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2015 Chairman's Report to Membership

Wednesday, February 03, 2016 3:31 PM | *World Affairs Council Tacoma (Administrator)

2015 Chairman's Report

Presented to the Board of Directors
January, 21, 2016

The past year was one of growth and expansion for the World Affairs Council Tacoma (WACT), as it continued its popular Travel Talk series, hosted a sell-out crowd for its summer wine tasting, held a successful Consular Association Reception on the heels of President Xi’s historic visit to Tacoma and launched two new programs—Global Classroom, a collaboration with the University of Washington Tacoma around topical global issues, and a series of international networking socials.

Nine Travel Talk programs were held over the course of the year in the Great Hall of Annie Wright Schools.  (Please see website for listing of past programs:  https://worldaffairscounciltacoma.wildapricot.org/Travel-Talk).   Topics covered the world, from "Running in China" to "Serving as an Older Peace Corps Volunteer." Annie Wright continues to be a valued partner in the promotion and hosting of these programs, and its engagement is deeply appreciated. Mariam Anderson has done an excellent job in bringing forward a wide range of interesting Travel Talk programs, and serving as a gracious host for the events.

The Council was fortunate to sponsor one of its periodic Global Voices programs, featuring PLU Professor Emeritus James Peterson speaking on the Israel-Palestine conflict—“The Struggle for Peace in a Region at War.”  It proved to be a compelling presentation, followed by a spirited Q&A session that lasted well into the night.

The summer found us gathered for the Council’s annual wine tasting fundraiser—Uncork A World of Wine—featuring Mackenzie Parks, the gifted Wine Director for El Gaucho Seattle.  The sold-out event featured a waiting list, four premium wines, a perfect August evening in the garden, and catering by Pacific Grill. 

Fall brought us once more to the annual Consular Association Reception, featuring Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland as emcee, and Brian Bonlender, Director of the Department of Commerce, as the keynote speaker.  Their engagement was particularly timely, since both were deeply involved in the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tacoma, which concluded the day prior to the reception.  Each was able to take us behind the scenes of that visit, and speak briefly to what it might portend for the region.

Roughly two dozen consuls braved horrendous I-5 traffic to join us in the Great Hall at Annie Wright, and their good will and endurance was deeply appreciated. 

President Xi’s visit led to the inaugural event of the Council’s new program series with the University of Washington Tacoma, Global Classroom, as we launched our initial program in December—“China’s President in Tacoma—Why It Matters” featuring Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Port Commissioner Connie Bacon, in a moderated conversation with UWT Professor Will McGuire.  The sold-out event brought together over 100 participants from throughout the community, eager to explore the economic, cultural and political ramifications of that event on the region.

The Council also hosted two social networking events, open to anyone with an interest in international affairs, at Cork!, a favorite Tacoma wine bar.  Each event brought together a diverse group of individuals, united by their interest in global affairs and travel.  The events were beautifully orchestrated by Meg Billings and the membership committee, which she chairs.

Through the efforts of Melissa Vincett, chair of the Council’s PR & Marketing Committee, the Council was able to raise its profile through a variety of social media outlets, reaching a number of attendees new to Council programs.  Melissa’s work in crafting the Council’s presence in both social media and more traditional outlets has been extremely valuable and deeply appreciated.

Finally, the Fundraising Committee in 2015, chaired initially by Michelle Merritt and more recently by Linda Danforth, captured significant new sponsorship opportunities, most notably with The News Tribune, secured a number of in-kind donations for Council events, and has laid the groundwork for an even more successful 2016.

Board Updates

Officers at the end of 2015:                        

Marcia Garrett, Chair

Turan Kayaoglu, Vice Chair

Andreas Udbye, Treasurer

Debbie Bingham, Secretary

Departing Board Members, 2015:            

Diane Maske, Andrea Peterson, Antonio Sanchez

Board Members Renewing Terms,         

Debbie Bingham, Brian Ebersole, Marcia Garrett, Dawn Lucien

Newly-elected board members to begin serving in 2016:         

Frank Boykin, Shannon Briggs, James Mateucci;

Student Liaison Vivian Zhou, Annie Wright Schools

Committee Chairs, 2015:                             

Fundraising, Linda Danforth;

Membership, Meg Billings;

Marketing & Communications, Melissa Vincett;

Programs, Mariam Anderson

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