World Quest Competition
Tuesday, March 6th 2018

Academic World Quest Competition

The 15th Annual World Quest Competition 2018 will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 with a snow date of Friday, March 9, 2018 at Reading Area Community College. 

World Quest is an academic, team-based competition open to all Berks County high schools and the winning team represents Berks County in the World Affairs Councils of America national competition in Washington, D.C.

Sponsorship funding allows us to continue providing this event in our community as well as funding of the winning team to compete at nationals in Washington. Our county institutions of higher education, our business supporters and our board of directors contribute a significant percentage of the funds necessary to make these events a success.

We still need help from our membership and community members to reach our budget goal of $7000.00. You can help by sending a check to World Affairs of Greater Reading, PO Box 6301, Reading, PA 19610. Thank you.

Breakfast Meeting
Thursday, March 8th 2018

Breakfast Meeting - 7:30 AM - INN AT READING
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

International Women's Day Program

How the Untapped Power of Women and Girls Can End World Poverty
Susan Markham - Former Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment-USAID

Susan Markham most recently served at the Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. In this position, she advised Agency leadership on gender policy issues, led cross-sectoral program efforts in resilience, adolescent girls’ education and energy, and represented the Agency to the White House and other departments, governments, civil society organizations and private partners. Previously, she led the efforts of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) a non-partisan organization, to increase women’s political participation globally as voters, activists, candidates and officeholders. In this role, she was especially proud of her work in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen to help women find and use their voices in their countries.

Susan worked earlier in her career in U.S. politics bringing to life her Master’s thesis that focused on women running for political office. At EMILY’s List, she ran the Political Opportunity Program (POP) that recruited, trained and supported women running for office at the state and local office. She also managed the Campaign Corps program that brought young people into the political process to engage them in elections. 

Susan now works and lives in Washington, DC with her family and two dogs. She’s earned degrees from George Washington University (Master’s of Arts) and THE Ohio State University (Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and International Studies), but looks forward to learning new things every day. 

Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, March 14th 2018

Luncheon Meeting - 12:00 Noon - Inn at Reading
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Dr. Joseph Braude

Broadcasting Change: Arabic Media as a Catalyst for Change

The Reading Eagle Company

Joseph Braude, a Senior Fellow with FPRI’s Program on the Middle East, is a Middle East scholar and author whose research appears in print and on air, in Arabic as well as English. He studied in the departments of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton. He developed his Arabic to broadcast quality through years of living and working in the Gulf states and North Africa, and added fluency in Farsi to his knowledge of Persian literature as a graduate student at the University of Tehran.

His first book, The New Iraq (Basic Books, 2003), examines the challenge of civil society development in the country following the US-led invasion. His second, The Honored Dead (Random House – Spiegel & Grau, 2011), presents an unprecedented investigation of the inner workings of an Arab security service: Braude was embedded for half a year in an investigative unit of the Moroccan federal police in Casablanca, where he read case files, attended interrogations, and accompanied police on nighttime forays into the shantytown.

Since July 2010, Joseph Braude’s weekly program in Arabic, Risalat New York (Letter from New York), has aired nationally on Morocco’s MED Radio. He appears frequently as a commentator on Al-Arabiya and other satellite television networks. He writes a biweekly column in Al-Majalla, the largest-distribution magazine in the Arabic language, and contributes regularly to the daily newspaper Asharq Alawsat. In the United States, he has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The American Interest, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and The New Republic. He provides commentary on public radio programs, and produces documentaries on current affairs in the Middle East for PRI’s America Abroad. He hosts the English-language podcast Eye on Arabia, a light-hearted roundup of reporting and analysis from the Arab world. He is also a contributing editor at Tablet.

Joseph Braude is Advisor at the Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center in Dubai, a think tank specializing in Islamist movements across the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to leading seminars and contributing research to its monthly book, he conducts outreach on behalf of the Center in the United States and elsewhere.

As a consulting advisor, Joseph Braude has assisted non-profit groups, government, and private companies in matters related to Middle East policy, public diplomacy, security sector reform, and counterterrorism. He has worked with the United States Agency for International Development, the US State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, and Pyramid Research.

Annual Excursion
Tuesday, April 17th 2018

APRIL 17 EXCURSION TO WASHINGTON - Clarification and Correction

including visits to
Korean Economic Institute of America and Brookings Institute

This Excursion starts with morning presentations at the Korean Economic Institute of America, followed by lunch at a top DC restaurant, Farmers & Distillers, an afternoon at the Brookings Institute, a premier American think-tank, with a relaxing glass of wine on the bus trip home.

The Excursion is on April 17 with a 7 AM departure from the Berkshire Mall and returns around 7 PM. Seating is limited and is on a first come first served basis with payment constituting a reservation. To clarify, only payment secures a reservation. The costs are $125 for non-members, $115 for members, $75 for Ambassadors and $55 for students. Payments can be made via mail to World Affairs Council of Greater Reading, PO Box 6301, Wyomissing, PA 19610.  For any questions or more information, call 610-375-7880 (the phone number in the Excursion brochure is incorrect).

Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, April 18th 2018

Luncheon Meeting - 12:00 Noon - Inn at Reading
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Thomas Wright

The Contest for the 21st Century and the Future of American Power

Sponsored by:
YMCA Diversity, Inclusion & Global Committee

Thomas Wright the director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. He is also a nonresident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. Previously, he was executive director of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and senior researcher for the Princeton Project on National Security.

Wright works on U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, Donald Trump's worldview, the future of Europe, and Asian security. His book “All Measures Short of War: The Contest For the 21st Century and Future of American Power” was published by Yale University Press in 2017.

Wright has a doctorate from Georgetown University, a Master of Philosophy from Cambridge University, and a bachelor's and master's from University College Dublin. He has also held a pre-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a post doctoral fellowship at Princeton University. Wright's writings have appeared in the American Political Science Review, Orbis, Survival, The Washington Quarterly, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and The Washington Post, as well as a number of international newspapers and media outlets.

Wright’s affiliations include the Fulbright Commission, Ireland, vice chair and board member International Politics Reviews, Palgrave Macmillan, editorial board.

Breakfast Meeting
Wednesday, April 25th 2018

Breakfast Meeting - 7:30 AM - Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Dr. Stepanka Magstadt

Human Trafficking

A migration historian educated in the U.K., the United States, and the Czech Republic, she is currently teaching courses dealing with Global Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking and Domestic Violence she developed. Stepanka is the Director of the Center for the Study of Human Trafficking in South-Central Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on identifying vulnerabilities to Sex Trafficking and Domestic Violence.



Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, May 9th 2018

Luncheon Meeting - 12:00 Noon - Inn at Reading
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Dr. Tara O

North Korea

Dr. Tara O is an Adjunct Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS. She is the author of The Collapse of North Korea: Challenges, Planning, and Geopolitics of Unification. She serves on the board of directors of the International Council on Korean Studies and was the editor-in-chief of its journal International Journal of Korean Studies (IJKS). A retired Air Force officer, she worked on national security, intelligence, alliance, and political-military issues at the Pentagon, the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea, and the U.S. European Command, as well as intelligence agencies. She also worked counterterrorism, counterproliferation, and satellite issues. She worked in a variety of capacities, including analysis, liaison, and leadership.

As a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, she taught strategy and military operations. She was a faculty researcher at the Institute of National Security Studies. Her research areas include the Korean contingency and unification, U.S. alliance relationships in Asia, human rights in North Korea, and the social integration of North Korean defectors.

Prior to the military, she also worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including the U.S. Agency for International Development in Nairobi, Kenya, working on drought assessment and food aid; the Asia Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos, assisting the Laos Central Bank as it transitioned from a centrally-planned to a market-oriented economy; Bank of America, managing syndicated loans to Latin America; the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, assessing potential global flash points; and the United Nations Association of the USA in New York,analyzing international economic institutions.

She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of California at Davis, an MPA in Public Policy and International Affairs from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Texas at Austin.

Breakfast Meeting
Wednesday, May 16th 2018

Breakfast Meeting - 7:30 AM - Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Professor Alexis Jardine

Similarities and Differences Between PA Dutch and Latino Cultures

Alexis Jardine is a Professor, Coordinator of the Spanish Department, and Co-Chair of the Multicultural Awareness Initiative at Reading Area Community College.  Alexis attended the Andres Bello University in Venezuela earning a bachelor’s degree in Education.  Prior to coming to the US, Alexis worked for the Embassy of Japan and the Embassy of Canada.  She has earned four Masters Degrees in Education and studied and lived in Barcelona Spain.  She is the author of No Barriers! College Success Strategies for Hispanic Students, a text book published by Kendall/Hunt in 2003. Alexis specializes in the development of Spanish language curriculum and cultural training for business executives, hospitals, and embassy staff.  She enjoys traveling to South American and Europe.