Houston is a diverse city. Here’s how one member engages.

May 25, 2020

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Written By: Ray Cunningham, World Affairs Council of Greater Houston Member

Living and working in a diverse and international city like Houston, I have an appreciation for how connected we really are to the world. When I go to work at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), any given day it can be like stepping into a microcosm of the world. Over 145 languages are spoken in the Houston metropolitan area alone, and more than 70 countries are served by our two major airports. So for me, cultivating a global perspective at the local level/grass roots level is important. 

The World Affairs Council of Greater Houston (WAC) provides this extremely valuable service through their outstanding programs, events and educational outreach. Membership in WAC provides me with unique opportunities to actually engage in intimate conversations with a range of thought leaders, industry executives, policy makers and global influencers. Just in the past few years alone I have met and shared dialogue with journalists, academics, energy executives, current and former diplomats, FBI special agents and CIA officers. Some of the most impactful recent discussions include a prominent exiled Turkish journalist; and a former high-ranking Iranian diplomat who was involved in drafting the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA); and former Houston Chronicle business reporter Loren Steffy who just published a biography of Texas oilman and Woodlands founder George Mitchell.

Each of these exchanges is an education in itself. These dialogues continuously raise my level of consciousness, and are helpful in my understanding of how events and people shape the world around us, both directly and indirectly. The unique insights I gain through WAC membership, programs, and participation truly make me a better global citizen.