Fall 2024 – Global Affairs & U.S. Foreign Policy Institute

Fall 2024 – Global Affairs & U.S. Foreign Policy Institute

September 24, 2024 @ 06:00 PM to November 5, 2024 @ - 08:00 PM
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Note: This course, Part II, is the 2nd Course of the Institute. It is not necessary to take the 1st Course (Part I: ‘How the Modern World Order Came to Be & the U.S.’s Role in the World’).

Teachers: The World Affairs Council of Greater Houston is a CPE provider. This course qualifies for TEA continuing professional education credit.

Dictators, Democracies & Difficult Decisions: Autocrats, U.S. Foreign Policy & The World Today’

In our nation’s proud democratic history, we have admirably promoted freedom around the world and valiantly fought the likes of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. At other times, we have been inconsistent or even coldly calculating in our approach to other dictatorial and repressive regimes.

This course ‘Part II’ will analyze U.S. foreign policy with a focus on how and why the U.S. has sometimes coddled or sometimes attacked various dictators, autocrats and their regimes. It will address what may have been the immediate objectives of such policies, and more importantly the longer-term implications of those actions – for better or worse.

From our nation’s earlier foreign policy towards autocrats in Latin America to Franco, Stalin and others in Europe to Vietnam and Korea to the Middle East, the U.S.’s approach to autocrats has been reasonable at times, and perplexing at others.

The course will examine how dictators and autocrats come to power, and review the methods and tactics they use to remain in control – particularly in the modern era from surveillance systems and cyber tools to social media and manipulating the message and mindset within a nation.

How we assess and deal with autocratic leaders now in Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and elsewhere will impact not only the U.S., but also shape the world order and global outlook for years to come.


With Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine and the growing global might of China, has a New Cold War Era begun? Arguably in the past 30 years, the impact of world events and the need to better understand geopolitical power has never been greater.

For those pursuing a deeper understanding of global affairs and U.S. foreign policy to benefit their professional development or personal knowledge, the Global Affairs & U.S. Foreign Policy Institute is an excellent resource to gain a more comprehensive grasp of the world as it is today, and what factors will shape it in the years ahead. The Institute allows attendees to enhance or develop key competencies and a global understanding applicable to: international business, careers with the US government, international NGO’s & non-profits, global risk analysis and a variety of other fields impacted by world events.

The Institute benefits those who are interested in global affairs, but have only a limited knowledge of the issues. It will also enhance the understanding of those who have an existing familiarity and experience with international issues, but desire to learn more and delve deeper.

At the end of Institute, all attendees will receive a ‘Certificate of Completion’ from the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston – which is a Certified Education Provider (CPE #501-096) by the Texas Education Agency.

Outside experts will join classes 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 to stimulate discussion and allow students to ask them questions directly. Background reading materials will be given to students before the start of the session, and each week in advance of the next class. Some of featured experts who have spoken to recent sessions of the Institute have been: Fmr. FBI Supervisory Special Agent; Fmr. CIA Senior Analyst; Fmr. U.S. Ambassador; Fmr. Venezuelan diplomat; Middle East journalist & analyst; Fmr. cybersecurity expert for the U.S. State Department; University Dean & expert on East Asia; and a New York Times national energy business correspondent.  A similar selection of experts will be present at all Sessions of the Institute.

Courses are held once per week on Tuesday from 6:00-8:45 pm with a 10-minute break in the middle of each course. The first part of each class from 6:00pm to 7:20pm covers the material and topics for that week; and it is taught by the Council’s Chief Programs Officer Ronan O’Malley. The guest speakers/experts join the class at 7:30pm for the conversation and discussion with the students. Courses are held in person in the Council’s conference room and most, if not all, of the outside experts will join the class in person. At the end of Course 7, the last course of the session, students have the option to make a short presentation and lead a short discussion with the class on a topic of their choosing.

The Institute consists of 7 sessions held once per week on Tuesdays from 6:00-8:45 pm

For more information, please email [email protected] or call the Council at 713 522-7811.

Ticket Information

Member • Fall Institute 2024
End: September 24, 2024 04:00 PM
Non Member • Fall Institute 2024
End: September 24, 2024 04:00 PM
Enrollment includes a 1 YEAR Individual MEMBERSHIP.
Online • Fall Institute 2024
End: September 24, 2024 04:00 PM
NOT VIRTUAL/LIVE | Video recordings of all the classes, Power Point slides, books & study materials are included. Enrollment includes a 1 YEAR Individual MEMBERSHIP.
Teacher • Fall Institute 2024
End: September 24, 2024 04:00 PM
Only for CURRENT Middle or High School teachers. Must use SCHOOL EMAIL address at registration. Enrollment includes a 1 YEAR Individual MEMBERSHIP.

Date And Time

September 24, 2024 @ 06:00 PM to November 5, 2024 @ - 08:00 PM


WACH Offices 1235 North Loop West, Suite 1025 Houston, TX 77008

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