The Passport for June and July 2019

This is an online version of the monthly newsletter of the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area (WACMB). You may click here to see other online issues or click here to reach the archive of recent issues in PDF format. 

Venezuela’s Crisis: Chavez, Maduro, and Beyond?

Venezuela finds itself mired in an unprecedented economic and political crisis.  The economy has contracted nearly 50% since President Maduro took office in 2013, oil production has declined to levels below those last seen in 1950, and inflation has reached as high as an estimated annual rate of over 1.3 million percent.  Millions have fled abroad in search of a better life, making Venezuela’s migration crisis the second worst in the world after Syria’s.

In 2019, the ruling Maduro regime faces new challenges at home from an opposition that has declared it illegitimate.  There is also unrest from within its own ranks, and from abroad due to diplomatic non-recognition by over 50 governments and U.S. opposition to its continuation of power.  In his talk, Dr. Harold Trinkunas will examine the apparently intractable political and economic crisis facing Venezuela. He will discuss the role played by the military in keeping the present government in power and the impact of the latest domestic and international pressures on the Maduro regime.

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Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency

Larry Diamond is a leading contemporary scholar in the field of democracy studies. He has made it his life’s work to secure democracy’s future by understanding its past and by advising dissidents who are fighting autocracy around the world. During his talk, Professor Diamond will discuss his latest book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency (Penguin Press, 2019), which is a personal and passionate call to action against the rising authoritarianism that is occurring today. In his remarks, he will analyze the challenges confronting liberal democracy in the United States and around the world, and will offer an agenda for strengthening and defending democracy both at home and abroad.

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The Great Decisions discussion program for 2019 concluded on March 25. However, the conversation continues through WACMB’s two ongoing discussion groups. Both programs are free for WACMB members. Each month, the group will select the topic for the following month’s discussion.

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WACMB In Profile: Judy Sloan

The World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area is full of interesting people who have done and are doing interesting things. WACMB In Profile will let you get to know some of them better.

If you enjoy the WACMB luncheon programs, Judy Sloan is the person to thank. She’s headed up the Programs Committee for 14 years, and enjoys finding great speakers who can enlighten us about world affairs.

A second-generation San Franciscan, Judy decided early in life that she wanted to see the world. When she was sixteen, her dream came true when her high school selected her to be its foreign exchange student. Off she went to Sweden, where she lived with a family on a farm on Gotland, an island in the Baltic Sea. This magical experience launched her into a lifetime of international work and travel.

Judy spent her freshman year of college in Japan on a Lions Club exchange through Tokyo’s Kojimachi Lions Club. Her sponsor family introduced her to all things Japanese, from Zen temples to sumo wrestling. Judy fell in love with East Asia. She earned a BA in International Relations at UC Davis (and a Phi Beta Kappa key), and was awarded a full scholarship to Stanford, where she obtained an MA in East Asian Studies. Along the way, she returned to Japan to study for a second time.

Judy’s career began in San Francisco at the Asia Foundation, a grant-making international development organization. While there, Judy met Lin Sloan, an executive with the Foundation. They married in 1978, and immediately resigned their jobs to . . . you guessed it: travel around the world. During their year-long odyssey, Judy and Lin spent time in Asia, Egypt, and Europe, living on a shoestring and having a grand time. In Goa, India, they stayed for three weeks in an old Portuguese house on the beach, which they rented for fifty cents a day. Judy says it was more interesting and fun than any five-star hotel could have been.

Upon their return to the US, Judy and Lin settled in Washington, DC, where she joined the staff of the International Rescue Committee, a refugee resettlement organization. Eventually, she made her way to the DC office of the Asia Society, a nonprofit, public education organization founded by John D. Rockefeller III and based in New York City. (Don’t confused the Asia Society with the Asia Foundation.) As the Director of the DC office for 18 years, Judy did a little bit of everything – developed programs, recruited and trained staff, raised funds, balanced budgets – and thrived on the diversity. Meanwhile, Lin worked in Congress for the House Foreign Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committees.

After 23 years in DC, Judy and Lin moved back west to care for her parents. They landed in Monterey, where Judy fairly quickly found her niche at WACMB. She also seized the opportunity to study calligraphy and watercolor. In fact, she just had her first watercolor show at the Carmel Foundation. Clearly, Judy continues to find new and exciting worlds to explore!


Want to Get Involved?

WACMB is always looking for volunteers to help keep the organization running smoothly. If you’d like to get more involved with your organization, whether on a committee or on the board, we welcome you! Please let us know by sending an email to wacmb@redshift.com.


Speaker’s Book

At October’s luncheon, Tom Bruneau, Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the Naval Postgraduate School, spoke about the implications of the US military’s increasing use of private contractors. If you’d like to learn more about Professor Bruneau’s topic, you might be interested in his book Patriots for Profit: Contractors and the Military in U.S. National Security, published by Stanford University Press in 2011. It is available from the publisher in both hardcover and paperback (www.sup.org), and from Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions.


This is the monthly newsletter of the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area (WACMB). Founded in 1951, the council is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization established to promote the presentation, discussion, and study of international affairs. WACMB is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization, EIN-770301206. Contributions are tax deductible as permitted by law. WACMB sponsors monthly luncheons, discussion groups, and student scholarships.

Corporate and institutional support for the World Affairs Council of the Monterey Bay Area is provided by:

  • California State University Monterey Bay
  • Defense Language Institute
  • Monterey Peninsula College
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • Rancho Canada
  • Horan & Lloyd Law Firm

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