World Affairs Council of Hilton Head

News and updates

  • 09 Mar 2020 8:21 PM | Anonymous

    Six high schools competed in AWQ on Saturday, March 7: Hilton Head HS, Bluffton HS, May River HS, HH Christian Academy, Whale Branch Early College HS, and Beaufort HS. And here are the rankings!

    • First place - Bluffton High School (Bailey Yang, Kate Anderson, Jordan Wilhelm, Nathan Lessard) along with Ivan Bennet, program chair, Pam Wolsky, coach, Yang, Anderson, Wilhelm,Lessard, Peter Cooper, moderator

    • Second Place - May River High School Team #1 (Ceclan Carter, Alice Hotimski, Jackson Buick, Alexandra Horn, Jade Ward)
    • Third Place - Hilton Head High School- Raul Leyva, Scarlett Metts, Tess Sandford, Anna Gray Ashton, Joseph Hutchinson, Walker Newman, Laney Hawkins

    The winners will be going to Washington, DC to compete in the WACA national AWQ competition on April 25th. WACHH picks up the tab. The second and third place teams win gift cards ($100 & $50 respectively).

  • 26 Feb 2020 9:23 PM | Anonymous

    Event considered the Super Bowl of global issues and foreign policy with winner going to Washington D.C.

    The Academic WorldQuest (AWQ) is the World Affairs Councils of America’s (WACA) flagship education program which engages more than 3,000 high school students annually across the US, testing their knowledge of global issues and foreign policy.  The program offers young people a fun and interactive way to learn about critical challenges facing the US and the world.

    Since 2003, the AWQ has been a team game testing high school students’ knowledge of international affairs. “We are thrilled to be part of this great program working in cooperation with the Beaufort County School District, bringing Academic WorldQuest to our county high schools,” says Ivan Bennett, member of the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head (WACHH). “Since we began our participation seven years ago, Hilton Head High School won once, Beaufort High School three times, May River High School twice, and Bluffton High School most recently in 2019. We invite the public to come out and test your knowledge of global issues. Are you as smart as an AWQ Scholar?”

    This year's competition takes place on Saturday, March 7, 2020, 9:00 am at Hilton Head Island High School. 

    Beaufort County high school students join approximately 3,000 other students in the US, hosted by about 40 other World Affairs Councils in 26 states. The students’ knowledge of international affairs, geography, history, and culture is tested throughout the school year, though competitors work beyond their regular curriculum to prepare for this quest. Winning teams (about 225 students total) are invited to Washington, D.C. to represent their high schools, cities, and local councils. WACHH pays all expenses for the trip for these students, parents, teachers, and chaperones, which includes visits to historic sites in addition to the competition. 

    If you would like to volunteer, coach, mentor, or get involved with this program, please contact Ivan Bennett at (843) 816-1498,, or the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head’s office at

  • 19 Jan 2020 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    John GilbertWe are well into our 2019-2020 program year and have seen record attendance at the first six Friday morning presentations.  Our speakers so far have presented diverse views on a variety of issues and two recent speakers shared important insights on China from a historical perspective as well as China's current moves to increase its international influence.  This was particularly timely given the signature of a "Phase 1" trade deal between the US and China this month.  And we can't overlook the fact that all of our speakers have commented on your perceptive questions that led to lively Q&A sessions!!!

    We have eight more speakers lined up to add even more valued and timely perspectives.  The next, Sean McFate, will speak on the new rules of warfare, which is a topic that became even more significant after developments in late 2019 and earlier this month.  Our speakers in February are Dr. Bhavya Lal, a widely respected expert on space technology, and Joby Warrick, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Washington Post reporter.  Dr. Lal will discuss developments in commercial and military space technology applications and Joby Warrick will discuss the significance of conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    We now have over 1100 members and more than 225 are new this year.  Several guests have also attended each of the Friday sessions.

    Besides our Friday speaker series, other WACHH programs are complete or moving forward -

    • The 2019 Fall Forum is complete, and attendees enjoyed lively discussions in several locations and next year's program is already being planned.

    • The Evening Speaker Series starts on January 21 and has a full lineup for February, March, and April at the SoundWaves facility near Coligny Circle.  The January speaker will be Bing West, a part-time Hilton Head resident who co-authored General Jim Mattis's recent book on leadership and loyalty.  The January session is sold out, but a few spaces are available for the remaining three sessions.

    • Great Decisions books have been delivered and discussion session signups have proceeded quickly.  A few spaces remain open.

    • Our Summer Forum is on track to offer a program of three local speakers for June, July, and August 2020.

    In addition to these programs available to WACHH members, we also support two school-focused programs - Academic World Quest and Model UN.  More than 150 local students are participating this year and over 35 World Affairs Council members and supporters have visited local schools to share their experiences living or working in over 25 countries with Model UN contestants.   Other volunteers have been working with local high schools in advance of the Academic World Quest competition, which is scheduled for March 7 at Bluffton High School.  Your financial support for the past few years has been important and will provide additional opportunities for local students this year.

    I want to thank all of you for your attendance and the many questions you asked of our speakers.  I also want to thank members who brought guests to our events and hope you continue to encourage interest and involvement by your friends and neighbors.


    John Gilbert, President
    World Affairs Council of Hilton Head

  • 19 Jan 2020 12:29 PM | Anonymous

    A big thanks to the Bargain Box volunteers, board members, and employees for the generous grant WACHH received today. The grant will help numerous students in Beaufort County participate in the Model UN program as well as fund the AWQ Washington, DC trip in April. They gave away over $450,000 to 49 deserving charities today. That is amazing!

    Thrift stores are a fabulous asset for our community.  They help recycle items that might otherwise get thrown away.  They give people on a budget a chance to find household items at a reasonable price. They give people the opportunity to volunteer their time and talent and best of all, they donate all the proceeds to local charities to fund diverse programs which will have a positive impact on residents of HHI and beyond.

     Please donate, volunteer or shop at this wonderful organization.  You will be making a difference in someone's life.

  • 11 Jan 2020 9:15 PM | Anonymous

    On Feb. 18, 2020, Alex Kershaw, will discuss a new perspective on the most important day of the twentieth century, D-Day. June 6, 2019 marked the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. 

    An honorary colonel in the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Division, Alex Kershaw is the widely acclaimed award-winning author of several New York Times best-selling books about WWII including “Escape from the Deep” ”The Liberator” and “Avenue of Spies”. A graduate of University College, Oxford, he worked as a journalist for The Guardian and other newspapers before moving to the U.S. in 1994. His latest book, “The First Wave: The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II”, published in May 2019, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day. He lives in Savannah, GA and regularly leads battlefield tours and lectures on WWII. His 2012 book” The Liberator”, is being made into a drama series to be aired by Netflix in 2020.

    The event will be held on Feb. 18, 2020 from 5:15 p.m. - 07:15 p.m. at SoundWaves, 7 Lagoon Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC. Copies of the book “The First Wave” will be available for purchase at the event and a book signing will follow the presentation.

    This event is open to the public, but reservations must be made in advance. For fees, reservations or information about this event: 843-384-6758 or

  • 05 Jan 2020 5:31 PM | Anonymous

    Razeen Sally, a Friday Speaker Series presenter in April 2018, has just published a new book,  Return to Sri Lanka: Travels in a Paradoxical Land Sri Lanka seemed like a version of paradise to Razeen Sally as a child, but conflict was soon to follow, tearing the family apart and severing their bond with Sri Lanka. Return to Sri Lanka is the story of a twenty-first-century reconciliation between Sally, now an academic and political adviser, and the land of his birth.

    To preview the book, visit

    Return to Sri Lanka Book Cover

  • 16 Dec 2019 11:01 PM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to Dr. Sean McFate, our upcoming speaker on January 24, 2020. The Economist magazine recognized his book, The New Rules of War, as one of their "Books of the Year"! 

    Some of the principles of warfare are ancient, others are new, but all described in The New Rules of War will permanently shape war now and in the future. By following them Sean McFate argues, we can prevail. But if we do not, terrorists, rogue states, and others who do not fight conventionally will succeed—and rule the world.

    Sean McFate has spoken at our council before and his presentations are standing room only.

  • 13 Nov 2019 10:05 PM | Anonymous

    Monica Araya, our speaker on November 1st, received the 2019 Crusader of the Year Award from the CRUSA Foundation. CRUSA is a non-profit organization that was established in 1996 to further cooperation between the US and Costa Rica.

    Congratulations Monica!

  • 01 Nov 2019 11:07 PM | Anonymous

    WACHH speaker Monica Araya was interviewed on Coastal Sunrise about Costa Rica's quest to become energy independent. View the interview online here: WSAV Coastal Sunrise_2019_11_01.mp4

  • 28 Oct 2019 9:55 PM | Anonymous

    On October 25, Amb. Peter Ammon spoke to a packed house of more than 600 at the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head’s Friday Speaker Meeting. Amb. Ammon, who served as German Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2014-2018) and to the United States (2011–2014), now lives part of the year in Hilton Head and spoke of the welcome he has found in the community here.

    Amb. Ammon thanked America, particularly its service members, saying, “Together we won the Cold War.” His speech addressed the complex issues that have arisen in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall and cautioned that we are now at a critical juncture as America becomes more isolated from world affairs. “We should not put doubt in a Trans-Atlantic alliance for which many of you have worked so hard… The world needs American leadership,”  he concluded.

    A program hosted in partnership with Wunderbar Together, World Affairs Councils of America, and the American Council on Germany.

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