The Sarasota World Affairs Council hosts high-profile foreign affairs lectures covering current international issues ranging from foreign intelligence to peace negotiations to immigration and trade. 


Each lecture is followed by a wine and light-bites reception for SWAC members. We hope that members will take advantage of such opportunities to speak face-to-face to with those working directly in the field of international affairs.

Oct. 23, 2019 - Venezuela: A Real Threat in Our Backyard

Diego Arria 

Former Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations and President of the Security Council – now a political and human rights activist living in exile in the US. 


Nov. 11, 2019 - Migration across a Common Border: 

A Challenge for Mexico and the U.S.

Gustavo Mohar

Founder and Director of Grupo Atalaya, a private Mexican consultancy that specializes in nontechnical risk and strategic intelligence.

Dec. 3, 2019 - Global Health: Why You Really Must Care

Richard Skolnik

Former Director for Health in the South Asia Region of the World Bank. 

Jan. 14, 2020 - The Politics of Hate Have Driven the U.S. and Iran to the Brink

Jamal Abdi

President of the National Iranian American Council. 

Feb. 11, 2020 - Not with a Bang: 

Moving toward the Endgame with a Nuclear North Korea

Evans Revere

Senior Director at the Albright-Stonebridge Group.




The Rising Tide:  Increasing Demand for Climate Action

Loren Blackford

President of the national Sierra Club. Tickets will include an invitation to tour the beautiful gardens beginning at 5:30 p.m., an appetizer buffet, one complimentary drink ticket, cash bar, a silent auction, and the feature presentation. SWAC members $40; non-members $50. 

April 21, 2020 - Changing the Face of Modern Ballet: The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School

Ariel Serrano and Wilmian Hernandez

Directors of the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School.  Dancers from the school will demonstrate the unique aspects of the SCBS style.

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Except for the March event, all programs will be held at the Sainer Pavilion on the campus of New College of Florida and begin at 6:30 pm.  Regular programs are free for the general public, but reservations are suggested.  Each lecture is followed by a members-only reception with the speaker in a historic building on Sarasota Bay.



2018-19 Series

October 15th, 2018 -

"From PIGS to Hotspot: How Portugal is Engineering the Great Comeback Story of Post-Crisis Europe"

 Dr. Michael Baum

November 6th, 2018

"Kurdistan and Iraq After ISIS: What’s Next?"

Ms. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman

December 12th , 2018

"The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon"

Andrés Ruzo

January 10th, 2019

"Facing Nuclear Challenges-Russia, North Korea, and Iran"

Steven Pifer

February 4th, 2019

"Can We Prevent the Next Attack?:  Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges of Countering Violent Extremism"

Dr. Stevan Weine, M.D.

March 5th, 2019

"Reconstructing U.S.-Russia Relations" 

Dr. William Pomeranz  | Co-sponsored with New Topics New College

2017-18 Series

October 5th, 2017

"The Future of Korea and U.S.-Korea Relations"
Jandi Kim, Tim Johnson, and Jenna Gibson  | Co-sponsored by the Korean Economic Institute and the Ringling Museum of Art   

November 6th, 2017

"Sustainability in a Changing World"

Alize Carrere | Co-sponsored with New Topics New College


December 5th, 2017

"The Gulf States: Vive La Revolution or Vive La Counter-Revolution?"

Dr. Peter Bartu

January 17th, 2018

"Global Financial Integrity"

Raymond Baker

February 6th, 2018,

"Florida and Climate Change: Can We Survive Without Paris?"

Dr. Robert K. Musil 


March 22nd, 2018

"The Future of Cybersecurity and Trends in Technological Risk: Impacts for U.S. Foreign Policy and Politics"

Jonathan Reiber

2016-17 Series

October 12th, 2016 
"The Panama Papers”

Rogelio Novey |  Co-sponsored with the Northern Trust Company

November 16th, 2016

 "South Africa Update: Report from the Field"

Charlayne Hunter-Gault & Ron Gault
Lecture and wine-tasting featuring Passages wines produced by the Gaults in South Africa |  Co-sponsored with Northern Trust Company


December 6th, 2016

"Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran"
Laura Secor
Co-sponsored with Suplee Shea Cramer & Rocklein, PA


January 26th, 2017

 "Ocean Exploration and Protection for a Bold, Blue, and Prosperous Future”

Alex Tait | Co-sponsored with Mote Marine Laboratory. 

Special event at the Mote Banquet Center 


February 15th, 2017

"Nuclear Weapons: They're Back"
Robert Gallucci
Co-sponsored with New Topics New College


March 21st, 2017

 "Terror Financing and International Money Laundering" John Cassara

2014-15 Series


October 15th, 2014
"Building a Regional Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking” Nola Theiss


November 25th, 2014
“The New Global Order, China's Rise, and Our Shared Future” Ronnie C. Chan and Dr. Fan J. Zhang

[Presented in affiliation with The Ringling's Asian Initiative]


January 15th, 2015
“Beyond Crisis and Conflict: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Middle East” Professor and Colonel (Ret.) Derek Harvey


March 17th, 2015

“Outpost: Life on the Front Lines of American Diplomacy” Ambassador Christopher Hill

[Presented in affiliation with Bookstore1Sarasota, New College of Florida, and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation]


May 12, 2015
“Winds of Change in Havana and Washington” Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez


2015-16 Series

October 13th, 2015
"Is Israeli-Palestinian Peace Possible in the Near Future?” Ralph Nurmberger


November 10th, 2015
“An Arc of Instability in Foreign Policy: Reporting from the West Wing and Abroad” Carol Lee


November 30th, 2015
“Peace Negotiations Taking Place in Colombia with Guerrilla Movements” Frank Pearl.
Co-sponsored with New Topics New College.


January 26th, 2016

“Genocide and American Humanitarianism: Lessons from World War I and Its Aftermath” Susan Harper


February 8th, 2016
“Will Africa Feed China? Think Again” Deborah Brautigam


March 7th, 2016
“Arab Voices: What They Are Saying and Why It Matters” James Zogby

Spring 2014

Inaugural Series


February 13th, 2014
"The Federal Courts Confront the War on Terror” Honorable Jon O. Newman


April 7th, 2014
“American and Afghanistan: Partners for Peace” Honorable Eklil Hakimi and Khris Nedam

[Note: Unforeseen circumstances prevented Honorable Eklil Hakimi from attending.]


May 1st, 2014
“Function and Dysfunction: How Mexican and U.S. Governments Interact over Immigration”

Ambassador Daniel Hernández Joseph



© 2020 by the Sarasota World Affairs Council


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