The Passport for October 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. 

Turmoil in Hong Kong: Social Inequality and Political Failures are Rupturing the Community

Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China since 1997, is undergoing unprecedented social and political turmoil. In his presentation to the World Affairs Council, Michael Ipson will examine the underlying issues that have fueled the protests in Hong Kong, including enormous disparities in wealth, a housing crisis, the legacy of colonial rule, hesitant political reform, and the younger generation’s growing estrangement from China. He will also analyze the actions of the various stakeholders in the dispute and sketch out possible outcomes.

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WACMB coordinates two ongoing discussion groups, which are free and open to the public. Each month, the group selects the topic for the following month’s discussion.

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WAC in Profile: Peggy Field

Peggy Field, the co-chair of WACMB’s Office Administration and one of the smiling faces that greet you at our luncheons, has been involved with our organization since 2010. She has made Pacific Grove her home since 2009, after seven years in San Francisco and 40 years in “the Valley of Heart’s Delight.” Living, working, and playing during the Golden Age of Silicon Valley seems to her to be the greatest of historical good fortune.

Psychology presented itself as her life’s calling while a freshman at UCSB, from which she graduated with a dual major in Philosophy and Psychology. Although she planned to go to medical school, a summer job at NASA’s Ames Research Center launched Peggy on a five-year detour into Space Sciences; she worked on the Pioneer Project and “Grand Tour” mission, experiencing exciting launches at Cape Canaveral and celebrations at the Monkey Bar. Those experiences opened doors and set a high bar for life. Peggy’s serpentine trajectory continued when she landed a position as Human Resources Director for Spectra-Physics, again setting a high bar for leadership integrity and best practices management, as well as cutting edge technology. Toss together a few more years in corporate management, add five years in graduate school, and a brilliant mentor; stir and mix, and voila! Peggy became a Psychologist.

Now holding a PhD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology, with a dissertation on Systems Archetypes in a Learning Organization, Peggy began a 30-year psychology practice, with 20 of those years in Cupertino. Her practice attracted business and technical people suffering personal and professional fallout from high performance lives, and ultimately led to the door of Apple Computer, where she worked as Corporate Psychologist. Peggy currently works as a consulting scholar for Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara.

“Always in community” is one of Peggy’s foundational personal philosophies. Her favorite activity is her 36- year-running Saturday night date with her husband, Terry Field.


Program Report: Isebill Gruhn

We were honored to have Dr. Isebill Gruhn from UC Santa Cruz speak on Europe in Turmoil at our August luncheon. From Brexit to Italy’s ongoing government problems to the general rise of nationalist-populist movements, the European project has not seen such disarray since it began in the aftermath of World War II.

Gruhn noted that European integration, from NATO to the European Union, was designed to end the persistent warfare that had plagued Europe through increased interdependence. Integration would also produce economies of scale for the modern world. The US played a critical role in advancing Europe’s integration.

Europe’s current turmoil has two primary causes. First, the EU’s enormous expansion following the end of the Cold War allowed poorer countries of Eastern Europe to join, leading to a shift of large amounts of resources from richer to poorer countries within the EU. Those transfers generated significant resentment and alienation in Britain, Germany, and elsewhere among the original EU countries, creating lots of “unhappy people” who adopted new forms of nationalism out of national resentment. Second, under the Trump administration, the US is no longer committed to an integrated Europe, expediting the turmoil.

While these two causes are primary, other issues have fed into the resentment, including the mass immigration of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, and the overbearing approach by the EU administration based in Brussels. The rise of right-wing populist movements in many European countries does not bode well for the future of an integrated Europe


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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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