History and Vision
Who & What We Are:
The World Affairs Seminar (WAS) is a unique interactive educational program for high school students, sponsored by Rotary International District 6270. The week-long experience provides an opportunity for international students from a variety of backgrounds to discuss issues in a non-threatening environment. Since WAS first accepted students in 1977, over 30,000 future world leaders have participated. Many have stayed in touch with the friends they made at WAS, even forming business relationships, political contacts and family friendships.
Our vision is to bring better understanding of world problems to young people from around the globe,using current issues as a learning platform. In the course of this study, the WAS provides opportunities for participants to discuss issues with other young people from around the world. Emphasis is on promoting better understanding of the causes of international conflict. The idea is if the causes are understood and solutions developed in a cooperative environment, problems are more likely to be solved peacefully.
Participants experience new and different ideas and viewpoints brought forward both by their colleagues and by world renowned experts. In small and large groups students discuss information and ideas and put their new knowledge to use. Through public policy simulations they work through the complex interactions of different countries, corporations and organizations to develop their own policy initiative. The university setting provides a college-like experience, including use of the residence halls and campus dining.
Throughout the week students have time for recreational activities. The seminar brings greater awareness and understanding of the world they will inherit. Critical thinking, negotiation skills and the process of learning about new friends from around the world are all part of this incredible experience.
The World Affairs Seminar (WAS) was founded in 1977 by Professors Dr. Gaylon Greenhill and Dr. Dale Brock. Dr. Brock became the first WAS General Manager. His vision and enthusiasm for the Program were central to its success. He was the embodiment of the dream he had for our world, always ready to learn something new and spend hours listening to the participants, staff and speakers. He believed that we could advance the cause of peace in this world by gathering together to learn from one another. It is his tireless devotion that continues to inspire and motivate all who work as Seminar Staff today.
Dr. Brock died September 2, 2008. A scholarship fund in his memory has been created to honor his efforts and ensure his vision carries forward.
Throughout the last 34 years, the World Affairs Seminar has covered timely and significant topics, including human rights, world hunger, globalization, nuclear arms control, international economics, environmental issues, global health, security, and global leadership, all with an emphasis on ways students can make a difference now and in the future.
The World Affairs Seminar has offered students an opportunity to interact with leaders from government, international organizations, the media, and business. Past keynote speakers include Dith Pran, New York Times photojournalist; Dr. Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and Nobel Prize winner; Giandomenico Picco, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations; Dr. Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven, director of the Institute for Theology and Peace in Germany; and Ed Cardoza, who works for Partners in Health in Boston, MA.