World Affairs Council of Philadelphia

Organization/Business type
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The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to informing and engaging people of all ages on matters of national and international significance. The Council provides its members and the greater Philadelphia community with access to influential figures in the global area as well as opportunities to visit fascinating destinations through its unique travel program. With the support of individual and corporate members, the Council’s global education program enhances the education of area students who are the citizens, workforce and leaders of the future.

Established in 1949 as a forum for discussing differing points of view, the Council does not endorse candidates for public office or lobby for policies. Membership is open to all who share its principles. We currently serve more than 75 corporate members and their executives, and nearly 2,000 individual members.

The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia offers a wide variety of valuable, informative programs, including:

Educational Programs

Reaching more than 2,100 students from public, private, parochial, and charter schools throughout the greater Philadelphia region each year, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia's educational legacy has helped to build a growing corps of leaders possessing the critical skills necessary to assume the responsibilities of global citizenship. The Council’s educational programs include large-scale conferences designed to simulate global forums, including the International Student Summit and the G20 Student Summit for High School students, as well as the Student Diplomat / Jr. Model United Nations Program for Middle School students. Additionally, students have access to leadership workshops, international community service projects, speaker events, and private briefings with some of the leading public figures and scholars on the world stage today. The Council also provides direct teacher support, supplementary materials, and peer-to-peer mentoring to a large group of students attending under-resourced schools.

Speaker Events

As one of the top public policy forums in the nation, the Council also offers a diverse series of more than twenty timely and informative programs each year, enabling members to see, hear, and question some of the most influential leaders and experts of our time. Council programs also provide members with the ability to gain firsthand insight into the most critical issues of the day while having the opportunity to meet and interact with the people who shape our world. Through the Council’s speaker events, people can experience firsthand observations and insightful commentary from the people who actually make the news—people like presidents and prime ministers, authors and economists, corporate CEOs and leading journalists, celebrities and activists. Within the last few years, the Council has hosted The Right Honourable Tony Blair, Governor Jeb Bush, columnist Thomas Friedman, entertainer Bill Cosby, and political pundits Donna Brazile and Michael Smerconish among others.

Travel the World

The Council has been organizing Travel the World, a flagship travel program of lifelong learning tours for members and cooperating Councils, for more than 35 years. The trips offer all the highlights of touring plus access to political leaders and local experts who give behind-the-scenes views and briefings that make the trips special and unique. Many trips include lecturers drawn from the fields of diplomacy, journalism, or academia and offer "meet the people" opportunities for our citizen diplomats. Some trips appeal to foodies and, for a trip of a lifetime, the Council also offers private jet tours! The annual 5-night “Inside Washington” trip is the Council’s signature inside the beltway program. The Council also has a Treasury Department License to offer travel to Cuba through People-to-People programs.

Global Affairs
Higher Education & Research