Gala Newsletter 2023



The World Affairs Council of Orange County’s 2023 Gala had the honor of having LTG H.R. GEN. McMaster (ret.) as the keynote speaker of the night. Moder- ated by President and CFO of First Ameri- can Trust Jerry Braakman, the discussion touched on warfare and security tactics, the state of our current American mili- tary in foreign relations, and much more. “[The discussion] features the impor- tance of the World Affairs Council as a convinient organization that helps Ameri- cans understand better the challenges and opportunities we’re facing interna- tionally, and how we can work together to demand better politics to build a better future,” said LTG H.R. Gen. McMaster (ret.). The evening served as a chance for our Gala attendees and the community at large to gain perspective and insight on our country’s challenges and opportuni- ties on a global scale and the role that America holds.



from our World Affairs Council of Orange County Vice Chair and Gala Committee Co-Chair, Jayne Herring

Our 2023 Silent Auction this year was led by our World Affairs Coun- cil of Orange County Secretary and Silent Auction Sub-Committee Chair Helen Haig, featuring items donated by an array of internation- al consulates that showcases the diversity and identities of their respective countries. Our silent auction not only serves as an opportunity for fundraising, but also promotes cultural exchange and diplomacy by creat- ing a memorable and meaningful experience for all involved. The funds raised from the silent auction will be directed towards our mission’s efforts in making a positive impact in our local and global communities. “Tonight is a night that is usually dedicated to holiday parties. We had a sold out audience of people who wanted to learn about the state of our world, in an unbiased way, and just learn from each other and be around other peope who felt the same way. And I think that goes to show how starved we are for real information that’s not skewed one way or another to placate one side or another. What we saw tonight were people who cared about our place in the world. Clearly this orga- nization has a role in this communi- ty. So let’s harness that,” said Herring upon reflection of the WACOC 2023 Gala.

World Affairs Council of Orange County Gala Committee Co-Chairs, Dr. Mark Chapin Johnson & Ms. Jayne Herring

“I feel like this is one of the best opportunities to start giving people the opportunity to learn more, to meet each other and people they would’ve not met otherwise, to ask ques- tions, to consider other points of views and to just really understand how lucky we are to have that kind of diversity we have. We need to know what’s going on and it feels good,” said WACOC Secretary and Silent Auction Sub-Committee Chair Helen Haig.

Thank you to all our wonderful auction donors!




Amazing work to the 2023 Academic World Quest regional winners (pictured from left to right) Arya Darvish, Greeva Ramani, Bailey Alam and Marlowe Snapp of El Dorado High School from Placentia, CA!

These brilliant and enthusiastic minds with the support and guidance of their advisor, have highlighted their dedication in their achievements, exemplifying hard work and talent within the academic community.

“Since joining [AWQ], I’ve definitely looked at career options and study pathways that involve global foreign affairs,” said Snapp. “It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world, which I really appreciate.”

“It has been beneficial especially with the World Affairs Council and meeting new people,” said Darvish. Their passion for exploring and understanding global affairs, cultural histories, and current pressing international issues revolving NATO and Green Europe is not only inspiring, but to be cele- brated. With AWQ, these students are able to take their research and cross-reference material into their AP studies. “We have strong backgrounds in all sorts of topics that makes it easier for us to elab- orate,” said Ramani. “We have a better ability to educate other people who don’t know about it. So you can spread awareness,” said Alam. “It’s taught me to do a lot of research for myself and find unbiased sourcesso I can bring that into helping us have more productive discussions.” Next year’s competition held in March. All proceeds will fund their trip to Washington, D.C where they will be competing in nationals.

A MESSAGE from WACOC Chair of Executive Board, Rick Putnam

Rick has been with the World Affairs Council of Orange County as Chair of Executive Board since Septem- ber 2023. Upon reflection for Putnam WACOC’s plans for 2024, he says, “we envision building on the Council’s visibili- ty and momentum. Membership growth coordination among

the committees, and outreach to the business com- munity will be key focus areas. And of course, rele- vant programs and special events. There is no short- age of world affairs that affect Orange County! Happy New Year to all!”



The World Affairs Council of Orange County would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to our 2023 Gala sponsors and their continual support in our mission.

Fred & Firouzeh Ameri

Helen Haig


Christina Shook Website portfolio: Contact:

Heather Boucher Website portfolio: Contact:

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