Calendar year 2018 has started with a resounding crescendo. Attendance has ranged from 600 to 780 at the Friday Speaker Series. For the Richardson presentation, when I pulled into First Pres at 0930 and had to park in the South 40 I knew we were in for a good crowd. Shortly before the presentation I could see that we would be over 700 and I said to Bill Richardson, “We will be over 700 folks, I will let you decide if it is the speaker or the topic.” Bill looked up at me, smiled and without hesitation said, “It’s the topic.” With the various ambassadors we have had this year, each presentation has built on its predecessors in building out a coherent view of US Foreign Policy – its strengths and weaknesses.
February is our month for engagement with the students of Beaufort County High Schools, starting with the Model UN Programs at Bluffton, Beaufort, and Hilton Head HS which are the three schools currently participating in the program. This year we tried something different by offering mentors to the schools and 20 of you stepped up to provide your experience and knowledge of various countries for the students’ benefit. Jeanie Silletti, our Board member overseeing this program, is currently working up an After-Action Review of what worked, what needs work, and what new opportunities are there to better support these schools/students.
On 24 February we will be holding our competition for Academic World Quest. All six County schools are participating with 2 teams each and the winner will go on to the National Competition in Washington DC. Carlton Dallas, our Board member overseeing this program, has worked long and hard with coaches and students to up their game and be more competitive. He held two mock sessions with a format identical to our competition, so students could get adjusted to the pace and question variety and for the students to develop their processes for answering questions. In an email discussion with Jim Foster, Public Affairs Director for the school district, he said they will be video taping the competition and we will post the tape on our website.
And, speaking of websites, if you are reading this letter you successfully navigated onto our new website. This has been a work in process since mid-summer and a very dedicated team has put in a lot of hours to make this launch successful. We partnered with our current hosting service’s consulting group to build the new website using a new software package called Wild Apricot which many other Councils are also using. Having worked at a software company for 10 years, I know launches are never bug free no matter how hard you try. So, if you find something, send us an email with a screen shot or copy the offending text into the email so that we can react quickly.
Lee J. Wilwerding President,
World Affairs Council Hilton Head