For many years the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head has sponsored a Friday Speakers Series as the primary benefit for our members. We host 14 speakers from across the United States from October through May. From its inception, the series has been under the direction of the WACHH program committee.
Until recently all speaker fees and expenses have been fully funded by membership dues and this allowed us to make improvements to the package offered perspective speakers. This ensured we could be competitive in our quest to recruit the highest quality speakers.
In 2016, a donor family stepped forward and presented us with a gift of $100,000 to “enhance the Friday series.” No further restrictions were imposed other than the gift could not be treated as an endowment; the funds would have an immediate impact on our Friday speaker programming.
Extensive discussions followed with many options considered, but the final decision was made to utilize the funds to recruit foreign speakers. Because of the distance and expense, international speakers would not have been otherwise considered. This provided a unique opportunity for us to offer global perspectives beyond our usual national point of view.
Aiming high from the beginning, the committee began our Global Speakers Program with a Russian perspective on Russian/US relations with a special emphasis on Trump/Putin association. The following year we expanded the program to two speakers. We will continue to have two international speakers annually, one in the fall and one in the spring.
The additional expenses incurred by hosting international speakers (airfare, lodging, etc.) are paid directly from the Global Speakers Fund held at the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, not membership dues.
If you would like to support this program, donations can be made through the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and choosing the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head Enhanced Speakers Program Fund.
In 2018-2019, two events in the Friday Speaker Series were made possible by the Global Speakers Program.
November 2, 2018:
April 5, 2019: