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WA2012, a set on Flickr.

We’ll be uploading new pictures from #WA2012 during our conference. You can see all of them on our Flickr page and feel free to submit your shots too.

Via Flickr:
WA2012: Navigating in a Shifting Global Landscape March 30-31, 2012 St Regis San Francisco

From June 9-20 our own Vice President of Public Programs, Carla Thorson, traveled with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia’s “Changing Tides of History” tour of the Baltics as a scholar in residence. She kept a blog during the journey, writing at each port of call. Read her posts about Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Gdansk and many more  here.

If you are interested in future trips, learn more about the Philadelphia Council’s travel programs here.

On June 22, The World Affairs Council hosted David E. Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent for the New York Times for a Guggenhime Speaker Series event titled “From Wikileaks to bin Laden’s Demise: Six Months That Changed America’s Global Challenges.” Jane Wales, President and CEO of the Council, interviewed Mr. Sanger and moderated questions from the audience.

Sanger’s visit came just hours after President Obama’s speech on the reduction of American troops in Afghanistan. When asked his views on the speech, Sanger described how the original goals of the war have changed over the past few years.  Sanger noted that Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan once included stabilizing the country, training Afghan troops, opening schools, and implementing a “civilian surge.” Obama’s plan to draw down more rapidly indicates a return to the narrower goal of dismantling and defeating Al Qaeda.

Sanger also marked a distinct change in policy with regard to Pakistan. At the inception of the war, the logic was that Pakistan was a necessary partner to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now, says Sanger, Afghanistan acts as a base from which the US can target militants in Pakistan. The raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound was an embarrassment to the Pakistani government, particularly as bin Laden’s presence had gone unnoticed by Pakistan’s military base, which Sanger described as the “Pakistani West Point”.

Asked whether it was possible that the popular movements in the Middle East would return to Iran, Sanger thought that that it was unlikely due to the Iranian government’s brutality in crushing dissident groups. Sanger also brought attention to the Stuxnet worm that temporarily shut down Iranian nuclear facilities. He was impressed by the skill used in the attack and noted it as the first cyber weapon  to successfully attack the infrastructure of a foreign state.

As always, Sanger proved to be a riveting speaker, illuminating a host of global issues faced by the United Sates and the world.

The video of Sanger’s visit can be found here: http://vimeo.com/25692679

As Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan celebrates his re-election, the rest of the region and the world are waiting to see how his victory will effect his country. This Monday, April 25, the World Affairs Council will host Ambassador John Campbell, author of Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, for an exploration of Nigeria’s post-colonial history and an explanation of the events and conditions that have carried this complex, dynamic and troubled giant to the edge. Can Nigerians push back against corruption and use the nation’s oil wealth to stoke economic investment and growth, or will Nigeria continue to be a place of a wealthy minority and impoverished majority?

Register for the program here and read more about Jonathan’s win in today’s New York Times.

After the controversial 2008 presidential election in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe began a brutal terror campaign against his people which would later become known simply as, “The Fear.” Having entered the country in secret, journalist, author and native Zimbabwean Peter Godwin watched as Mugabe insisted on a runoff election and then launched a campaign against the opposition known as “Operation Let Us Finish Them Off.” Godwin chronicled the election aftermath in his new book, The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe, which he will discuss at the Council on April 28 at 6 PM.

Register for the program here. Listen to an interview with Godwin on NPR’s Fresh Air here.

On April 20, we are pleased to host Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama for a discussion of the evolution of government. In his new book, The Origins of Political Order, he traces political history back to the beginning of man. He will join us to discuss why some societies have created stable liberal democracies, while others have failed to form legitimate and accountable institutions. Register for the program “From Tribes to Citizens: The Evolution of Government,” here.

For more about Fukuyama and his analysis of the history of human social structures, check out this recent article from The New York Times.

If you were unable to join us for last weekend’s WorldAffairs 2011 conference or wish to experience it again, be sure to check out our video archive. There you can watch keynotes by Robert Reich, Arun Majumdar, David Sanger, James Zogby and Stephen Hadley as well as plenary sessions on economy and energy. View the sessions here.

Additionally, we will be broadcasting these sessions on the radio four nights next week, Monday, March 28 through Thursday, March 31, at 8 PM on KQED 88.5 FM.