World Affairs Council of Hilton Head

Upcoming events

    • 15 Jul 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • Webinar Meeting - details provided after registration

    Ashley Jenkins, Recycling Educator/Coordinator for Beaufort County

    Ashley Jenkins is a Lowcountry native who loves to inspire, create, and remind people that a throwaway society is not a sustainable society. She began her career in recycling in 2016 as the Recycling Educator/Coordinator for Beaufort County. As the Recycling Coordinator, she has made it her goal to get people to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle by creating awareness through education and engaging adults and youth of all ethnicity. With different outreach techniques and tools, she has been able to change the conversation about recycling with the help of colleagues and local organizations. By networking with Young Professionals of SWANA (Solid Waste Association of North America), CRA (Carolina Recycling Association), and Keep America Beautiful has allowed her to grow professionally as a Coordinator. Recycling education programs and social media tools are ways that Ashley strives to increase recycling participation, decrease contamination, and inspire a sustainable Beaufort County.

    Summer Forum events are free, but advanced registration is required. Once registered, you will be sent the webinar information one day before the event.

    • 19 Aug 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • Tide Pointe Retirement Community, 700 Tide Pointe Way, Hilton Head

    Rich Thomas, Lowcountry Author

    A leadership consultant, history buff and former corporate executive, Hilton Head Island resident Richard Thomas's first book, Backwater Frontier: Beaufort Country, SC at the Forefront of American History, was published by the Heritage Library Foundation in 2019. Backwater Frontier is a compilation of stories about significant events that took place in Beaufort County and were firsts of their kind in the U.S.

    A serial entrepreneur, Rich was a founding partner in three successful consulting companies, the founding CEO of the Outpatient Surgery Center of Hilton Head, and is currently the founder and President of Legacy Leadership of the Lowcountry.  He also conducts private guided tours of historic sites on Hilton Head and in the surrounding Lowcountry area, and, in his last consulting venture, he provided leadership and team development education to thousands of corporate executives using historic battlefield sites as classrooms. 

    Rich has guided hundreds of groups to locations including the Gettysburg, Normandy, Alamo, Little Bighorn and Waterloo battlefields, among others, over the past 15 years.  He is currently  starting a second business serving the cultural-heritage tourism market on Hilton Head.

    Rich graduated from Princeton University with a BA degree in East Asian Studies, and completed graduate field work in Cultural Anthropology in Southeast Asia with Thammasat University (Thailand) and the Siam Society. 

    A 20-year, fulltime resident of Hilton Head, Rich vacationed here annually beginning in 1971, when his parents moved to a home in Sea Pines. He now lives with his wife Suzanne in Hilton Head Plantation.  Locally he has been active in civic and educational affairs and is currently a Board member of the Heritage Library, the Santa Elena Foundation, and the Friends of Honey Hill and also serves on the Hilton Head Island A-Tax Advisory Committee as the Arts and Culture representative.  

    Read "It Happened Here First - New Book Highlights Beaufort County's Leading Role" in Hilton Head Monthly.

    Summer Forum events are free and open to the public.

    • 16 Sep 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • Tide Pointe Retirement Community, 700 Tide Pointe Way, Hilton Head

    George Kanuck, Lowcountry Immigration Coalition

    George Kanuck will discuss the past and current status of the immigrant community in the nation, state, and our local area.

    George Kanuck is a retired Public Health Analyst now residing the Lowcountry since 2007.  He served in the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1966, in part on board the USS William M. Wood (DD-715) during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  He then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from American University, in Washington DC, majoring in Communications and Political Science.  His career path began with the U.S. Customs Service from 1970 to 1977, the National Institute on Drug Abuse from 1977 to 1985, and finished as a Senior Public Health Advisor with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration from 1985 until his retirement in 2006.  He married his wife, Cheryl, in 2001.

    Upon his move to the Lowcountry, George became interested in acting as a Social Justice Advocate on behalf of the local immigrant community.  In 2010, he teamed with Eric Esquivel, long time Hilton Head resident and publisher of the bilingual La Isla Magazine to form the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition.   Eric and George aimed to educate, inform, communicate, and advocate for the Latino population which serves as a significant economic engine in our Beaufort County area. The Coalition has had some successes in opposing State anti-immigrant legislation and supporting the community, but the fight has been uphill.  The biggest task is for the passage of national legislation in the form of Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the future.  

    Summer Forum events are free and open to the public;
    no reservations are required

    • 02 Oct 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    World order is never in stasis for too long. And indeed, we seem to be witnessing a historic shift now. The relatively stable decades after World War II saw gains for global democracies, rapid economic growth fueled by globalization, and the birth of the Internet. But they also saw the speeding of global warming, widening inequality, and the scourge of transnational terrorism. The institutions and agreements that have grounded the modern international order are showing signs of weakness, while illiberal sentiment gathers strength across the West. Nationalism is having a moment. Europe is having an identity crisis. And China is challenging the dominance of the United States. How did we get here? What’s next?

    Douglas Lute - Biography

    Douglas Lute

    President, Cambridge Global Advisors, LLC

    Robert F. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Social Sciences, United States Military Academy, West Point

    Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

    Ambassador Douglas Lute is the former United States Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s standing political body.  Appointed by President Obama, he assumed the Brussels-based post in 2013 and served until 2017.   During this period he was instrumental in designing and implementing the 28-nation Alliance responses to the most severe security challenges in Europe since the end of the Cold War. 

    A career Army officer, in 2010 Lute retired from active duty as a lieutenant general after 35 years of service.  In 2007 President Bush named him as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor to coordinate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In 2009 he was the senior White House official retained by President Obama and his focus on the National Security Council staff shifted to South Asia.  Across these two Administrations, he served a total of six years in the White House.

    Before being assigned to the White House, General Lute served as Director of Operations (J3) on the Joint Staff, overseeing U.S. military operations worldwide.  From 2004 to 2006, he was Director of Operations for the United States Central Command, with responsibility for U.S. military operations in 25 countries across the Middle East, eastern Africa and Central Asia, in which over 200,000 U.S. troops operated.

    Through his military-diplomatic career, he received numerous honors and awards, including three awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the Grand Officer of the Order of Merit for the Italian Republic, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit for the Federal Republic of Germany.

    General Lute holds degrees from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and United States Military Academy at West Point, which named him a Distinguished Graduate in 2018.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, charter member of the Senior Military Advisory Group of the United States Institute of Peace, and a member of the board of the Atlantic Council of the United States. 

    • 23 Oct 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    Recent years have seen the old Communist enemies grow closer five decades after Kissinger’s opening to China.  Are we back to a new Cold War with the US and the West facing an united Russo-China front?  Both Moscow and Beijing share a deep resentment against Washington, propounding an alternative vision of a non-US-dominated world order.  But, in a switch, is Moscow willing to be the junior partner to China?  Or is the growing friendship a tactical move until Russian sanctions are dropped and China attains better terms with the US?  A real alliance or a marriage of convenience?


    Matthew BurrowsDr. Mathew J. Burrows serves as the director of the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. He was appointed counselor to the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in 2007 and director of the Analysis and Production Staff (APS) in 2010. As director of APS, Burrows was responsible for managing a staff of senior analysts and production technicians who guide and shepherd all NIC products from inception to dissemination. He was the principal drafter for the NIC publication Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, which received widespread recognition and praise in the international media and among academics and think tanks. In 2005, he was asked to set up and direct the NIC’s new Long Range Analysis Unit, which is now known as the Strategic Futures Group.

    Burrows joined the CIA in 1986, where he served as analyst for the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), covering Western Europe, including the development of European institutions such as the European Union. From 1998 to 1999 he was the first holder of the intelligence community fellowship and served at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Other previous positions included assignments as special assistant to the US UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke (1999-2001) and Deputy National Security Advisor to US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill (2001-02). He is a member of the DI’s Senior Analyst Service.

    Burrows graduated from Wesleyan University in 1976 and received a PhD in European history from Cambridge University, England in 1983.

    • 06 Nov 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EST)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928



    Maud Olofsson Take one look at international reports that measure different indices such as competition, productivity, economic growth, equal opportunities, innovation, quality of life, happiness, etc., and you often find the Nordic countries, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland at the top of these lists. It seems like these countries have done something right and also have something in common that has taken them to where they are today. How have these small countries, close to the arctic circle, that suffered poverty and population flight in the 1800’s, now topped so many surveys? It’s the so-called Nordic Model.

    These countries have developed thriving economies with common social values. Open markets and strong competition created many global businesses in diverse sectors and developed wealth for both individuals and society. Politically, the tradition has been to find consensus in the decision making process. Compromise has been a key factor when difficult decisions have been made from pension reform to tax systems to labor markets. These rules and agreements have helped both workers and companies grow and also created a stable market.

    Words like cooperation, consensus, and compromise are key words in our Nordic tradition. But also openness, social justice, equal rights and opportunities are core values for the whole society. These countries combine social safety and strong individualism at the same time. The private sector, the public sector, and NGOs have worked together on these values. 

    This is interesting to look at in a political context where conflict and differences are the new mantra. Globally, it seems like it’s better to find ways to disagree rather to find common ground. It seems better to talk about what divides us rather than what’s bringing us together; it’s very much about right or wrong. Of course these tendencies also reach the Nordic countries. The last financial crisis, globalization, digitalization and also a big migration to Europe are challenging for the region. A lot of people feel that things are getting worse when facts show the opposite. 

    So the question is: will it be possible for the Nordic countries to use their historically strong position of values and development to meet all these challenges? There’s a debate about if these common values of equal rights, free trade and a market economy are right for the future. So, is it possible to meet these challenges with new answers and who are the main actors?


    Maud Olofsson is the former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden (2006-2010) and Minister for Enterprise and Energy of Sweden. She is also a former party leader for the Swedish Centre Party. 

    Maud Olofsson has always been active in Nordic, European and global issues. During her time as Minister she worked with the Nordic Council to create a common energy market for the Nordic region. As Minister for Enterprise and Regional Development she worked to open the Nordic market and help Nordic companies enter the European marketplace.

    Maud Olofsson worked on the European level to coordinate the Nordic position in three EU councils: Energy, Competition and Regional Affairs. In 2009 Sweden was the chair of the European Union; Maud Olofsson led all negotiations in these three councils. During her tenure the EU developed an energy and climate package to reduce emissions and advance a sustainable energy market. 

    Olofsson was a leader of the Centre Party for 11 years and a champion for pro-European and Nordic cooperation. She has been active in politics since she was 14 years old. She has held positions on local, regional, national and European levels.  

    After stepping down as Party leader in 2011 Maud Olofsson became a member of the U.S. Department of State’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership (ICWBL) under the chairmanship of Secretary Hillary Clinton. While serving in the ICWBL, Maud Olofsson built an international women’s leadership program, “Women Leaders Up” with the McKinsey group in Sweden. She currently leads her own consulting firm, is president of the Swedish tourist organization Visita, and serves on the board for the confederation of Swedish Enterprise as well as several global companies.

    • 20 Nov 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EST)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928



    Australia is traditionally one of America’s closest allies, but it also increasingly relies on China for trade. That makes it a test case for the abiding question of our time – whether the US-led alliances that have sustained the Indo-Pacific since World War II can survive the rise of China. Does Australia have to choose between its longstanding security ally and its new economic partner? And what does that mean for the future of the West?


    Richard McGregor is a senior fellow for east Asia at the Lowy Institute, Australia’s premier foreign policy think tank, in Sydney. Mr McGregor is a former journalist and author who has won numerous awards for his reporting in China and east Asia. McGregor is an expert on the Chinese political system – his book, The Party, on the inner-workings of the Chinese Communist Party, published in 2010, was called a “masterpiece” by The Economist. Translated into seven languages, The Party was chosen by the Asia Society and Mainichi Shimbun in Japan as their book of the year in 2011. His latest book on Sino-Japanese relations, Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan and the Fate of US in the Pacific Century, published in 2017, was called “shrewd and knowing” by the Wall Street Journal and the “best book of the year” by the Literary Review in the UK. In late 2018, it was awarded the Prime Minister of Australia’s award for best non-fiction book of the year.

    As the Former Bureau Chief of Financial Times in Beijing and Washington D.C., he led a team of senior reporters in both capitals for one of the world’s biggest business newspaper. He has also been based in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Taipei. On top of the Financial Times, he has worked for the BBC, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the International Herald Tribune, The Australian and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He was born and spent the early years of his career in Australia.

    McGregor was a visiting scholar at the Wilson Center and George Washington University in Washington from 2014-2016.

    • 04 Dec 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EST)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    No matter who will be sitting in the Oval Office on January 21, 2021, they will be confronted with multiple nuclear crises. They will have to make choices that will affect whether we are living in a world in which the number of nuclear weapons is going up or going down. These choices will be related to both internal and external policies. Should we use nuclear weapons first in a crisis? Do we need more than one person involved in the authorization of a nuclear strike? Is it is a good idea to invest in new low-yield nuclear capabilities? Should we reenter what's left of the Iran Deal? How do we make arms control agreements with Russia when the trust between our nations is broken? 

    Alexandra Bell will outline current global nuclear threats and their related policy choices. She will then discuss how the President and Congress can and should respond to those threats. 


    Alexandra BellAlexandra Bell is the Senior Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation. Her areas of focus include bilateral and multilateral arms control and non-proliferation, Euro-Atlantic security, diplomacy, and Congressional affairs. Previously, Bell served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Before joining the Department of State in 2010, she worked on nuclear policy issues at the Ploughshares Fund and the Center for American Progress.

    Bell received a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the New School and a Bachelor’s degree in Peace, War and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From 2001-2003, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica. Bell is a Member of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) Board of Directors, a Deep Cuts Project Commissioner, a Truman National Security Fellow, a 2012-2017 Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, and a 2017 Munich Security Conference Young Leader.

    Bell has been quoted or published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Economist, the Guardian, the Raleigh News and Observer, the Seattle Times, Bloomberg, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Politico, Vox, The Daily Beast, Time Magazine, Bustle, Huffington Post, Sinclair, Inkstick, and more. She has also provided commentary for MSNBC, CNBC, NPR, BBC, CGTN, and Al Jazeera.

    • 08 Jan 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EST)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    David Eisenhower

    A graduate of Amherst College and George Washington University Law School, Eisenhower served in the U.S. Navy and authored Eisenhower at War, 1943-1945, a New York Times bestseller and one of three history jury selections for the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1987. 

    David Eisenhower is the director  of the Institute for Public Service at the Annenberg School at  the  University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Communication and the Presidency, which examines the impact of the "Bully Pulpit" on recent and contemporary national politics. He also oversees COMPS (Communication in Public Service) undergraduate students' course work and internships. The Institute also sponsors events and symposia, and brings teaching fellows to the Annenberg School.

    • 22 Jan 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EST)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    What is the nature of the Kim Family Regime and why is it important to the United States? There are five major issues surrounding Korea: war, instability and regime collapse, human rights, proliferation and global illicit activities, and unification. South Korea and the US remain blood allies but there is always friction within the alliance that must be managed. While north Korea is an existential threat to South Korea it is in the US national interest to prevent conflict and if it (or regime collapse) occurs to ensure that what follows is a secure, stable, economically vibrant, non-nuclear peninsula unified under a liberal constitutional form of government that might be called the United Republic of Korea.


    David Maxwell

    David Maxwell, Senior Fellow
    Foundation  for  Defense  of  Democracies

    David Maxwell is a senior fellow at the Foundation  for  Defense  of  Democracies. He is a 30-year veteran of the United States Army, retiring in 2011 as a Special Forces Colonel with his final assignment serving on the military faculty teaching national security strategy at the National War College.

    He has served in various command and staff assignments in the Infantry in Germany and Korea as well as in Special Forces at Ft. Lewis, Washington; Seoul, Korea; Okinawa, Japan; and the Philippines, with total service in Asia of more than 20 years. He served on the United Nations Command / Combined Forces Command / United States Forces Korea CJ3 staff where he was a planner for UNC/CFC OPLAN 5027-98 and co-author of the original ROK JCS – UNC/CFC CONPLAN 5029-99 (North Korean Instability and Collapse) and later served as the Director of Plans, Policy, and Strategy (J5) and the Chief of Staff for Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR). From 2000 to 2002 he commanded 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Okinawa, Japan. He has been the G3 and Chief of Staff of the US Army Special Operations Command. He commanded the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines in 2006-2007. Following retirement from the Army he served as Associate Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University from 2011 through 2017.

    He is a fellow at the Institute of Corean-American Studies (ICAS) and on the Board of Advisors for Spirit of America. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), the International Council of Korean Studies (ICKS), the Council of US Korean Security Studies (CUSKOSS), the Special Operations Research Association, the Small Wars Journal, and the OSS Society. He teaches “Unconventional Warfare and Special Operations for Policy Makers and Strategists.”

    He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and holds MMAS degrees from the US Army Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies and an MS degree in National Security Studies from the National War College of the National Defense University.

    • 05 Feb 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EST)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    The direction of American foreign policy will prove highly consequential to Millennials -- on issues ranging from climate change and war, to COVID-19 and humanitarian aid. More connected internationally than ever, Millennial leaders entering public leadership are poised to fundamentally reshape foreign policy on these issues, transforming old debates framed by traditional “hawk-dove” and Left-Right divisions. The generations that came of age during U.S. wars in the Middle East, a global economic recession, the largest climate protests in history, and major pandemics will push for bold action to protect the most vulnerable and a new era of global cooperation.


    Steven Olikara

    Steven Olikara (@StevenOlikara) is a political entrepreneur, and Founder & CEO of Millennial Action Project (MAP), the largest nonpartisan organization of millennial lawmakers in the U.S. Working with over 800 elected leaders in Congress and state legislatures, MAP is building a new generation of leadership to transcend the partisan divide and strengthen our democracy. A nationally-recognized political commentator, Steven has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NBC News, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, and other national outlets. An avid musician, he is also co-author of the new book, JFK: The Last Speech, on the role of artists in democracy.

    Previously, Steven advised two multi-platinum recording artists on youth empowerment and sustainable energy initiatives, including Akon Lighting Africa which electrified over 1 million homes in Africa with solar power. Steven also served as Truman Fellow at the World Bank where he focused on environmental protection. He has been a featured speaker at venues such as the Aspen Ideas Festival, the White House, Harvard’s Institute of Politics, SXSW, and the United Nations. He serves on numerous Boards and Commissions focused on advancing human rights, democracy, and national service.

    Steven has been named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law & Policy, an Aspen Institute Ideas Scholar, and one of the Most Influential Leaders Under 40 by Washington Life magazine. A proud Wisconsinite, Steven graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Udall and Truman Scholar, the nation’s highest undergraduate honor for public service leadership.

    • 19 Feb 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EST)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    The two historic meetings between Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un alleviated tensions between the two nations who at one time seemed on the brink of a military encounter. But there is a “fundamental difference in understanding” between the two sides regarding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the major goal of the summits.

    While Washington was only considering a peace treaty and loosening sanctions on Pyongyang after it had denuclearized, North Korea’s position was a phased approach in which it would receive concessions for every step taken toward denuclearization. That difference is a major reason for the current stalemate in negotiations.

    This is a complicated game of diplomacy with both sides looking to make the next best move. Ambassador Yun will share his insights into North Korea and its short and long-term goals and discuss the prospect of Kim abandoning North Korea's nuclear weapons.


    Ambassador YunAmbassador Joseph Yun, former US Special Representative for North Korea Policy, is recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on relations with North Korea, as well as on broader US-East Asian policy. His 33-year diplomatic career has been marked by his commitment to face-to-face engagement as the best avenue for resolving conflict and advancing cross-border cooperation. He is currently Senior Advisor with The Asia Group, a DC-based strategic advisory firm and the U.S. Institute of Peace, an American non-partisan, independent federal institution that provides analysis of and is involved in conflicts around the world. He is also a Global Affairs Contributor with the CNN.

    As Special Envoy on North Korea from 2016 to 2018, Ambassador Yun led the State Department’s efforts to align regional powers behind a united policy to denuclearize North Korea. He was instrumental in reopening the “New York channel,” a direct communication line with officials from Pyongyang, through which he was able to secure the release of the American student, Otto Warmbier, who had been held in captivity for 15 months.

    From 2013 to 2016 he served as US Ambassador to Malaysia, actively forwarding the administration’s goal of elevating relations with Southeast Asia. During his tenure, Ambassador Yun hosted two visits to Malaysia by President Obama—the first by any US President since 1966—resulting in the signing of the US-Malaysian Comprehensive Partnership Agreement, pledging closer cooperation on security, trade, education, technology, energy, the environment, and people-to-people ties.

    As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2011-2013), he helped to bring about the diplomatic normalization of American relations with Myanmar, traveling to Rangoon as the first US-based government official to meet with Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi following her release from house arrest. He also worked to lay the foundation for official participation by the President of the United States in the annual East Asian Summit, starting from 2011.

    Previous assignments include Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southeast Asian Policy, Counselor for Political Affairs in the US Embassy in Seoul, Economic Counselor in the US Embassy in Bangkok, as well as earlier assignments in South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and France. He has received a Presidential Meritorious Service Award, three Superior Honors Awards, and nine Foreign Service Performance Awards from the US State Department.

    Ambassador Yun joined the Foreign Service in 1985. Prior to that he was a senior economist for Data Resources, Inc., in Lexington, Massachusetts. He holds a M. Phil. degree from the London School of Economics and a BS from the University of Wales. He is married to Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun. They have one son, Matthew.

    • 05 Mar 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EST)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    Madame Tsai Ing-wen won a second term in January 2020 to serve as the president of Taiwan for another four years. The first term of her presidency saw steady improvements in US-Taiwan relations and a deterioration in cross-Strait ties as Beijing ramped-up diplomatic, military, and economic pressure on Taipei to accept its terms for unification. As the power disparity between Taiwan and China widens, Taipei is becoming more susceptible to Chinese coercion and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping may become more emboldened to use military force. What are the implications for the Taiwan Strait over the next four years and beyond? 


    Russell Hsiao Russell Hsiao is the executive director of GTI and adjunct fellow at the Pacific Forum. He previously served as a senior research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, National Security fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Penn Kemble fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy. Prior to those positions he was the editor of China Brief at The Jamestown Foundation from October 2007­ to July 2011 and a special associate in the International Cooperation Department at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. While in law school, he clerked within the Office of the Chairman at the Federal Communications Commission and the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

    Mr. Hsiao received his J.D. and certificate from the Law and Technology Institute at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law where he served as the editor-in-chief of the Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology. He received a B.A. in International Studies from the American University’s School of International Service and the University Honors Program.

    • 19 Mar 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    Although usually described as an “Eastern European” or “Eurasian Power,” contemporary Russia in the past decade has emerged as major actor in the Middle East. Moscow has demonstrated an unusual ability both to apply military force effectively and to practice diplomacy deftly, juggling and expanding ties not just with American adversaries like Syria and Iran, but also with American partners such as Israel, Turkey, and Egypt. Russia’s seeming success appears all the more remarkable given the routine dismissal of Russia by American observers as a declining power. What is the historical background of Russia as a Middle Eastern power? Is Russia’s success in the region real and what explains it? How sustainable is it? And what does Russia’s role in the Middle East mean for America?


    Michael A. Reynolds

    Michael A. Reynolds, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, is Director of Princeton University’s Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and Associate Professor in Princeton’s Department of Near Eastern Studies. His teaching and research ranges over the geography of the Middle East and Eurasia and covers the themes of empire,  international relations, nationalism, geopolitics, ethnic conflict, and religion and culture. He is the author of Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2011), co-winner of the 2011 American Historical Association’s George Louis Beer Prize, a Financial Times book of the summer, and a Choice outstanding academic title, and is the editor of Constellations of the Caucasus: Empires, Peoples, and Faiths (Markus Weiner, 2016). Currently he is at work on a biography of Enver Pasha, hero of the Young Turk Revolution and Ottoman Minister of War during WWI.

    In addition to his historical research, Reynolds writes on contemporary issues related to Turkey, Russia, the Kurds, Azerbaijan, the North Caucasus, and US foreign policy. He has written for The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, and Newsweek.  He has held fellowships and grants from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, the Smith Richardson Foundation, Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Fulbright IIE, American Research Institute in Turkey, IREX, and NCEER and others. He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton, an MA in Political Science from Columbia, and a BA in Government and Slavic Languages from Harvard.

    • 09 Apr 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    Disinformation is as old as humanity. When Satan told Eve nothing would happen if she bit the apple, that was disinformation. But the rise of social media has made disinformation even more pervasive and pernicious in our current era. In a disturbing turn of events, governments are increasingly using disinformation to create their own false narratives, and democracies are proving not to be very good at fighting it.

    During the final three years of the Obama administration, Richard Stengel, the former editor of Time and an Under Secretary of State, was on the front lines of this new global information war. At the time, he was the single person in government tasked with unpacking, disproving, and combating both ISIS’s messaging and Russian disinformation. Then, in 2016, as the presidential election unfolded, Stengel watched as Donald Trump used disinformation himself, weaponizing the grievances of Americans who felt left out by modernism. In fact, Stengel quickly came to see how all three players had used the same playbook: ISIS sought to make Islam great again; Putin tried to make Russia great again; and we all know about Trump.


    Richard Stengel Richard Stengel is the longest serving Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in American history (2013-16). While at the State Department, he helped modernize State’s communications and led the department’s counter-disinformation efforts. He helped create and oversee the Global Engagement Center, the United States’ only stand-alone anti-ISIL messaging entity. He spearheaded the creation of the Sawab Center in Abu Dhabi, the first joint American and foreign counter ISIL messaging hub, which has become a template for others around the world.

    He also led department-wide efforts to counter the global rise of disinformation. In addition, the Under Secretary oversees all communications from the podium and beyond. He also oversaw the modernization of all embassies websites and pioneered the use of social media at the Department. He also led the creation of English for All, a government-wide effort to promote the teaching of English around the world and oversaw the departments extensive educational exchanges, including the Fulbright Scholarship.

    Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It

    Information Wars Book CoverIn a narrative that is by turns dramatic and eye-opening, Information Wars walks readers through of this often frustrating battle. Stengel moves through Russia and Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and introduces characters from Putin to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Mohamed bin Salman to show how disinformation is impacting our global society. He illustrates how ISIS terrorized the world using social media, and how the Russians launched a tsunami of disinformation around the annexation of Crimea – a scheme that became the model for their interference with the 2016 presidential election. Information Wars stresses that we must find a way to combat this ever growing threat to democracy.

    • 30 Apr 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

    Speaker & Topic To Be Announced

    • 07 May 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM (EDT)
    • 540 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


    Book Cover - The Return of Great Power RivalryThe United States of America has been the most powerful country in the world for over seventy years, but recently the U.S. National Security Strategy declared that the return of great power competition with Russia and China is the greatest threat to U.S. national security. Further, many analysts predict that America's autocratic rivals will have at least some success in disrupting-and, in the longer term, possibly even displacing-U.S. global leadership.

    Matthew Kroenig, author of The Return of Great Power Rivalry, will discuss how this conventional wisdom is wrong. Drawing on an extraordinary range of historical evidence and the works of figures like Herodotus, Machiavelli, and Montesquieu and combining it with cutting-edge social science research, Matthew Kroenig advances the riveting argument that democracies tend to excel in great power rivalries. He contends that democracies have unique economic, diplomatic, and military advantages in long-run geopolitical competitions. He considers autocratic advantages as well but shows that these are more than outweighed by their vulnerabilities. Kroenig then shows these arguments through the seven most important cases of democratic-versus-autocratic rivalries throughout history, from the ancient world to the Cold War. Finally, he analyzes the new era of great power rivalry among the United States, Russia, and China through the lens of the democratic advantage argument. By advancing a "hard-power" argument for democracy, Kroenig demonstrates that despite its many problems, the U.S. is better positioned to maintain a global leadership role than either Russia or China.


    Matthew KroenigMatthew Kroenig is a professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University and the Deputy Director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He previously served in several positions in the US government, including in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the intelligence community, and he regularly consults with a wide range of US government entities. He is the author or editor of seven books, including The Return of Great Power Rivalry (2020) and The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy (2018). His articles and opinion pieces have appeared in American Political Science Review, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Organization, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and many other outlets. He has been a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard University, and Stanford University. Dr. Kroenig provides regular commentary for major media outlets, including PBS Newshour, NPR All Things Considered, Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, and the BBC Newshour. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Stanton Foundation, the Hertog Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and holds an MA and PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives with his wife and daughter in Georgetown.

Past events

01 May 2020 Global Speaker Meeting: Jonatan Vseviov, Estonia's Ambassador to the United States
25 Apr 2020 National AWQ Competition
24 Apr 2020 LTG H.R. McMaster - Battlegrounds: The Fights to Defend the Free World
21 Apr 2020 Evening Speaker Series: Janet Mancini Billson, PhD
20 Mar 2020 Henri Barkey: Kurds and the New Geopolitics of the Middle East
07 Mar 2020 AWQ County Competition
06 Mar 2020 Sheila A. Smith: Japan Rearmed - The Politics of Military Power
05 Mar 2020 Evening Speaker Series: Kathleen Biggins
21 Feb 2020 Joby Warrick - Black Flags and Red Lines
20 Feb 2020 AWQ Mock 2
18 Feb 2020 Evening Speaker Series: Alex Kershaw
07 Feb 2020 Dr. Bhavya Lal: The Changing Landscape of Space
06 Feb 2020 Great Decisions Group IV, Thursdays at 7:00 pm
05 Feb 2020 Great Decisions Group III, Wednesdays at 10:00 am
04 Feb 2020 Great Decisions Group II, Tuesdays at 10:00 am
03 Feb 2020 Great Decisions Group I, Mondays 10 am
31 Jan 2020 Model UN Regional Conference
24 Jan 2020 Sean McFate: The New Rules of War
21 Jan 2020 2020 Evening Speaker Series - 4 events
21 Jan 2020 Evening Speaker Series: Bing West
10 Jan 2020 Admiral Cecil Haney: China’s Doctrines on Space, Cyberwarfare and its Nuclear Program
06 Dec 2019 Michael Shifter: The Chaos in Venezuela
15 Nov 2019 Sulmaan Khan: Haunted By Chaos - China’s Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping
01 Nov 2019 Global Speakers Program: Monica Araya
25 Oct 2019 Ambassador Peter Ammon: US and German Relations, Post 1989
04 Oct 2019 General Wesley Clark - Deglobalization: Threats and Opportunities
03 Oct 2019 Fall Forum - Group 3: THURSDAYS
02 Oct 2019 Fall Forum - Group 2: WEDNESDAYS
01 Oct 2019 Fall Forum - Group 4: TUESDAY EVENINGS
01 Oct 2019 Fall Forum - Group 1: TUESDAYS
27 Sep 2019 Annual Meeting - World Affairs Council of Hilton Head
14 Aug 2019 Summer Forum: David Lauderdale
17 Jul 2019 Summer Forum: Lynne Cope Hummell
19 Jun 2019 Summer Forum: Larry Kramer
17 May 2019 John Gilbert: North Korea and the Nuclear Threat
16 May 2019 Cocktail Reception for David Eisenhower
03 May 2019 Alyssa Ayres: India’s Rise on the World Stage
09 Apr 2019 Evening Speaker Series: Allison Stiller
05 Apr 2019 Global Speakers Program - Ambassador Jerzy Pomianowski: Supporting Democracy in Eastern Europe
15 Mar 2019 Ambassador Roman Popadiuk: The Ukraine Russian Crisis
12 Mar 2019 Evening Speaker Series: Patrick Skinner
01 Mar 2019 Robert Mallett: Africa - Familiar Challenges, Rewarding Opportunities
15 Feb 2019 Christopher Alexander: Canadian and U.S. Relations
12 Feb 2019 Evening Speaker Series: Amb. Everett Briggs
07 Feb 2019 Great Decisions Group IV: Thursday evenings, 7:00 pm
06 Feb 2019 Great Decisions Group III: Wednesdays, 10 am
05 Feb 2019 Great Decisions Group II: Tuesdays, 10 am
04 Feb 2019 Great Decisions Group I, Mondays 10 am
01 Feb 2019 Dr. Soner Cagaptay: The New Sultan and Turkey’s Foreign Policy
25 Jan 2019 Trita Parsi: Iran’s Strategy in the Middle East
11 Jan 2019 Josh Michaud:Global Health
08 Jan 2019 2019 Evening Speaker Series - 4 events
08 Jan 2019 Evening Speaker Series: Larry Kramer
07 Dec 2018 Michael Auslin: Asia and America in the Age of Trump - War, Retreat or Recommit?
16 Nov 2018 Luncheon with Dr. Jennifer Keene
16 Nov 2018 Dr. Jennifer Keene: World War I and the Dawning of the American Century
02 Nov 2018 Global Speakers Program- Ambassador Pierre Vimont: President Macron’s France
26 Oct 2018 Bruce Hoffman: Inside Terrorism Today
05 Oct 2018 Larry Diamond: The Liberal Democratic Order in Crisis
04 Oct 2018 Fall Forum - Group 3, Thursdays
03 Oct 2018 Fall Forum - Group 2, Wednesdays
02 Oct 2018 Fall Forum - Group 1, Tuesdays
21 Sep 2018 Annual Meeting
15 Aug 2018 Summer Forum: Dr. Sally Mason
11 Jul 2018 Summer Forum: Richard J. Gough
20 Jun 2018 Summer Forum: Dr. Jim Wagner
04 May 2018 Todd S. Sechser: Nuclear Security
20 Apr 2018 Mohamed Razeen Sally: Asia Rising: Past, Present and Future
10 Apr 2018 Evening Speaker Series: Ben Kinnas
06 Apr 2018 Ray Toll & RADM Ann Phillips, USN: Rising Sea Levels and Their Impact on the Navy
16 Mar 2018 Anthony Zinni: A New Military Strategy
05 Mar 2018 Evening Speaker Series: Katherine Canavan
02 Mar 2018 Sarah Chayes: The Real Cost of Corruption
16 Feb 2018 Amb. Christopher Hill: Outpost, A Diplomat at Work
13 Feb 2018 Evening Speaker Series: Don Paul Colcolough
02 Feb 2018 Amb. William "Bill" Richardson III: North Korea
26 Jan 2018 Ivo Daalder: Trump’s Foreign Policy
12 Jan 2018 Benjamin Buchanan: The Cyber Security Dilemma
09 Jan 2018 Evening Speaker Series: Hazel O’Leary
09 Jan 2018 2018 Evening Speaker Series
01 Dec 2017 Edward Alden: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy
17 Nov 2017 Dr. Andrew Selee: Mexico’s Relations with the United States in the Administration of Trump
03 Nov 2017 Amb. James Jeffrey: The Middle East
13 Oct 2017 Anand Menon: The Future of the European Union
06 Oct 2017 Philip J. (P.J.) Crowley: American Foreign Policy in a Time of Fractured Politics and Failed States
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software