael Hayden’s book, Playing to the Edge, was published on February 27th, 2017.

PLAYING TO THE EDGE chronicles Hayden’s tenure (1999-2009) when American intelligence had to respond to terrorism, a major war, and the most sweeping technological revolution in the last five hundred years. For ten years, he participate in every major event in American national security, the fallout and consequences of which are still unfolding today.

       Location: Westin Hotel (South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626)

Time: 11:30 AM Registration


If you would like to purchase a table, please call our office at (949)253-5751

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10th Annual Academic WorldQuest

World Affairs Council of Orange County

Invites you to participate in our

10th Annual Academic WorldQuest
March 4th, 2017


Register Your OC High School Team Today!

Academic WorldQuest is a team competition, held among Orange County high school students, testing students’ knowledge of global affairs. This year the local winning team from Orange County will have the opportunity to participate in the National Academic WorldQuest in Washington DC on April 29th, 2017! Recruit your team of trivia all-stars and join us for an afternoon of fun, food, and friendly competition!

Who: One team of 4 students per high school

Cost: There is no fee to participate

What: Academic WorldQuest competition is to be held on Saturday, February 25th, 2017 in Orange County. Teams respond to a combination of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, and open-ended questions in the following categories:

Current Events
Great Decisions
Peace and Conflict in Today’s World (USIP)
Combating Infectious Disease
European Union
Countering Violent Extremism
Global Megacities
Women in Technology

When: Saturday, March 4th, 2017

Time: 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Location: Chapman University

Attire: Business casual
Things to note: Please do not bring any additional study guides or study materials to the competition. All writing utensils, paper, and further materials needed to compete will be provided. Snacks will be provided, and dinner will be served after the competition.

Registration: – A teacher registers the team by emailing us at

How: Preparation – A study guide will be mailed to you when your team is confirmed.

Why it is Important: Academic WorldQuest is a great way for students to learn and engage in international affairs through fun and challenging activities along with being able to include their experience on their resume or college applications. This year the local winning team from Orange County will have the opportunity to participate in the National Academic WorldQuest in Washington.


                                                                                BE A SPONSOR! 


Be an Academic WorldQuest 2017 Underwriter

                                              WINNING TEAM LODGING SPONSOR                   $900

1 Student Lodging Sponsor                       $180

2 Student Lodging Sponsors                     $360

3 Student Lodging Sponsors                     $540

4 Students Lodging Sponsor                     $720

                                                          WINNING TEAM FLIGHT SPONSOR    $2500

1 Student Flight Sponsor             $500

2 Students Flight Sponsor           $1000

3 Students Flight Sponsor           $1500

4 Students Flight Sponsor           $2000

Please send your checks to World Affairs Council of Orange County, 2102 Business Center Dr., Irvine, CA 92612 or call our office at (949)-253-5751



         Thank you to our Sponsors!

Hon. James Gray – Future Leader Awards Sponsor – $300

Norman Tanber – 2 Students Flight Sponsor – $1000

Jeff Hobert – 1 Student Flight Sponsor – $500

John Lafare – Future Leader Awards Sponsor – $300

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“The Russian Threat to the US and the Democracies Around the World”

Save the Date

{ Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 }

“The Russian Threat to the US and the Democracies Around the World”

Congressman Adam Schiff represents California’s 28th Congressional District, and throughout his tenure in Congress, he has focused on growing the economy, bolstering national security, strengthening our communities, helping small businesses and improving education, safety and healthcare for our children. In his eighth term in the House of Representatives, Schiff currently serves as the Ranking Member, or top Democrat, of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (which oversees all of the nation’s intelligence agencies) and as a Member of the Benghazi Select Committee.

Before he was elected to Congress, Schiff served as State Senator for California’s 21st State Senate District, chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Juvenile Justice and the Joint Committee on the Arts. He also worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for six years, most notably prosecuting the first FBI agent ever to be indicted for espionage.


Location: Westin Hotel South Coast Plaza
(South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 )

Time: 5:45 PM Registration/Reception


Building Our Global Community

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Where Obama Was & Where Trump Is Going in the Middle East, with Russian, Iran & Syria


{Wednesday, March 1st, 2017}

“Where Obama Was & Where Trump Is Going in the Middle East, with Russia, Iran & Syria”


Michael Doran

Senior Director for the National Security Council under President George W. Bush

doran_michael                                   Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute

Certainly with the new Trump Administration, US policy in the Middle East is certain to change. How significant will be the changes and how will the adversarial issues with Russia and Syria be addressed in this context? With the fall of Aleppo to the Assad forces, the facts on the ground have dramatically changed. Russia and Iran have achieved their strategic goal of leaving the Assad regime in place, at least for now.  A less confrontational approach toward Russia but a more aggressive one against Iran by the new administrations will present an interesting dichotomy on formulating US policy in this region. Much of the future is unknown but what is certain is that US Policy will markedly change and reflect both the reality of a devastated Syria still ruled by the dynastic Assad regime and the Administration’s stated goal  to formulate a “coalition” with Russia against ISIS or whatever entity or entities metastasize from the eventual defeat of the defacto “state” created by this terror group.

We are honored to have as our guest speaker Mr. Michael Doran a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC and formerly a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. Mr. Doran served as a Senior Director in the National Security Council under President George W. Bush where he was responsible for helping to devise and coordinate United States strategies on a variety of Middle East issues, including Arab-Israeli relations and U.S. efforts to contain Iran and SyriaHe also served in the Bush administration as a senior adviser in the State Department and as deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon.  He has held teaching positions at NYU, Princeton, and the University of Central Florida. He is the author of Pan-Arabism before Nasser, which analyzes the first Arab-Israeli war as an inter-Arab conflict, and is now completing a book for Simon and Schuster about President Eisenhower and the Middle East. He appears frequently in the media, and has published extensively in Foreign Affairs, The American Interest, Commentary, Mosaic Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Location: The Westin Hotel South Coast Plaza

(South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626)

Time: 5:45 PM Registration/Reception


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“Muslim Reform Movement: Is This Necessary and Why?”

SAVE THE DATE : Wednesday January 25th, 2017

“Muslim Reform Movement: Is This Necessary and Why?

Panel Discussion 


Salam Al-Marayati


 Zuhdi Jasser, M.D.

The primary issue that confronts the Muslim community both here in the US and other Western Countries is the possible reconciliation and integration of Islamic teachings with Western Liberal Democratic Values. Does Islam need to be reformed from the teachings at some of the Islamic centers in order to conform to Western Democracies or is it simply a misapplication of those teachings by individuals or groups who use Islam as a tool of terrorism for violent political action in the West? In any case, the questions of whether Islam as currently preached in the West, leads naturally to conflict and whether its need to be harmonized with Democratic Values is possible, will be addressed by our two very dynamic and knowledgeable speakers.


Salam Al Marayati is nationally recognized for his commitment to improving the public understanding of Islam and policies impacting American Muslims, Salam is president and co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He is also a board member of the Muslim Reform Institute. He oversees MPAC’s groundbreaking civic engagement, public policy, and advocacy work.

He is an expert on Islam in the West, Muslim reform movements, human rights, democracy, national security, and Middle East politics. He has spoken at the White House, Capitol Hill and represented the U.S. at international human rights and religious freedom conferences.

His writings have appeared in every major national news publication (including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times), and his interviews have been featured on national and international news outlets (including CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and C-SPAN).


A devout Muslim, Dr. Jasser founded AIFD (American Islamic Forum for Democracy) in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. Dr. Jasser is a first generation American Muslim whose parents fled the oppressive Baath regime of Syria in the mid-1960’s for American freedom. He is leading the fight to shake the hold that the Muslim Brotherhood and their network of American Islamist organizations and mosques seek to exert on organized Islam in America.

Venue: The Fairmont Hotel Newport Beach

{4500 MacArthur Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92660}

Wednesday January 25th, 2017

Time: 5:45 PM Registration/Reception


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NIPOC (Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County) 2017 Economic Forecast



Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County

January Special Event
To the memory of our beloved
Dr. Esmael Adibi

2017 Economic Forecast
U.S., California & Orange County

Economic Forecast by: Dr. James L. Doti

President Emeritus and Donald Bren Distinguished Chair of Business and Economics
Chapman University

Thursday, January 19, 2017, 6pm-9pm
Hotel Irvine – 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, CA

Admission & Dinner:
NIPOC & SBG Members: $80
Affiliated Members (IAWF, WAC, ISCC) $80
Non-Members: $95
Corporate Tables (10 seats & dinner) $750
Business Display Table: $250 (Includes Logo on Screen)
Business Logo on Big Screens: $200

If you would like to attend the event, please call World Affairs Council of Orange County at (949)-253-5751 or e-mail us at

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