The World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area is a non-profit, non-partisan, totally volunteer organization.  The Council’s mission is to promote public education through the study and discussion of international issues by presenting expert speakers with diverse opinions.  The Council is not an advocacy group, and it does not endorse any specific foreign or domestic policy.  Rather, through timely lectures, critical and philosophical viewpoints are encouraged from presenters and attendees during discussion periods.  The specific objective is to raise the standard of public debate and encourage dialogue to increase understanding.


In 1951, a group of individuals interested in world affairs formed the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area.  The Board chose WWII U.S. Navy Admiral (Ret.) Raymond Spruance as the first President.  Admiral Spruance was considered one of the greatest admirals in American Naval history by the Navy’s official historian.  Spruance commanded U.S. Naval forces during two of the most significant naval battles that took place in the Pacific theater, the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Philippine Sea.  Spruance was commander of the Fifth Fleet and the Pacific Fleet.  Prior to his time as Board President, he served as Ambassador to the Philippines and President of the Naval War College.

Also in 1951, the Board chose to be an affiliate council of the World Affairs Council of Northern California.  After celebrating 40 years of this relationship, the Council was established as a totally independent Public Benefit Corporation in 1992 as a 501(c)(3).

The Council is approaching its seventh decade of providing intellectually challenging programs of significant international issues to our membership and the citizens of the Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.  The Council works closely with representatives of the California State University Monterey Bay, the Defense Language Institute, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Monterey Peninsula College, and the Naval Postgraduate School, frequently utilizing shared talents and resources to provide truly superior information regarding the critical international issues of our times.

The Council is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA), the national association of World Affairs Councils, and participates in the national activities arranged by it.  The history of the WACA national organization can be found on here.

The Council is also a “Cooperating Council” in the Travel Program of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.