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The World Affairs Council of Tacoma (WACT) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to promote public understanding of world affairs and to enhance the ability of its members to engage in a global community. 

We feature guest speakers such as diplomats, academics, business professionals, and journalists.  Speakers provide the opportunity for participants to engage in meaningful discussions about world affairs.

tacoma skyline

Our Team

Meet the World Affairs Council of Tacoma Leadership Team


Marcia Garrett

President & Executive Committee

Marcia is presently retired after a long career in public, private, and academic settings. She most recently worked as the Director of Regional Relations for Washington State University, based out of offices in Seattle. She currently serves on the Citizens Advisory Board for the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, as well as the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.

Mariam Anderson

Mariam Anderson

Treasurer & Executive Committee

Mariam is a yoga instructor and personal fitness coach. Her professional background is in business development and event planning. She is from the Republic of Georgia and has lived in Tacoma since 1999. Mariam has been a long-term volunteer for the Tacoma Sister Cities International and WAC Tacoma. She enjoys outdoor activities, cooking, and spending time with her husband, son, and cat. 

Amy Jenkins

Amy Jenkins

Executive Board Member

Amy is a Senior Program Manager for The Borgen Project, a nonprofit located in Tacoma. Amy meets with members of Congress to build support for life-saving legislation and educates the organization's volunteers in advocacy skills to mobilize around how increased global programs and solutions are vital for addressing poverty and hunger. Amy enjoys spending time with her husband and two golden retrievers taking canoe trips and hikes. She also loves using rainy PNW days as an excuse to stay in with a good book. 

Marc McDonald

Marc McDonald

Executive Board Member

My wife, Brenda, and I are enjoying ourselves as recent transplants from California to the Puget Sound. On Sunday mornings we provide hot meals to families and individuals in need. 

I am recently retired from a career in the development and management of commercial, government owned and aviation related real property in the U.S. and Australia.

Arthur DeLong

Arthur DeLong

Vice President & Executive Committee

Arthur DeLong is a partner at Eisenhower Carlson, LLC, where his practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, and securities transactions.  He is a longtime board member of the Tacoma World Affairs Council, and lives in the North End of Tacoma with his wife and two children. Arthur enjoys living in the Pacific Northwest, with all the region has to offer.

John Lucas

John Lucas

Executive Committee

John Lucas is a Professor of Political Science at Pierce College.  He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University, and his research focused on Nigerian politics.

Brian Dirks

Brian Dirks

Marketing, Communications & Executive Committee

Brian is retired after a successful, 40-year career in communications. His extensive portfolio of non-profit experience also includes leadership positions within PTA groups and the Everett-based Hands for Peacemaking Foundation (where he currently serves as president). He was staff liaison to several non-profits during his 11 years with the office of former Lt. Governor Brad Owen. He is an outdoor sports enthusiast, and enjoys spending time with his wife Dee, three adult children and three grandchildren.

Our Board Members

*Ex-Officio Board Members

Debbie Bingham

Sister Cities Coordinator

Community & Economic Development City of Tacoma

Iuliia Didkivska

Health Promotion Technician

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department

Greg Hansch

SVP, Relationship Manager

Tacoma Commercial Banking

Sam Kaplan

Director, Center of Excellence Global Trade & Supply Chain Management Highline College

Clare Petrich

Chair, Tacoma Sister Cities

Owner, Petrich Marine Dock

Cindy Schaarschmidt

Executive Director of International Education

Senior International Officer

Pierce College District

Joan Waldrop

Retired Project Manager

Tong Zhu*

Chief Commercial Officer & Chief Strategy Officer
Northwest Seaport Alliance

Ken Brown

Department Chair, Social Studies

Bellarmine Preparatory School

Brian Ebersole

Former mayor, City of Tacoma

Former president, Bates Technical College

Mary Hanneman, Ph.D.

Professor, Modern East Asia

School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

University of Washington, Tacoma

Deanna Keller

Port of Tacoma Commissioner

Shariah Mae Olomua

Attorney, Eisenhower Carlson PLLC

Tanja Stack

CEO, Chi-Chack LLC

Ruth Elizabeth Willis*

The Republic of Seychelles Consulate USA

Zhiyan (Juliet) Cao

Associate Dean and

 Associate Professor

Milgard School of Business

University of Washington, Tacoma

Michael A. Fowler

Senior Trade Consultant, World Trade Center Tacoma

Syed K. Jamal

Founder and CEO, Branta

James Newman*

Director, International Programs, Tacoma Community College

Faaluaina Pritchard

Executive Director, Asia Pacific Cultural Center

Paul Swider

Communications Consultant

Dr. Lin Zhou*

President, Bates Technical College

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