48th Annual World Affairs Institute for Student Leaders

Friday, November 30, 2018

Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The Space Race began in the mid-1950s fueled by the Cold War, and competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union for dominance in space spurred the U.S. to be the first to land on the moon’s surface in 1969 during the Apollo 11 Mission. To prevent “a new form of colonial competition,” in 1967, nearly 100 nations signed the Outer Space Treaty to govern affairs in space, binding the parties to use outer space only for peaceful purposes and for the benefit of all mankind.

The high cost and high risk of space exploration meant that nation states were the only players in the Space Race. However, advancements in technology have made space more accessible than ever, and the number of private sector and non-state actors in space has increased significantly. A “New Space Age” is upon us, and with it comes a myriad of new possibilities and challenges previously unaccounted for. How will we govern the future of space?

We will explore the New Space Age at this year’s Out-of-This-World Affairs Institute! Students will hear from experts on the current state of space exploration, including commercial human spaceflight, space colonization, and the use of robotics and artificial intelligence. Students will learn about international space law and will discuss complex international relations issues that arise as we explore the galaxy, and beyond!

Student delegates and chaperones will also have an opportunity to view the Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibit at the Heinz History Center!


Institute Schedule

8:30 a.m.    Registration

9:00 a.m.    Welcome and Introduction

9:15 a.m.     Keynote Speaker

Laura Delgado Lopez, Editor-In-Chief, Space Policy Journal

10:00 a.m.   Q&A Discussion with Keynote Speaker

10:30 a.m.   Featured Speakers:

Jan Osburg, Senior Engineer, RAND Corporation

John Thornton, Chief Executive Officer, Astrobotic

Justine Kasznica, Shareholder, Babst Calland

11:15 a.m.     Panel Discussion with Featured Speakers

11:45 a.m.    Video Message from Mike Fincke, Astronaut, NASA

11:50 a.m.     Introduction to Simulation: Mars Colony Constitutional Convention

Led by Dr. Jan Osburg

12:00 p.m.    Institute Luncheon

12:30 p.m.    Simulation: Mars Colony Constitutional Convention

2:30 p.m.      Exhibition Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission

3:00 p.m.      Adjournment


Have a question for the speakers? Ask it here!

Check out the background materials below! (Required for all student delegates.)


Self-parking is available at parking lots and parking garages near the Senator John Heinz History Center. Please see the Heinz History Center Parking Map for locations and rates.

2018 World Affairs Institute Brochure

Questions? Contact Kathleen Newell, Education Program Manager: 412-281-7973


Background Materials

Featured Background Materials (Required)

Space Sustainability: A Practical Guide

(Published by Secure World Foundation – 2018) Read this practical guide to ensuring that all humanity can continue to use outer space for peaceful purposes and socioeconomic benefit, now and in the long term.

The Democratization of Space: New Actors Need New Rules

(Published by Foreign Affairs – April 20, 2015) The article discusses the history of the Space Race and explores the “New Space Race”–the new actors and the new rules needed to govern affairs in space.

Making Life Multiplanetary (abridged transcript) and Becoming a Multiplanet Species (slides)

(Published by SpaceX – September 28, 2017) Check out Elon Musk’s presentation at the 68th International Astronautical Congress on becoming a multiplanetary species.

Astrobotic Lunar Mission Profile on Atlas V

(Published by Astrobotic – August 14, 2017) Astrobotic and United Launch Alliance (ULA) proudly announce today that Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander will be onboard a ULA launch vehicle in 2019, during the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Watch this animated video of the mission.

If We Colonize the Moon, This Company Wants to Ship Our Stuff

(Published by Astrobotic – May 25, 2017) Imagine a delivery service that promised to drop your package within five miles of your house, but couldn’t tell you exactly where until after the delivery had happened. That’s how landing on the moon has historically worked, and it’s a problem Astrobotics knows how to fix. The company’s unique GPS system allows it to land spacecraft within meters—rather than kilometers—of the intended target. That might not matter much now, but it will when moon colonizers need fresh supplies from their home planet. Production company Freethink documents the work of Astrobotics in this episode from the series The New Space Race.

Who Owns the Space?

(Published by TEDxBudapest – October 31, 2014) Let’s discuss the future of Space Law. As part of the discussion, Justine Kasznica will emphasize the critical role of law and policy in shaping (and preparing for) the privatization of space. She will touch on public-private partnerships and cross-border relationships as critical ingredients for successful development of the commercial space industry.


Fun Stuff to Click On (Optional)

Falcon Heavy Animation

(Published by SpaceX – February 5, 2018) Watch SpaceX’s animated video showing the ideal sequence of events for the Falcon Heavy launch. When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lbs.)–a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy’s first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Following liftoff, the two side boosters separate from the center core and return to landing sites for future reuse. The center core, traveling further and faster than the side boosters, also returns for reuse, but lands on a drone ship located in the Atlantic Ocean. At max velocity the Roadster will travel 11 km/s (7 mi/s) and travel 400 million km (250 million mi) from Earth.

Falcon Heavy Test Flight

(Published by SpaceX – February 6, 2018) Watch video footage of the successful Falcon Heavy test flight and coverage of the event. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.

First Private Passenger on Lunar BFR Mission

(Published by SpaceX – September 17, 2018) SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle–an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space. Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in history. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972. Find out who’s flying next and why.

#dearMoon Project

(Published by #dearMoon Project) In 2023, SpaceX will launch the world’s first private lunar mission with its spacecraft BFR. The first passenger will be Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa. Find out more about his universal art project, #dearMoon.

Mars Desert Research Station

(Published by The Mars Society) Learn about simulated manned Mars exploration.

How to Prevent Asteroids from Hitting Earth – Random Space Fact

(Published by The Planetary Society – July 17, 2018) Everything you want to know about preventing an asteroid from hitting the Earth, featuring Dr. Bruce Betts, Chief Scientist of The Planetary Society.

Planetary Defense Frequently Asked Questions

(Published by NASA – August 29, 2017) Find answers to your questions about planetary defense.

See How Astrobotic is Revolutionizing the Moon

(Published by HP – September 25, 2014) The moon is a place that humans have speculated about from a far. Many have been intrigued by its mysterious presence in our solar system, but only a select few have had the chance to explore it. The team at Astrobotics are changing that. At Astrobotic, they send packages and robots to the moon for exploration, scientific, and marketing purposes. Now countries and companies have a “pathway” to the moon. Click here to learn more about Astrobotics and how technology is revolutionizing transportation.

Moon Shot, Episode 1 – Pittsburgh: Astrobotic

(Published by Lunar XPRIZE – March 17, 2016) Legendary roboticist Red Whittaker is a professor who splits his time between teaching future engineers at Carnegie Mellon and owning/operating a working cattle farm in rural Pennsylvania. With a crack team of former students, he co-founded Astrobotic because he believes robots are the best solution for exploring remote, harsh environments–from nuclear disaster zones to the moon. Episode One of Moon Shot, a documentary from Academy Award-nominated director Orlando von Einsiedel, Executive Producer J.J. Abrams, Bad Robot, Epic Digital Google and XPRIZE. The Google Lunar XPRIZE is the largest prize competition of all time with a reward of $30 million and aims to incentivize entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond, while inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers. This character-driven, emotional, awe-inspiring series of 9 short films will follow a selection of the teams currently racing to complete their missions. It will explore the lives of their charismatic, quirky members, the sacrifices they have made to get to where they are today, and crucially, what drives them on this incredible journey.

Global Issues on the Moon? – An Interview with a Space Lawyer

(Published by World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh – August 14, 2018) What combines scientific discovery, national security, natural resources, and the complexities of international law? Outer space! The Outer Space Treaty formed the basis for international space law in 1967, but has since been subject to future case law, legislation and international treaties. Join us on this episode as we welcome Pittsburgh-based “space lawyer” Justine Kasznica to the The World Affairs Report to discuss her work, the history of space law, private space companies, and the future of human interaction in space.


In the News (Optional)

Pittsburgh Company to Play Major Role in NASA’s Return to the Moon

(Published by KDKA – September 28, 2018) The U.S. will return to the moon for the first time in 50 years with Astrobotic’s spacecraft, Peregrine. Check out its mission!

SpaceX Readies Astronauts for America’s Return to Space Travel

(Published by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – August 15, 2018) Learn about NASA’s partnership with SpaceX through the Commercial Crew Program, and “Crew Dragon”.

Astrobotic Selected for NASA Award to Develop Sensor for Precise Planetary Landings

(Published by Astrobotic – August 8, 2018) Astrobotic’s precision landing sensor will unlock compelling new destinations on the Moon for science, exploration, and commerce.

Astrobotic Awarded NASA Contract to Develop CubeRover for Lunar Missions

(Published by Astrobotic – March 13, 2018) CubeRover to open lunar surface mobility for the world.

Astrobotic and United Launch Alliance Announce Mission to the Moon

(Published by Astrobotic – July 26, 2017) Rust Belt Company, Astrobotic selects ULA to launch its Peregrine Lander in 2019 for lunar mission 50 years after Apollo 11.


Who sponsors the World Affairs Institute?

The Institute is sponsored by Rotary International and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. This year’s Institute marks the 48th year of collaboration between the Council and Rotary International.

What is the objective of the Institute?

The 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.

How is the conference structured?

Through panel presentations and an experiential learning activity, experts will discuss key issues with the student delegates. Each student will have access to a comprehensive overview of the topic prior to the Institute (see Required Readings and Videos below).

Who can attend the Institute?

All high school student are eligible to attend. Students can register independently or be selected as a scholarship recipient by local Rotary Clubs (Districts 6650, 7300, and 7330) or school districts.

How much does it cost to attend the Institute?

The fee of $75 for each student delegate and chaperone will cover the cost of registration, educational materials, all conference sessions, lunch, and refreshments.

What is the dress code?

Please dress in business casual attire.

Who is eligible for a scholarship?

Each Rotary Club or school district determines and pays for the number of scholarships it is sponsoring. Please contact your local Rotary Club/Interact Club or school district to see if scholarships are available.


Registration for Rotary and School Scholarships

Each Rotary Club/school district must complete and submit the Group Registration Form and send a check payable to World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Download the Group Registration Form here.

All student delegates must also complete and submit the Liability Release / Media Waiver prior to attending the Institute. Download the Liability Release / Media Waiver here.

Last year, student delegates and chaperones were required to complete an online registration form. The online registration forms are no longer required. To officially register on behalf of a Rotary Club/school district, the Council must receive the completed Group Registration Form, check payment, and student delegates’ Liability Release / Media Waivers.


Individual Student Registration

Students registering individually without a scholarship must compete and submit the Student Registration and Liability Release / Media Wavier and send a check payable to World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Download the the Student Registration and Liability Release / Media Waiver here.

Are you a Global Leadership Certificate student? A limited number of scholarships are available for GLC students. Please check Schoology for more information and to apply.


Please mail check payments to:

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
2640 BNY Mellon Center
500 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2502


About Rotary International

Rotary International is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Its mission 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.

About the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

Established in 1931, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing a pathway for a more globally minded region, offering students and the community a learning space that covers key international issues.

For nearly five decades, the Council has had a special focus on serving secondary schools throughout Western Pennsylvania. Through its award-winning educational outreach program, the Council annually organizes events focused on the policy challenges which lie ahead for the successor generation, so that they may understand and think critically about their world.