About Us

What is the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh?

about_us2The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a deeper understanding of key contemporary international issues throughout Western Pennsylvania. Established in 1931, the Council is committed to informing opinion leaders and decision-makers about developments around the world as they unfold – and to educating them about the relevance of such developments to the region. The Council also has a special focus on secondary schools throughout the region, and works to give students and teachers a more nuanced understanding of the global issues of our time.

Through its Education Programs, the World Affairs Council works with students and teachers in secondary schools throughout the region. Each year the Council organizes and hosts over 100 events focused on the foreign policy challenges which lie ahead for the successor generation. These events are tailored to a student audience, and reach a combined total of over 11,000 students and teachers in nearly 300 area schools. As a result of these activities – and through the use of modern technology – students in Western Pennsylvania have had the opportunity to engage each other as well as their counterparts in secondary schools from as far away as Brazil, Italy, the Republic of Georgia, South Africa, and Taiwan.

about1The Council has been recognized as a leader in educational outreach and has received several awards including: The President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement as the Most Dynamic Mid-Size World Affairs Council in the United States; the World Affairs Councils of America’s Carol Marquis Award Recognizing National Excellence in International Education at the High School Level; the International Bridge Award (Community) from the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development; the Public Education Award from the Pennsylvania Council for International Education (PaCIE); and the Merit Award for Outstanding Contributions to World Languages and Cultures from the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association.
The World Affairs Council also conducts a range of Public Policy Programs for the professional community. Each year, the Council hosts approximately 10 luncheon discussions with major international leaders. Past speakers have included Condoleezza Rice, Thomas Friedman, Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan, and Former Prime Minister of South Korea, Ambassador Han Duk-Soo. The Council also uses other formats – such as breakfast briefings and evening discussion programs – to attract more younger and mid-career professionals to its events and engage them in a discussion of these issues.

WACA 2The Council is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America, an association of more than 90 councils in 40 states. Nearly 200,000 people are members at Councils nationwide, and the network reaches tens of thousands more individuals through a variety of outreach activities in schools and communities.  The World Affairs Councils of America network is the largest non-profit international affairs organization in the world.

Our vision for the future:
  • about_usTo be a vital forum for informed discussion and debate on world affairs and their impact on the nation and the region.
  • To be widely recognized for excellence, balance, and integrity in educational programs.
  • To be the leading source of programs and resources in schools and communities to help instill independent, critical thinking about the world and America’s role in it.

The Council is a 501(c)(3) organization funded solely by tax-deductible membership dues and the generosity of foundations, corporations, and individuals.

The Council also is an Educational Improvement Organization, as designated by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development. Click here to find out how businesses can receive tax credits for supporting Council school programs.

A copy of the official registration and financial information for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999.