Past Speakers/Events

Annual Trustee Luncheon 2017

Sunday, September 10th, 2017




Annual Trustee Luncheon 2017

 (Trustees Only)



The Annual Trustees Meeting is an important event for the Council. Attending Board of Trustees will be asked to elect the Council’s Executive Board and Officers for the coming year. In addition, Board Chairman, Serge Tomassian, 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, as a member of  the Board of Trustees to ask questions, comment, and offer suggestions and recommendations for the Council’s activities over the coming year.

WACOC Trustee – $65


Balboa Bay Club & Resort

 (1221 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663)


 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM


If you wish to attend, please call WACOC office at (949)-253-5751 or e-mail us at


Please RSVP and send in your dietary restrictions by Thursday, August 31st, 2017



Refund request will not be accepted after registration deadline

Cancellations must be made no later than the registration deadline

Read more

Annual General Membership Meeting with Ambassador Howard Gutman – “Europe: An Ambassador’s Perspective On What No One Will Tell You”

Wednesday, September 27th 2017




Annual General Membership Meeting

“Europe: An Ambassador’s Perspective On What No One Will Tell You”




Ambassador (Rtd) Howard Gutman

 Former US Ambassador to Belgium



Who is Europe and why are they saying those things about us?  Who is the second most dangerous threat to the U.S.-European relationship? Is Brexit the divorce that never happens?  How did the US snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the US-EU TTIP Trade Deal?  What none of the politicians know about climate and the Paris deal?  European terrorism and how to stop it?  The Odd Couples:  Merkel-Macron; Orban- Duda; Trump-Tillerson. An inside Washington perspective on other parts of the world as well.

Ambassador (Rtd) Howard Gutman served as the United States Ambassador to Belgium from 2009-2013.  One leading European newspaper dubbed him “the Ambassador who makes us love America again!”  while another described him as “the most popular Ambassador ever.”  A former United States Supreme Court law clerk (for Justices Stewart and O’Connor), former Special Assistant to the Director of the FBI (William Webster) for Counter-intelligence and Counter-terrorism; and former 27 year leading attorney is Washington DC (Williams & Connolly), Ambassador (Rtd) Gutman is now the Managing Director of The Gutman Group, an international consulting and investment firm.  He is a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Belgian television, a frequent speaker for companies and associations in Belgium, London and the US, serves on the board of directors of a publicly-traded Belgian company and privately held U.S. ventures, and publishes often in the Washington Post, Politico, and the Huffington Post on both US politics and geopolitics.  Along with his wife Dr. Michelle Loewinger, Ambassador (Rtd) Gutman spends roughly one week/month in Belgium and the remainder in Washington DC.


Location: The Pacific Club ( 4110 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92660)

Time: 5:45 PM Registration/ Reception

6:45 PM Dinner / Speaker Program

$50 Student/ $70 WACOC Member/ $85 Non-Member

Valet Complimentary




Read more

“Losing An Enemy: Obama, Iran & the Triumph of Diplomacy” with Dr. Trita Parsi

Thursday, September 7th 2017




Dr. Trita Parsi

Founder & President of National Iranian American Council (NIAC) & Author



Dr. Trita Parsi is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert in US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press 2007), for which he conducted more than 130 interviews with senior Israeli, Iranian and American decision-makers. Parsi was born in Iran but moved with his family at the age of four to Sweden in order to escape political repression in Iran. His father was an outspoken academic and non-Muslim who was jailed by the Shah and then by the Ayatollah. He moved to the United States as an adult and studied Foreign Policy at John Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies where he received his Ph.D.

Parsi has followed Middle East politics through work in the field and extensive experience on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations. He is frequently consulted by Western and Asian governments on foreign policy matters. Parsi has worked for the Swedish Permanent Mission to the UN, where he served in the Security Council, handling the affairs of Afghanistan, Iraq, Tajikistan and Western Sahara, and in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, addressing human rights in Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq.

 He is fluent in Persian/Farsi, English, and Swedish. Parsi’s articles on Middle East affairs have been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, and The American Conservative. He is a frequent guest on CNN, PBS Newshour, NPR, the BBC and Al Jazeera.

LOCATION:  Orange County Mining Co.  (10000 S Crawford Canyon Road, Santa Ana, CA 92705)


Time: 5:45 PM        Registration/ Reception

                                              Hors d’oeuvres will be served

                                  7:00 PM         Lecture/ Q & A/ Book Signing Event


Read more

“The US and China, Allies or Adversaries in Resolving the North Korean Nuclear Crisis”

Wednesday, July 12th 2017


Discussion with


 Ambassador Christopher Hill

Former Head of the US Delegation to the Six Party Talk on the North Korea Nuclear Issue

Former Ambassador to the Republic of Korea




Clayton Dube

Executive Director of USC U.S.- China Institute


“The US and China, Allies or Adversaries in Resolving the North Korean Nuclear Crisis”



Ambassador Christopher Hill is a former career diplomat, a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents. Prior to Iraq, Hill served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs during which he was also the head of the U.S. delegation to the Six Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Earlier, he was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (2004-2005). Ambassador Hill’s last post was as Ambassador to Iraq (April 2009-August 2010) and was also the Special Envoy to Kosovo. He also served as a Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director on the staff of the National Security Council. Ambassador Hill is the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, a position he has held since September 2010. In addition to overseeing the Josef Korbel School, Ambassador Hill is author of the book “Outpost: A Diplomat at Work“; a monthly columnist for Project Syndicate; and a highly sought public speaker and voice in the media on international affairs.


clayton-dube-EditClayton Dube heads the USC  U.S.-China Institute, which focuses on the multidimensional and always changing U.S.-China relationship. Dube has earned teachings awards at three universities. Trained as a historian, he first lived in China in 1982-85 and carried out research there in 1989-1991-92. He’s visited another fifty-plus times for research, teaching, and to lead groups of students and teachers. Dube is a director of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) and serves on the editorial boards of Education about Asia and the International Review of Chinese Studies. He was previously associate editor of Modern China. Dube has produced several documentary films and consulted on others. The best known of these is the twelve-part Assignment:China series on American media coverage of China since the 1940s.


LOCATION: Orange Hill Restaurant (6410 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869)


TIME: 5:00 PM Private Reception

                         5:45 PM General Registration/Reception

                         6:40 PM Dinner/Speaker Program

Private Reception & Dinner $100

Dinner + Program (Private Reception not included) – WACOC Member: $65

 Dinner + Ptogram (Private Reception not included) – Non-Member: $80

  Dinner + Program (Private Reception not included) –  Student: $40

Valet Complimentary





Refund request will not be accepted after the registration deadline (July 6th)

Cancellations must be made no later than the registration date (July 6th)

Read more

“Crisis in the Persian Gulf – Saudi Arabia et al. vs. Qatar – Where Will This Lead? with Dr. Jerrold D. Green – President & CEO of the Pacific Council on International Policy

Monday, June 26th 2017


Dinner with Dr. Jerrold D. Green

President & CEO of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Research Professor of Communications, Business & International Relations at USC


  “Crisis in the Persian Gulf – Saudi Arabia et al. vs. Qatar – Where Will This Lead?”


Jerrold Green1


The worst Gulf crisis since the invasion of Kuwait ignited last week (beginning of June).  The small but influential and wealthy Persian Gulf monarchy of Qatar found itself the recipient of a surprise air, sea, trade, and diplomatic blockade launched by several countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, following a trip to the region by US President Trump.

Over the last few decades Qatar has become a major player in the region and global economy, becoming the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, launching Al Jazeera, the Arab World’s most influential media network, planning to host the 2022 World Cup, and positioning itself as a key US ally.  Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base is the largest US airbase in the region.  The base became crucial for US operations in the region after Saudi Arabia asked US forces to leave after the 9/11 attacks, ultimately providing a regional headquarters for operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and more recently, against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

While acting as an important US ally, Qatar has been accused at the same time of funneling money to extremist groups in the region, cozying up to Iran, and stoking the ideology of political Islam which many neighbors see as a threat to the monarchial ruling system in the Gulf. Many see these aggressive moves by the Saudi lead coalition as another manifestation of the power struggle between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia for hegemony in the Gulf region.

A failure to mediate the stand-off could disrupt the stability of the world’s energy resources, rupture the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, and have grave consequences for the US and its allies in their operations in the region. A further destabilization of the Middle East, after Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and of course the simmering Israeli/Palestinian conflict may lead to a regional conflict which could have world- wide and super power consequences.  By adding the Qatar crisis to this already fragile region a “tipping point’ may soon be reached.


The Golden Orange Award


will be presented to

Mr. Errol Mathieu


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



                                            6:45 PM DINNER/ SPEAKER PROGRAM


 $75 Members/ $90 Members/ $55 Student


$6 Self Parking 



Read more

Trans-Atlantic Policy & Prosperity in the Brexit/Trump Era

The British American Business Council, the Orange County Forum and the World Affairs Council of Orange County are sponsoring:

British Style Business Debate


“Trans-Atlantic Policy & Prosperity in the Brexit/Trump Era



Gary Sherwin- President & CEO – Visit Newport Beach


John Shu – Attorney & Media – Broadcast Analyst



David Bahnsen – Founder – The Bahnsen Group


Mitch Wexler – Partner – Fragomen Worldwide



John Page- Senior Corporate Vice President Golden State Foods


2016 was undoubtedly a year of dramatic change in direction for the expectations of an enormous number of people. The vote for Brexit in the UK and the election of Donald Trump have repercussions that will continue to reverberate throughout the world for many years to come. The possible scenarios relating to the future of the UK, the European Union and the USA are many and varied. Major impacts relating to Trade and Investment, Security, Immigration, International Travel and Energy Resource Management are but some of the concerns that have come to the fore. Disappointingly – the shrill voices of the media and the pundits frequently leave much to be desired by those who wish to be better informed.

Join us to hear a distinguished panel present their ideas of the “landscape” that they visualize over the next four years, relating to their area of expertise. Each speaker will make 3 to 5 predictions which will be open to challenge, with no holds barred, bu the moderator, the other panelists and the audience. The speakers will vie to win the hearts and minds of the audience based on the strength and persuasiveness of their arguments in support of their predictions.

The Westin South Coast Plaza (686 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa)

6:00 PM Registration/Reception

6:45 PM Dinner. Followed by Panel Discussion and vote

Reservations a must!


Read more

Annual Summer Garden Party



Annual Summer Garden Party


The World Affairs Council of Orange County is partnering with the British American Business Council (BABC) for their Annual Summer Garden Party!


We cordially invite you, your friends and business collegues to join The British American Business Council and The World Affairs Council of Orange County for a wonderful afternoon on the cliff top at the Montage Resort, Laguna Beach.

  • Sumptous Afternoon Tea With Pimms, champagne, lemonade and tea

  • Silent Auction (Benefiting our Scholarship Program)

  • Hat Competition (optional) Prize for the best hat

  • Enjoy & shop British accessories

montage-laguna-beach-5Sunday June 4th 2017

Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Location: Montage Laguna Beach (30801 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651)





Read more






Thursday May 11th, 2017


WACOC Trustee and long- time members, Dr. Harry Sahota and his wife Dr. Asha Sahota, would like to invite the Trustees of the World Affairs Council of Orange County for our Spring Trustees Social & State of the Council by Chairman Serge Tomassian. There will also be a special meeting of the Board of Trustees to fill vacancies in the Board membership.


Special Guest – Congressman Ed Royce




To reserve your ticket please call 949-253-5751 or e-mail at

Please RSVP by Friday April 28th, 2017


Read more

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

Read more

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


Read more