World Affairs Institute

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and Rotary International

Annual student conference on a major international issue or region

The 46th annual event will take place in the Fall of 2016.

What is the objective of the Institute?

DSC_0041The Institute engages high school student leaders in a discussion of key issues in international affairs so that they can understand and think critically about their world.

The 2015 topic, Cuba and the United States: The Start of a New Era,  focused on the historic decision to restore diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba, as well as the outcome this change will have on Cuba’s economy, political system, and the role it plays in the global community.  Additional materials related to the 2015 event (including a background paper on Cuba, and Foreign Policy Scenario) can be found by clicking here.

Who can attend the Institute?
High school students are selected by local Rotary Clubs (Districts 6650, 7280, 7300, and 7330) in cooperation with schools. Each Rotary Club determines the number of scholarships available.

How many student delegates attend?
Approximately 350 high school juniors and seniors.

DSC_0125How is the conference structured?
Through panel presentations and small breakout sessions, experts will discuss key issues with the student delegates. Each student will receive a comprehensive background paper prior to the Institute. The most recent background paper on Cuba can be found here.

Who pays for the scholarships?
Each Rotary Club pays for the number of scholarships it is sponsoring. The fee of $75 for each delegate will cover the cost of registration, educational materials, all conference sessions, lunch, and refreshments.

The World Affairs Institute is a collaboration between the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and Rotary International.

rotary_55Rotary International
Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. There are 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are non-partisan, non-denominational, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. As signified by the motto, “Service Above Self,” Rotary’s main objective is service – in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.

wac_55World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
The 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 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. The Council also 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.

Contact Emily Markham at the Council by phone at 412. 281.7027 or by email at