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World Affairs Seminar

"Dedicated to the advancement of international goodwill and peace through a better understanding of global issues"

The World Affairs Seminar is a popular Rotary program and attracts high school seniors from around the world. The Old Saybrook Rotary Club sponsors 3 seniors to attend the World Affairs Seminar. This year, it was held at Carroll University in Wisconsin. The seminar provides many insights to these students and gives them an opportunity to listen to peers from around the globe. International understanding is what this program is all about and the students came away with knowledge that will stay with them all their lives.

The World Affairs Seminar – a Rotary District 6270 initiative started over thirty years ago by Rotarian Dr. Dale Brock.  The seminar that was his inspiration served over 20,000 international youth.  They formed friendships, learned about the world’s problems, and often they used their newfound knowledge to make the world a better place.

We lost Dr. Brock September 2, 2008 at the age of 92 but the World Affairs Seminar lives on.  Each June we host about 700 students for a week of intellectually challenging presentations and interactive exercises that focus on the most crucial world issues. 

The World Affairs Seminar (WAS) is a Rotary District 6270 program which offers a unique opportunity for high school students from around the world to gather in an academic setting to study global issues.  During their six days at Carroll University, Waukesha, Wisconsin, they hear world renowned speakers; they meet in small groups to work out solutions to challenging problems.  They form lifelong friendships.  And they leave with tools that enable them to share their new knowledge and make an impact on the world they are about to inherit.

Founded in 1977 by Dr. Dale Brock, a Rotarian and professor, WAS was part of the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater until 2008. Due to many factors, the relationship with UWW ended. Subsequently, the World Affairs Seminar took a one-year sabbatical in 2008 to reorganize.  The Board of Directors was revamped and a new Executive Director (Tom Plantenberg) was retained.  Previous General Manager (Rick Luedke) remained as an "Advisor Emeritus" for continuity purposes.  Most importantly, an exciting effort was launched to make 2009 our best year ever.

Lead by Dr. James Rickabaugh, President of the School District of Whitefish Bay, the WAS Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the revitalization of this critical program.   PDG Catherine Zimmerman is Secretary/Treasurer and other members include PP Dr. William Wresch of UW Oshkosh, William B. Coleman, CPA of Coleman & Williams, PDG Mike Slawny of WE Energies, PDG Ted Gurzynski, DG Tamara Koop, Alice Lambie, PDG Gary Olson, and Paul Decker.

A vigorous fundraising initiative is underway to help WAS establish itself firmly as we enter into the new year.  In concert with these changes, a World Affairs Seminar Board of Advisors has been established.  The World Affairs Seminar Board of Advisors is a group of thoughtful, high-profile individuals who lend credibility to this important initiative.  They review agendas, topics, and programmatic.  They also recommend speakers and often contribute to securing the highest level of presenters.

Living accommodations, all meals, program materials and more are included in the $600 fee for domestic (US and Canada) students and $500 (international, including those studying in the U.S. in exchange programs.
World Affaris Seminar
10600 W. Mitchell St
West Allis, WI  53214
  (414) 453-4984   FX: (414) 431-0588
Attendees June 2015 at Carroll  University                                            
Stuart Hunter of Old Saybrook and
Carmen Borca-Carillo from Westbrook

Also pictured Glen Anderson of OS Rotary Club                    

Attendees for 2014 Held June 21-28 at Carroll University, Waukesha WI:

Left to Right:
Rachel Gosselin, Westbrook
Hannah Paynter, Lyme-Old Lyme
Kiran Kosla, Old Saybrook

Held June 15-21 at Carroll University, Waukesha WI
Left to Right: Glen Anderson, Mr. & Mrs. Schneider, Michael Schneider  (Westbrook High School), Grant Patterson (Old Saybrook High School), Mrs. and Mr. Patterson.



    Left to Right: 
    Christie De Antonis Old Saybrook High School
    Karim Abdel-Jalil Westbrook High School
    Amada Burke Lyme/Old Lyme High School

See newsletter dated 7/18/12 for more details


Ashley Brodeur (Old Saybrook HS), Emma Hartmann (Old Lyme HS), Sharif Jalil (Westbrook HS)
Right Photo - An excellent presentation by Ashley, Emma and Sharif at our July 21st meeting



At our meeting of Sept. 9, 2009, the high school students who attended the WAS spoke to the club about their experiences and what they learned. 


John Donnelly, advisor
Aaron Damrau, Westbrook HS Senior
Ian Graham, Old Saybrook HS Senior
Club President Keith Wescovich
Megan Devlin, Old Lyme HS Senior