The Passport for April 2018

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.

Luncheon Meeting – Friday, April 20, 2018


A Global Water Crisis?  The Future of Water is Closer and Better Than You Think


Dr. Jeff Langholz

Professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey


Experts warn that in the 21st century, water shortages will become increasingly common across the world. Many believe water will become the oil of the 21st century, driving major geopolitical decisions and creating a dividing line between those who have it and those who don’t. Recent water shortages in California and beyond have highlighted our shaky relationship with the world’s most important resource.

Dr. Jeff Langholz, a natural resource policy and management expert at the Middlebury Institute, argues that the potential crisis has, in fact, spurred breakthrough innovations that make water more reliable, affordable, and ecological. In his presentation, he will explore exciting new pathways to a more sustainable approach to water.

Dr. Langholz is an award-winning teacher, researcher, and entrepreneur, with a passion for “triple bottom line” solutions to global challenges. A primary focus of his work has been sustainability of the world’s natural resources. For this, he has drawn on extensive professional experience with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and consultancies across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. His work has been covered by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Geographic, The Economist, and more than 250 other media outlets.

A former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and Fulbright Scholar in
South Africa, Dr. Langholz earned his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Policy and Management from Cornell University.


Friday, April 20, 2018
11:30 am: Registration begins
11:50 am: Luncheon
1:00 – 2:00 pm: Program


Rancho Canada
4860 Carmel Valley Road

Luncheon Menu

  • Apple cider salad with
    grilled chicken pecans,
    dried cranberries,
    and bleu cheese crumbles
  • Fresh rolls and butter
  • Chef’s choice dessert
  • Vegetarian option: apple cider salad
  • $29 for members
  • $35 for guests

Click here to open or download the luncheon reservation form in PDF format.

February Program Report

Summary of “Challenges to Democracy in South Africa”

Speaker: Professor E. Philip Morgan, MIIS
Date: February 27, 2018

South Africa is important as a bellwether of how African governments can maintain legitimacy as they deal with the challenges of population growth, climate change, economic development, and employment. Failure to do so has consequences beyond the African continent.

Over the 25 years of its dominance in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) party has lost much of its moral authority because of corruption and extreme inequality. Half of its population lives in poverty; unemployment is between 30% and 36%.

Previous ANC-led governments have tried a number of programs to improve the livelihood of the majority of black citizens, but they were often ineffective because of corruption at local levels. Popular dissatisfaction came to a head as the Public Protector (PP) disclosed evidence of then-President Jacob Zuma’s involvement in malfeasance and corruption. The PP is an independent body created by the constitution to protect South African democracy. It is vested with the authority to order other state institutions to take appropriate remedial action against any government impropriety. Two PP reports in particular have fueled public anger: one concerning the improper use of US$21.4 million in state funds to upgrade Zuma’s private home, and the other concerning “State Capture” by the Gupta brothers, immigrants from India who, with the collusion of Zuma, built a fortune in South Africa through the acquisition of media companies, leveraging influence via bribes of employees in state corporations, mines, and other businesses under contract to the government. They persuaded Zuma to sack the very competent Minister of Finance and replace him with an unqualified crony!

As a result, at the December 2017 ANC Party Conference, the delegates chose Cyril Ramaphosa as the party’s next presidential candidate. Although Zuma’s term did not end until the 2019 general election, he was pressured to resign early so as not to com-promise the ANC’s chances at the next election.

Ramaphosa’s reputation was tainted in 2012, when more than 30 striking mine-workers were killed at a site where he was a company board member. However, he is probably the best person to lead South Africa at this critical time. He is a genuine “hero of the anti-apartheid struggle.” In addition, he was Nelson Mandela’s Deputy President, a trade union leader, a corporate executive in mining and other conglomerates, and Zuma’s deputy. Thus, Cyril Ramaphosa is best positioned to promote economic development and restore integrity to the national leadership.

by Philip Morgan