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World Affairs Council Connects NH with the World
Published Wednesday, December 21, 2016

For more than 60 years, the World Affairs Council of NH has educated Granite Staters about global issues. And even though anyone can learn about world affairs online, the World Affairs Council continues to find ways to remain relevant.

“Preparing New Hampshire for the global economy has never been more critical,” says Anna Berry, executive director.

The nonprofit brings 30 to 40 speakers to NH each year to discuss a variety of topics. It also hosts dozens of international delegations annually who come to the U.S. to learn how American communities solve various issues. This year, it also hosted NH’s second Academic WorldQuest, a national competition that tests high school students’ knowledge of international affairs, geography, history and culture. About 50 NH students joined the competition this year because of the council's involvement.

“It’s a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with those who are engaged in various aspects of world affairs,” says Steven Solomon, board chair.

The Council has about 350 members and donors, though the majority of its events are free and open to the public.

Established in 1954 at the University of NH in Durham, the Council is dedicated to “fostering learning, discussion and citizen involvement in world affairs.” Now hosted at Southern NH University in Manchester, the Council offers an annual Global Business Summit on campus. This year, the Summit tackled the issue of cybersecurity, attracting about 150 attendees.

The Council also hosts an International Visitor Leadership Program, a professional exchange program with leaders from other countries visiting various U.S. communities annually (about 300 to 400 in NH).

“For the visitors, it's professional development and understanding America in a different way,” Berry says.

In July, a delegation of emerging leaders from the Caribbean met with faculty at UNH School of Law to exchange ideas about defending intellectual property rights. That same month, members of the Indian parliament met with NH state legislators in Concord to discuss representation of rural constituencies.

In August, a Pakistani delegation learned about responses to illicit drug use, including education strategies and treatment, and met with New Futures, the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, the Easter Seals Farnum Center, the Manchester Fire Department, and Partnership for a Drug Free NH.

For more information, visit wacnh.org.

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