President’s Letter

Lee WilwerdingAs we begin the 2015-2016 Program Year, we are also initiating new leadership for the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head. I have become the President, Margaret McManus joins me as the new Vice-President while Mike Finnerty continues as Secretary-Treasurer. Blaine Lotz and Mike Fritz have “retired” from the Board of Directors after six years of membership, three of which were in leadership positions. They, along with the rest of the Board, have presided over unprecedented growth with the membership now approaching 1000.

What truly drives this organization is the quality of the Friday Speaker Series. For that we have Joan Deery and Marion Conlin, present and immediate past Chairpersons, and the Program Committee to thank. The Committee meets monthly and spends countless hours researching potential speakers. They also listen and watch numerous YouTube video presentations to ensure that a prospective speaker will enlighten and stimulate our members.

Last year we scored several firsts for the series. Two non-US ambassadors, the former ambassadors from Pakistan and Iran, elicited numerous favorable comments including “It’s good to hear a view from the other side.” When bad weather closed the Washington DC area airports, WAC held our first Skype presentation. Thanks once again to the Program Committee which had been investigating this option and Harold Hauer and the First Presbyterian technical crew conducted a dry run to ensure that it was a seamless presentation.

You, our members, are a key component of our marketing department. Inviting your friends and neighbors to accompany you to a Friday Speaker session has resulted in many of them becoming members. We appreciate your efforts in this regard and encourage you to continue.

In 2015 we began the monthly Evening Speaker Series in order to expand our audience for those folks who are not available to attend Friday morning presentations. It was a success. New and current members said they had signed up due to intellectual curiosity and the opportunity to learn about a range of topics in greater depth. The Board had set a minimum participation level in order to conduct the program. Since that figure was exceeded by 100%, the Evening Series will make an encore performance in January. Stay tuned for details.

Other upcoming events on the calendar in September will be a Film and Panel discussion on energy called the “Rational Middle Energy Series” and in November our Fall Forum will commence discussing the book “End of Power” by Moisés Naiam. Stay tuned to this space for further details on these events and our final Speaker line-up for the Fall and watch your email for specifics as we finalize these Programs.

Our Annual Meeting will be held at First Presbyterian Church on 18 September at 10:00 AM.

Your Board is dedicated to the concept of maintaining the World Affairs Council as THE intellectual and cultural beacon on the Island. We look forward to your continuing participation in the new Program Year, beginning 2 October, and we welcome new members to join us in this very stimulating organization.

Lee J. Wilwerding






World Affairs Council Hilton Head