Past Speakers/Events

12/03/2014 Bridging Borders through Sounds of the World

World Affairs Council of Orange County


Bridging Borders through Sounds of the World


A Holiday Celebration


Carl St. Clair

Music Director, Pacific Symphony


Carl St. Clair, Conductor and Music Director of Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Costa Rica National Symphony Orchestra will take us on a journey in the world of music and its power to “Bridge Borders” among cultures.

For 25 years under his leadership, the Pacific Symphony has pioneered  a wide range of programs and activities that have brought together diverse cultures and ethnicities, including commissioning and premiering a symphony for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and collaborating with musicians and conductors from Mexico, Syria, China and many other countries.  From 2008 to 2010 he was the general music director for the Komische Oper in Berlin.  In 2014 he assumed the position of music director for the National Symphony Orchestra in Costa Mesa.  He has appeared with orchestras throughout the world from Israel to Japan, Hong Kong to Australia, and South America to Europe.

Maestro St. Clair’s presentation will be augmented by musical performances by two outstanding artists.

Navid Kandelousi is a highly accomplished violinist who has performed with orchestras in France, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom after completing studies at the Verdi Conservatory in Milano, Italy and at the Moscow Violin Academy in Moscow.  He has played both the violin and traditional Persian instruments such as the Kamanchah, Setar, and Taar at numerous venues, including the Lincoln Center, Julliard music school, Albert Hall and Sydney’s Symphony Hall.

Grace Zhou is only 12 years old and a student at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, but has already performed her piano wizardry at Carnegie Hall, the Robert Mondavi Performing Arts Center at the University of California Davis and the Spotlight Concert on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  She appeared with the internationally acclaimed Lang Lang on “The Tonight Show” and the winner of the piano award in the Junior Division of the Modavi Center’s annual Young Artists Competition.

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

Congratulations Maestro
To honor Conductor St. Clair on his 25 years with the Pacific Symphony, we are offering you an opportunity to congratulate him in our commemorative program. Please see details when registering for this event.




VIP Reception:                 6:00 pm  Premium Members

General Reception:         6:00 pm

Dinner:                               7:00 pm

Program:                             7:45 pm

Members:                           $110.00

Non-Members:                $130.00

Member table of Ten:   $1,000.00

Student:                              $55.00

Commemorative Program:    $50 Half  page      $100 Full page

Building Our Global Community

Read more

11/10/2014 The Ukraine Tragedy – How the West and Russia Overplay

Download Presentation “The Ukraine Crisis – Oystein Noreng”

(From November 10, 2014 at the Center Club)


World Affairs Council of Orange County


Øystein Noreng


 Former Professor of Petroleum Economics and Management at BI Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, Norway


Monday, November 10, 2014

Location: Center Club

650 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

VIP Reception: 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm (Premium Members only)

General Reception: 6:00 pm Dinner: 7:00 pm Program: 7:45 pm

Members: $60.00

Non-Members $70.00

Table of Ten: $550.00 (purchased by Members)

Student: $45.00 Student Program Only: $10.00

Thank you to Norm Tanber, Trustee WACOC, for sponsoring our guest speaker from Norway.


Professor Øystein Noreng is Norway’s leading energy economist and a profoundly insightful commentator on the geopolitical factors affecting global energy markets. He has authored many international articles and books, most notable Oil on the Fire, an account on the United States and the Iraq War. He was a research fellow for the Norwegian Humanities Research Council from 1968-1971. Professor Noreng has had numerous teaching and research assistant assignments at Norwegian and foreign universities and institutions. He has been a consultant for numerous Norwegian, foreign, and international public and private organizations including the governments of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the US State Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, the International Energy Agency, and several oil and gas companies. There will be a private reception for our Premium Members prior to the dinner and program. Please contact Becky Williams at the WAC office to learn more about this event and about becoming a Premium Member.

Building Our Global Community

Read more

10/16/2014 – Hidden No More: Exposing Human Trafficking in Orange County

30 Minute Film followed by expert Panel Discussion

World Affairs Council of Orange County


Combating Human Trafficking


The goal of this program is to increase awareness in the United States of the underlying causes and profound dangers of human trafficking.

Please join the World Affairs Council of Orange County, in partnership with the World Affairs Council of America and a generous grant from Carlson & the Carlson Family Foundation for a panel discussion on combating human trafficking. We will bring together law enforcement officials, victims advocates, and subject matter experts for a panel discussion to raise awareness of the issue. The panel will also highlight legislation being advanced at the federal level that will help prevent sex trafficking.

Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014

Location: Port Theater in Corona Del Mar
2905 East Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

(949) 723-6333

This will be a 30 minute movie screening with a panel discussion to follow.The Moderator will be Annie Kim from UNICEF.

Panelists include:

Lita Mercado (OC Human Trafficking Task Force)
Craig Friesen (Lt from Anaheim Police Dept)
Sandra Morgan (Director for Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University)
Sara Catalan (Chief of Staff, Congressman Ed Royce’s office)

A program of the World Affairs Councils of America with support provided by a grant from Carlson & the Carlson Family Foundation.



Read more

9/22/2014 – Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce at the Annual General Membership Dinner

World Affairs Council

of Orange County 


Congressman Ed Royce 

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

at the Annual General Membership Dinner



World Affairs Council of Orange County is proud to host Congressman Ed Royce at the first Annual General Membership (AGM) dinner for the 2014-15 year on Monday, September 22nd.

The AGM meeting is the kick-off to a brand new year of events and programming. WAC is excited with the lineup of speakers and panels that we are assembling for 2014-2015. The world has many challenges and the U.S. continues to be instrumental in leading and finding solutions. WAC welcomes all new and and old members. This is an opportunity for the general membership to meet the incoming Executive Board and the new class of trustees and provide feedback on what members would like to see from World Affairs Council of Orange County.

Congressman Royce represents the 39th district of California and has served in the House of Representatives for 11 terms. He is the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a leading policymaker on terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and the role of the US in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. With the Middle East currently in chaos, Ukraine in crisis, and a multitude of other challenges around the globe, World Affairs Council is honored to have Congressman Royce address the Council as a distinguished speaker at this very important annual event.

There will be a private reception for our Premium Members prior to the Annual General Membership dinner. Please contact the WAC office to learn more about this event and about becoming a Premium Member.

Date: Monday, September 22, 2014

Location: Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel

686 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, Ca. 92626 

Self Parking – Complimentary (included in price)

Read more

9/7/2014 – Annual Trustees Luncheon

World Affairs Council

of Orange County 

Cordially invites our Trustees to attend the

 Annual Trustees Luncheon 

join us for Breathtaking Views
Overview of the “State of the Council”at the

Balboa Bay Club & Resort


You are invited and requested to attend the Annual Trustees Luncheon of the Council’s Board of Trustees, which will be held on Sunday, September 7, 2014. Spouses and guests also are invited to attend.The Annual Trustees Meeting is an important event for the Council. You will be asked to elect the Council’s Executive Board and Officers for the coming year. In addition, Board Chairman, Leslie McNamara, will provide the overview of the “State of the Council”, and special reports will be provided by our Council’s officers on our finances and investments, our program results, our educational outreach efforts and our membership status. There will also be time for you to ask questions, comment, and offer suggestions and recommendations for the Council’s activities over the coming year.

Participation in the Annual Trustees Meeting is a key responsibility of our Trustees, and we value your advice, guidance, and feedback very highly. We look forward to seeing you.

Date: Sunday, September 7, 2014

Location: Balboa Bay Club & Resort 

1221 West Coast Highway
The Commodore Room
Newport Beach, Ca. 92663

Price: $75.00

11:30 am Reception * 12:00 pm Lunch * 12:45 pm Meeting

Read more

June 23rd Ryan Issakainen At The Center Club


World Affairs Council of Orange County welcomes Ryan Issakainen.

Senior Vice President, Exchange-Traded Fund Strategist for First Trust Advisors


Event Sponsor: First Trust and Roya Cole, Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley

Ryan Issakainen is Senior Vice President, Exchange-Traded Fund Strategist for First Trust Advisors, L.P. Since joining First Trust in January of 2000, Mr. Issakainen has worked in various capacities with Unit Investment Trusts, Closed-Ended Funds, Structured Products, and Exchange-Traded Funds.

As an ETF Strategist at First Trust, Ryan provides in-depth analysis and commentary related to ETF investing, including a monthly ETF webcast for financial advisors, and a quarterly ETF newsletter. In addition to his research responsibilities, Ryan speaks at various ETF industry events and conferences throughout the country.

Mr. Issakainen has appeared on a number of radio and television outlets including CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg Radio, and WBBM Newsradio 780. In addition, he has given interviews to numerous print outlets including Investor’s Business Daily, Bloomberg, Reuters, InvestmentNews, Investment Advisor Magazine,, Index Universe, MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, US News and World Report, and Fortune Magazine.

Ryan holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. He resides in upstate New York with his wife Lauren and children Abigail, Joshua, and Caleb.

Date: Monday, June 23, 2014

Location: The Center Club
650 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, Ca. 92626

Price: TBD

6:00 pm Reception * 7:00 pm Dinner * 7:45 pm Program

Read more

June 22nd Afternoon Garden Tea Party

World Affairs Council of Orange County

British American Business Council OC

Request the pleasure of your company

For breathtaking views at our
Champagne High Tea
at the fabulous

Montage Resort
30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Sunday – June 22, 2014
1:00 PM – 3:30 PM

A sumptuous afternoon tea, served with
Pimms, Champagne, Lemonade and Tea

Prize for the best hat
Silent Auction
Music, Champagne, Pimms, & Art
*Hats optional

Silent Auction benefiting
WAC and BABC Educational Outreach Programs

Members $75 * Non-Members $85

For questions, or should you wish to donate a SILENT AUCTION item
please contact Karen @ 949 253-5751

Read more

June 12th Chris O’Connor, British Consul General and Dr. Bernd Fischer, German Consul General

World Affairs Council of Orange CountyandBritish American Business Councilpresents

Consul General Panel:

The Honorable Chris O’Connor,
Consul General of Britain


The Honorable Dr. Bernd Fischer,
Consul General of Germany

Moderator: Serge Tomassian

“Consul General Panel – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)”

In the past two decades the world has seen a push towards free trade agreements between nations and economic blocs. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aims to expand the already massive trade relationship between the US and the European Union. Its proponents argue that the new trade agreement’s elimination of tariffs and reduction of differences in regulations and standards will boost both economies by as much as $301 billion a year. Both economies already maintain the largest investment relationship in the world at over $3.7 trillion.
What are the biggest challenges facing this agreement? What are the projected gains for various industries in the US and EU? How can the US and the EU successfully coordinate their divergent regulations on health standards and the environment? How should the parties respond to popular protests against the agreement? Two distinguished Consuls General will address these issues at a panel discussion at an upcoming WACOC dinner program. British Consul General Chris O’Connor
Chris O’Connor most recently served as the UK’s Ambassador to Tunisia from November 2008 to June 2013. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1993. Since then he’s been posted in Cairo, Riyadh, Brussels, Ottawa, Beirut and Tunis. He also worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office headquarters in London.
In London he worked on Southern European issues, United Nations issues and as Head of the Middle East Peace Process Team from 2004-2005.In the Middle East/North Africa region he was posted in Cairo (1995-96) as Attache, with the purpose of learning Arabic, Riyadh as Second Secretary (1996-1999) and Beirut as Deputy Head of Mission (2006-2008). Outside of the region he worked at the UK delegation to NATO, where he focused on Kosovo issues and as Head of Political Section in Ottawa (2000-2003). Chris also had the opportunity to work on secondment to the Canadian Department for Foreign Affairs (1999-2000).

Chris is married to Martha Nelems who is Canadian. They have two daughters. He spends most of his leisure time enjoying their company, but he also plays tennis and snooker when the opportunity arises and enjoys a range of other sports.

German Consul General Dr. Bernd Fischer
Dr. Bernd Fischer, who holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from Heidelberg University and most recently served as German Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, has been head of the German Consulate General in Los Angeles since July 10, 2012. Prior posts of his Foreign Service career include the embassies in Washington, Tokyo, New York and various positions at the German Foreign Office headquarters in Bonn and Berlin. As Consul General in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah he seeks to foster and deepen German-American relations.

Date: Thursday, June 12, 2014Location: Hotel Irvine
17900 Jamboree Rd.,Irvine, Ca. 92614Self Parking – Complimentary (included in ticket price)6:00 pm General Reception * 7:00 pm Dinner * 7:45 pm Program

Members – $60 * Non-Members – $75
Member (Table of 10) – $550 * Non-Member (Table of 10) – $700 * Student – $45

Member – Program Only – $10

Read more

May 20th “America: A Nation of Immigrants” At Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel

World Affairs Council of Orange County in cooperation with the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) presents “America: A Nation of Immigrants” and presentation of the Ellis Island Humanitarian Award to Herbert V. Nootbaar.

At this unique World Affairs Council event, Herbert V. Nootbaar will be honored with the Ellis Island Humanitarian Award, presented by Mr. Nasser J. Kazeminy, Chairman of the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations which sponsors the prestigious Ellis Island Medals of Honor celebrating American diversity and honoring individuals who have made an indelible mark upon the nation. Mr. Nootbaar will be recognized for his extraordinary achievements in business, humanitarian endeavors and significant contributions to the nation. As a distinguished national leader in agribusiness, Mr. Nootbaar’s visionary leadership and philanthropic generosity were the foundation of the Herb and Elinor Institute on Law, Religion and Ethics at Pepperdine University. In addition to his numerous accomplishments and contributions in a life extending for more than 105 years, his continued leadership as a Trustee of the World Affairs Council of Orange County is one of which we are especially proud.

Panel Includes 2014 and past Ellis Island Medal honorees:

Following the presentation by Chairman Kazeminy to Mr. Nootbaar, a panel of Ellis Island Medalists, including two 2014 Medal recipients, will discuss the meaning of America as an immigrant nation, including their personal stories and those of their families…stories that will educate, enlighten and inspire.

• Bijan Kian – Immediate past Director of the US Export-Import Bank, appointed by the President
• Gaddi Vasquez – Former Director of the Peace Corps and Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, appointed by the President
• Charles Zhang – Entrepreneur and founder of Pick UP Stix restaurant line and Asceptic Solutions, USA
• Goli Ameri – Former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, appointed by the President

Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Location: Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel
686 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, Ca. 92626

Self Parking – Complimentary (included in price)

6:00 pm General Reception * 7:00 pm Dinner * 7:45 pm Program

Members – $65 * Non-Members – $80
Member (Table of 10) – $600 * Non-Member (Table of 10) – $750
Member – ½ table (5 seats) – $300 * Student – $45
Member – Program Only: $15 (No Meal and No Parking) – Arrive at 7:30 pm

Read more

May 7th New Member Dinner and Reception At Residence of Dr. Parmis Khatibi, Laguna Niguel


The World Affairs Council of Orange County will be having a New Member Reception to welcome new members as well as give them an opportunity to mix, mingle, and meet our Executive Board.

Hear directly from leaders at the Council and learn more about the benefits you receive as a member. The evening will include Persian dinner, wine reception and interaction!

New Member Dinner and Reception

Date: Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Time: 6pm-8:30pm
Welcoming remarks and introduction to Executive Board, followed by Persian dinner, wine reception and mingling

Member Price: $25

Location: Residence of Dr. Parmis Khatibi,
Laguna Niguel

Limited Space
Must RSVP by Friday, May 2nd

Read more