Maintaining an Active Voice in World Affairs

​Promote global identity in the Upstate. Sustain international engagement in our region. Get involved in leading intellectual discussions on critical issues facing the world. At World Affairs Council Upstate, we are participants in shaping a global tomorrow. Join us in fostering a broad perspective of our ever increasing inter-dependent world by sponsoring, donating, or becoming a member of World Affairs Council Upstate.

Dedicated to fostering a deep understanding of global affairs and cultures, and supported by individuals and businesses, Upstate International engages globally-minded South Carolinians directly with each other and with topic experts, elected officials, civic leaders, and professionals from around the world. Upstate International works with partner organizations to reach all generations and sectors and is always looking to enhance those partnerships and collaborations.


“The World Affairs Councils of America is the largest nonprofit  grassroots organization in the United States dedicated to educating and engaging Americans on global issues with nearly 100 councils across 40 states reaching more than half a million people a year.” Learn more at

Upcoming World Affairs Council Upstate Events

Beyond the Headlines Speakers Series

Starting this September, our Beyond the Headlines series returns, with engaging speakers discussing critical issues impacting our world! Our goal is to bring in expert speakers who present unbiased information on the topic and allow you to ask your own questions and form your own opinions. Lunch is included in the ticket. Check back soon for further details.

Global Upstate Conference on International Business and World Affairs

The 2023 Global Upstate Conference on International Business and World Affairs is an interdisciplinary event that will bring scholars and leaders together for serious and thoughtful discussions about the most pressing issues and opportunities facing the world. Over the course of two days in October, the conference will host representatives of different international companies, government agencies, national think-tanks, universities, the military, non-governmental organizations, and many more.


Check back here for future WACU events!

 Questions? Interested in sponsor opportunities? Please email


What you missed in 2022!

Global Upstate Conference

The inaugural Global Upstate Conference, presented by the World Affairs Council Upstate and hosted at Furman University and at the George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics, University of South Carolina Upstate, was an interdisciplinary event that brought scholars and leaders together for serious and thoughtful discussions about the most pressing issues and opportunities facing the world. Over the course of three days in March 2022, the conference hosted representatives of different international companies, government agencies, national think-tanks, universities, the military, non-governmental organizations, and many more.

Beyond the Headlines Speaker Series

  • Moment of Truth: Can the Iran Nuclear Deal be Revived? with Dr. Buket Oztas, January 12th, 2022
  • Chinese Influence in Africa: What does this mean for the rest of the world? with Dr. Trevor Rubenzer, Febuary 15th, 2022
  • America’s Fiasco in Afghanistan and Beyond with Dr. Akan Malici, April 15th, 2022

Join Upstate International to Support World Affairs Council Upstate Programming

Join us in educating ourselves on, and promoting a global perspective in, our increasingly inter-dependent world by becoming a member of Upstate International.

Memberships last for one year after purchase.

Individual membership: $75

Family membership: $100

World Affairs Council and UI Board Level Membership $200

Join Now: Click Here 

Access our online speaker series on our Upstate International YouTube Channel:

If you could not attend, or you just want to view it again to refresh yourself on points that were discussed, you are in luck. We have posted PDF files of the slides, if any were used, in the presentation and a YouTube video recording of the presentations.

  • Rising Discontent in Russia: Is Vladimir Putin’s Regime Vulnerable? with Dr. Matthew Placek
  • Will the Real Winner Please Stand Up: US – China Trade War with Dr. Brent Nelsen.
  • “The No Rights Zone”: Violence Against Muslims in China with Dr. Katherine “Kate” Palmer Kaup

  • Navigating the Poles: the New Frontier of Polar Diplomacy with William Muntean and moderated by Dr. Weston Dripps
  • Losing the Rainforest: Do Brazil’s Policies Threaten Our Future? with Dr. Karen Allen, Bob Inglis and moderated by Dr. Weston Dripps
  • Policing Styles: Does Europe Have a Better Model? with Dr. Kelsey Shoub, Dr. Paul Hirschfield, and moderated by Capt. Stacey Owens.
  • Global Cry for Racial Justice: An America and the World Conversation with Todd Shaw and Chris Richardson
  • Who Is Watching America and What Do They See? An America and the World Conversation with Kyle David Anderson and David Esch
  • Tragedy in Beirut, An America and the World Conversation with Chris McNaboe and moderated by Nathan Stock
  • The Future of Our Food Safety with Mark Moorman, 
  • Why It Matters: The Belarus Protests, An America and the World Conversation with David DeBatto, Michal Matlak, and moderated by Professor Brent Nelsen
  • Let’s Get Business Moving: A New Plan for Supply Chain Innovation a panel discussion with Suzanne Dickerson, Julie Branham, Gerald McDermott, and Dr. Nick Vyas.
  • Global Opportunity, Local Impact: The Life Sciences Industry Responds to COVID with Sam Konduros, Nate Wilbourne, Jennifer Noel Fletcher, and Shane Grivich.
  • The Dynamics of Today’s Supply Chain with Southeast Asia featuring Ambassador Robert Blake, Jr. and moderated by Professor William Lasser
  • Beyond Health: How COVID-19 will Reshape International Development with Global Communities Experts David Weiss and Carrie Hessler-Radelet
  • Leadership in These Turbulent Times with Four-Star General John Allen (ret.) and President of the Brookings Institution
  • Foreign Policy in the Crosshairs: a Conversation with Ambassador Herbst
  • Doing Business with Belgium and The Netherlands Post COVID-19 with Consuls General William De Baets, of Belgium, and Ard vander Vorst, of the Netherlands
  • Checks and Balances: Presidential Powers in a Crisis with Attorney Steven Buckingham, moderated by Professor Bill Lasser.
  • Flight Changed the World: Will COVID-19 Change the Way we Travel? with David Edwards, President/CEO of the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, and moderated by Elizabeth Feather.
  • Power Plays: Civil Liberties or Public Health? with Sahar Vardi and Dr. Katherine Barbieri, moderated by Nathan Stock.
  • Rebels vs. Rule Followers: In a Crisis Who Wins? with Michele Gelfand, moderated by Dr. Courtney Tollison
  • Dirty Planet: What’s the Cost of a Clean Conscience? with John K. Glenn and Bill Marshall, moderated by Nathan Stock.
  • Celebrating  50 Years of Earth Day Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis with Weston Dripps, moderated by Nathan Stock.
  • Bracing for Impact: Coronavirus and the Global Economy with Dr. Brent Nelsen and Dr. Tom Smyth.
  • Spread the Word, Not the Virus: Communication in the Time of COVID-19 with Dr. Shaniece Criss, Furman University, and moderated by Nathan Stock.

Each video is property of Upstate International and the speakers. They cannot be used or redistributed for commercial purposes without the express and written consent of both Upstate International and the speakers. If you download or view these presentations you are agreeing to the property statement written above. If you are caught in violation of this agreement, action can be taken by owners.

World Affairs Councils of America

Every year, the nation-wide network of World Affairs Councils collectively conducts more than 1200 programs in communities and cities across the nation. Each council sets its own calendar and programs. The WACA offers a number of programs every year, including our annual National Conference, national program series, Leadership Missions, and special programs. It also acts as a distribution center for five national flagship programs: Academic World Quest, It’s Your World!,
Great Decisions, Travel the World, and World in Transition.

Donate here. or   Become a Member here.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

Engage Opportunities with World Affairs Councils of America

Cover to Cover is a monthly program featuring the most influential authors on subjects of national and international importance.

Offered as a benefit to all current WACA Member Councils, Cover to Cover conference calls are opportunities for Council leaders, members, and supporters to engage with esteemed authors on critical issues. Cover to Cover authors often welcome invitations to speak at Councils. In short, the WACA National Office covers a topic with an expert so that Councils may discover a speaker and cover the topic in even greater depth in their own communities, spearheading a national conversation.

WACA Podcasts feature the most influential authors and experts on subjects of national and international importance. Moderated by WACA President and CEO Bill Clifford.

Listen to the Latest Podcast

KNOW NOW Conference Call Series

The World Affairs Councils of America is pleased to present the Know Now conference call series. These calls will feature global thought leaders hosted by WACA as well as local authorities in government, business, academia and cultural fields who are identified and moderated by local Councils, using our national conference call platform to bring local and national issues of global dimensions to our network.

Leadership Missions

For more than two decades, the World Affairs Councils of America has been invited to bring small delegations of council leaders to learn about a host country.  A leadership mission is an overseas fact-finding visit to a city, country, or international organization by a national leadership delegation of the World Affairs Council movement.

TRAVEL the WORLD with World Affairs Councils of America.  Many of our WACA affiliates offer travel programs to cooperating councils, just another benefit of a WACU membership. The trips offer all the highlights of touring, as well as access to political leaders and local experts for behind the scenes briefings not available to most tourists.  Many WACA tours feature Council leaders who are experts in their fields of diplomacy, journalism or academia to create added-value experiences.  And, perhaps most importantly, travelers become Citizen Diplomats with an opportunity to ‘meet the people’ to foster the dynamic exchange of international cultures and ideas.

Please click for details about the World Affairs Council of Charlotte and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia upcoming travel opportunities .

WACU Steering Committee

Kyle Anderson

API Abroad

David Esch


Elizabeth Feather

Director of Research, Upstate SC Alliance

Nisha Godbole


Jonathan Valadez

Hispanic Alliance

Heidi Wenninger


Blake Whitaker

Pinnacle Financial Partners

Brianna Woodsby

AFL Global

Tracie Frese

Executive Director, Upstate International