Seminar Information

General Information

Welcome to the 2021 World Affairs Seminar: Cities, Urban Life in a Changing World. We are glad to have you join us for this virtual experience. This digital guidebook will be your manual leading up to and during your week with us in June. Be sure to carefully preview as much information as you can before the seminar so that you know what to expect during our four days together. If you have questions at any time, please contact us at contact@worldaffairsseminar.org.

Welcome Letter from our Leadership

Greetings Delegates,

Welcome to the World Affairs Seminar “Cities: Urban Life in a Changing World”  Congratulations on accepting the challenge of participating in a virtual event. We have gone to great lengths to make sure the week ahead is among the most amazing experiences in your life to date.  As a Student Delegate, you are one of over 30,000 individuals from more than fifty nations who share the experience of having attended the World Affairs Seminar since it was founded in 1977.  Although you will not share in the face-to-face interactions that marked past Seminars, we hope the new friends you make and the shared discussions and activities of WAS 2021 you participate in will remain with you and change your life.

The value of the World Affairs Seminar can be immeasurable – but it will only benefit you if you participate fully.  The fact that you are doing this remotely adds to your personal challenge.  As you experience and learn, savor the opportunity to meet new people online.  Be bold – share your ideas and open yourself to challenge.  Absorb, learn, and grow in the process.  When the Seminar is over we hope you will do two things.  First, take time to reflect on what you have learned; not just about food, which is simply a learning platform.  Instead, take time to reflect on how you have grown as an individual who is ready and capable.  Second, please share your experience with others so they too can become part of WAS. Tell your friends and classmates.  If you were sponsored by a Rotary Club or other organization, offer to make a presentation so they can see the full value of the investment they made in your future.  Join the WAS Delegate Alumni Group after you leave.  Stay in touch, not only with the WAS organization, but with all of the new friends you have made.

Have a great time and thanks for being part of the World Affairs Seminar.


Thomas M. Plantenberg
Executive Director/CEO

Michael Carriere, PhD
Academic Dean

More About Our 2021 Theme

For the first time in human history, more people live in cities and urban areas than in other environments. Some would say this is a natural course for humanity. Since our first beginnings we have gathered in tribes and groups, built dwellings in proximity to one another, and developed cooperative organizations to achieve safety, stability and growth. Others would point out that whenever possible individuals have migrated away from tribal clusters to establish places of their own, such as farms, towns and, ultimately urban centers. However we got here, the more than 9 billion people who inhabit the rapidly urbanizing earth face complex and challenging questions. Issues range from sanitation to allocation of resources, personal responsibility to one another and society and the customs and laws that govern our behavior and may impact our very existence.

At the 2021 seminar, you will:

  • Look at Urban Life from many points of view.
  • Work with delegates from around the world to define issues and problem areas.
  • Discover what you can do to make your environment and the world a better place.
  • Explore how traditional roles and new opportunities come together as international society adjusts to the needs of the future.
  • Examine how existing social systems are affected by urbanization.
  • Determine the role personal behavior has in both perpetuating and solving urban problems.
WAS Mission, Motto & Vision

The World Affairs Seminar (WAS) is a unique interactive educational program for high school delegates. The week-long experience provides an opportunity for international delegates from a variety of backgrounds to discuss issues in a non-threatening environment. They experience new and different ideas and viewpoints brought forward both by their colleagues and by world renowned experts. In small and large groups delegates 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 delegates have time for recreational activities which bring greater awareness and understanding of the world around them. Critical thinking, negotiation skills and the process of learning about new friends from around the world are all part of this incredible experience.

Motto: Peace through Understanding 

Mission: To build global leaders and citizens through an international seminar with an innovative, rigorous academic program.

Vision : At WAS open dialogue is encouraged. Our focus is current global topics and trends. We also offer recreational activities that foster interaction and understanding among delegates, staff and speakers.

Schedule Overview - Choose your path!

Seminar Dates: Saturday, June 19th through Friday, June 25th.

We have scheduled a wide variety of speakers and sessions for you to attend through each day of the seminar.

Choose your path

Each day of the seminar, you have the opportunity to choose your path! Although we offer sessions all day long, you will NOT be on a computer from 9:00 A.M.. to 8:00 P.M. Mandatory meetings will take up 4-6 hours of your day. The rest of the time is still yours! Be sure to take note of which sessions are marked “mandatory/required” and which ones are “elective”. The elective sessions are where you can choose what you will get out of the seminar!

Types of Sessions

  • Introductory Workshop: We are fortunate to have Dr. Kelly Ottman join us for the second year in a row to provide an introductory workshop. This mandatory session will allow delegates to network with each other and engage with the theme in a unique way, giving preface to the future sessions.
  • Keynote Speaker: We have several keynote speakers scheduled throughout the seminar week. These are mandatory sessions that all delegates should attend. Each keynote will highlight major concepts related to food and hunger that will allow you to formulate your own ideas through self-reflection and discussion with your fellow delegates.
  • Breakout Speakers: This is your chance to make the most out of your experience! On days three and four of the seminar, we will offer a variety of breakout speakers for you to attend. Attending the breakout sessions is mandatory, but you can choose which one you attend each day. We hope that this allows you to learn more about specific topics related to food and hunger.
  • Small Group Check-In/Meetings: Each day you will have an opportunity to check in with your assigned small group. This group of delegates, along with your assigned counselor/facilitator, will be your core group, or “home base” during the seminar. If you have questions about what to expect or would like to discuss a particular subject further, this is the place to do it. These mandatory small group sessions are also a great opportunity for you to network throughout the seminar!
  • Daily Discussion Groups: On days two, three and four of the seminar, we will be offering a variety of discussion groups for you to participate in. Each discussion group session will have a different theme or topic, so be sure to pick discussion groups that interest you most or offer you the best chance to learn something new! Discussion groups are elective and you must participate in at least one discussion group per day.
  • Social Sessions: Throughout the seminar, you will want to network and get to know your fellow delegates. We are offering two opportunities to participate in ice-breaker activities. These sessions are elective, but you are required to choose one to attend. If you choose, you may also attend both sessions!
  • Drop-In Recreational Activities: We are excited to offer a number of elective sessions. These sessions will enrich your experience and we hope you will have some fun along the way!


  • Mandatory/Required: Sessions marked as “mandatory” or “required” are essential parts of your experience and you must attend these sessions, if you are able. We will be recording our keynote speakers, breakout speakers and other sessions, so if you miss a mandatory or required session, be sure to check back afterwards for the video recording! If you anticipate a scheduling conflict with a mandatory or required session, please inform your assigned counselor/facilitator before the start of the session.
  • Elective: Sessions marked as “elective” are also essential, but you have a choice to make. You are still expected to attend these sessions, but you get to choose which part of the session you participate in.
Joining a "Zoom" Meeting

Before joining a Zoom meeting on a computer or mobile device, you can download the Zoom app from Zoom’s Download Center. Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click a join link.

You can also join a test meeting to familiarize yourself with Zoom.

For additional support using Zoom, please click here.


Do I need a webcam?

You will need consistent access to a computer, tablet or another mobile device with internet connectivity. Most interactive sessions will take place on the video-conferencing platform Zoom. A web-camera and microphone are highly recommended, although not required. Alternatively, you can use your phone to call into each Zoom meeting.

Joining Sessions by Telephone

To join a session by telephone, you can dial the provided call-in number.
United States: +1 312 626 6799
Click to Find your local number

Check the daily agenda for the session’s Meeting ID and passcode, when prompted on the phone call.

Netiquette (Online Etiquette)

Netiquette, a social code that defines “good” online behavior is something to keep in mind during the 2020 virtual seminar. On an online platform that includes written and verbal discussions, it is especially important to do this effectively. Follow the guidelines below to leave your mark as a knowledgeable, respectful and polite student who is also positioned to succeed professionally.

Be Scholarly

  • Do: Use proper language, grammar and spelling. Be explanatory and justify your opinions. Credit the ideas of others through citing and linking to scholarly resources.

  • Avoid: Misinforming others when you may not know the answer. If you are guessing about something, clearly state that you do not know the answer.

Be Respectful

  • Do: Respect privacy, diversity and opinions of others. Communicate tactfully and base disagreements on scholarly ideas or research evidence.
  • Avoid: Sharing another person’s professional or personal information.

Be Professional

  • Do: Represent yourself well at all times. Be truthful, accurate and run a final spell check. Limit the use of slang and emoticons.
  • Avoid: Using profanity or participating in hostile interactions.

Be Polite

  • Do: Address others by name or appropriate title and be mindful of your tone. Treat people as if you were in a face-to-face situation.
  • Avoid: Using sarcasm, being rude or writing in all capital letters. Written words can be easily misinterpreted as they lack nonverbals.
Seminar Recordings

We will be recording all keynote speakers, breakout speakers and a selection of other sessions throughout the seminar. These recordings can be found following the session in our Virtual Resource Library and on our YouTube channel. If you missed a session or want to hear something again, be sure to check for these recordings.

Sponsors, Rotarians & Other Guests

Sponsors, Rotarians and other guests have been invited complimentary to audit the seminar. We are pleased to be able to offer this to our supporters and value their attendance.

Keeping in mind that this is a delegate-centered program (for high school students), we encourage guests to attend our sessions but refrain from participating in discussion, forums, question-and-answer and other interactive sessions. We have designed a “sponsors track” specifically for our guests to participate and network with each other.

Click Here to learn more about our designated sponsors track sessions.

Help & Support

During the seminar, our staff will be standing by to ensure that your experience is smooth and enjoyable!

For general questions, please email contact@worldaffairsseminar.org.

For technology support, please email webmaster@worldaffairsseminar.org

Rotary District 6270 with Rotary Wheel

A Rotary District 6270 Initiative

World Affairs Seminar
10600 W. Mitchell Street
West Allis, Wisconsin 53214

Privacy Policy:

The World Affairs Seminar does not share or sell personal information about students or sponsors with any other organization except as authorized by signed release. This includes personal, health, financial, or other information. Information you post on public websites and other accessible media is your responsibility.

Refund Policy:

To receive credit after payment has been made, students, sponsors must notify the World Affairs Seminar in writing that their delegate is unable to attend, or if the sponsor is unable to fill a paid for space at the Seminar. (e-mail is considered "in writing" for these purposes as long as the e-mail is acknowledged as having been received.) Full credit applies if notification is received by April 1; 50% credit if application is cancelled between April 1 but prior to May 21; no credit is available if application is cancelled after May 21, unless extraordinary circumstances such as illness, death exist. All cancellation credits are subject to $75.00 processing fee and must be used within one calendar year. Note: in agreeing to attend WAS, parents and students promise to reimburse their sponsor for the full amount of any loss due to cancellation. WAS offices: (414) 453-4984, or contact@worldaffairsseminar.org.

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