Past Speakers: Martin Luther King Jr. The Dalai Lama, President William Jefferson Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Elon Musk

In recent years the Council has hosted Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton, Tesla and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein, architect Frank Gehry, Secretaries of Defense Ash Carter and Robert Gates, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The Council has also taken delegations of their members on exclusive tours including to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Russia, the UAE, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Washington DC. Read more about our Travel Programs here

Public programs of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council feature major figures from the field of international relations delivering a speech following a three-course lunch or dinner at an upscale hotel or private club. Events are typically held on weekday evenings or afternoons.

These remarks are followed by question-and-answer sessions which allow guests to directly interact with speakers. In addition, upper-level members of the Council are invited to VIP receptions prior to each event, which provides an opportunity to meet and be photographed with the speaker.

Students who participate in the Council's High School Program often engage in closed-door discussions with speakers either prior to or directly following events. In addition, authors who appear before the Council are frequently available for book signings following their programs.

Speakers at Los Angeles World Affairs Council events typically include top representatives of foreign governments (primarily presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and ambassadors), major figures in American politics, business leaders, journalists and authors, public intellectuals and other notable individuals from fields as diverse as religion, arts & entertainment, science and technology.

As a non-partisan organization, the Council does not endorse any point of view or take any institutional stand on issues of public debate. We welcome a wide variety of opinions from our speakers and our members. As an institution dedicated to furthering global understanding, we also endeavor to represent as many nations as possible in our program offerings.

Event Venues

Programs held in the evening are generally located at a venue on the Westside of Los Angeles, typically in either Century City or Beverly Hills (frequently used  locations include the Sofitel Hotel, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, and the Century Plaza Hotel). Lunch events are usually held at a venue in downtown Los Angeles (frequent recent locations include the Westin Bonaventure and the Millennium Biltmore). Most of our venues offer slightly reduced parking rates for guests of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.

Round Table events open to members of the International Circle (the Council's platinum-level membership) are held at some of the finest boutique hotels and private dining clubs in Los Angeles. These events also generally feature hosted parking and an expanded menu.

About Our Members

Our members include significant figures from the worlds of business, philanthropy, education, medicine, the arts, government, the non-profit sector, aerospace, entertainment and technology, amongst others.

They represent all ages, races, religions, and walks of life -- a microcosm of the cultural diversity to be found in Los Angeles. What binds them together is a common interest in world affairs, a shared desire to examine every facet of the important issues we face, and a willingness to hear opposing points of view with grace and civility.

Becoming a member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall allows you to attend events at a steep discount from the public ticket price. At higher membership levels, you'll also receive benefits such as opportunities to meet our speakers, invitations to exclusive, off-the-record events, preferred seating, and complimentary guest memberships. To learn more about the Council and its various membership levels, click HERE.

Important Notes

The Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall is non-partisan and non-profit. We do not endorse or promote any specific view, and do not espouse an official position on any issue or topic. Member dues and ticket prices do not go to support our speakers or any causes they may advocate. Our opting to host an event or speaker should not be construed as an endorsement of the speaker or his or her viewpoints.

The Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with charitable status. Tax ID #95-1783788. Membership Dues and contributions are tax deductible to the extent the law allows.

Board of Directors

  • Sarah Ketterer, Chair
  • Tracy Williams, Co-Chair
  • Elliot Ponchick, Secretary
  • Buzz Aldrin
  • Eli Broad
  • Kent Kresa
  • Richard J. Stegemeier
  • Robert J. Abernethy
  • David G. Adishian
    • Senior Vice President - Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.
  • Cathy Bachrach
  • Andrew Benton
    • President & CEO, Pepperdine University
  • Dr. Gene D. Block
    • Chancellor, UCLA
  • David Bohnett
    • Chairman, David Bohnett Foundation
  • Lynda Boone Fetter
  • Lynn Booth
    • President Evening Star Foundation
  • The Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno
    • Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
  • Ina Coleman
    • Managing Director, Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Mimi Danihel
    • President, Danihel Property Management, Inc.
  • Teran Davis
  • Dan K. Eberhart
    • CEO, Canary LLC
  • Stanley P. Gold
    • President, Shamrock Holdings, Inc.
  • Kevin P. Hanley
    • Senior Vice President, CIMA Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management
  • Glen Holden
    • The Holden Company
  • Jeanne Huybrechts
  • Dr. Ray R. Irani
  • Robert M. Iritani
    • Executive V.P., Specialty Banking Division City National Bank
  • Murray Kalis
  • Sarah Ketterer
    • CEO and Co-Founder Causeway Capital Management
  • Frank Kilpatrick
  • Peter W. Mullin
    • Chairman, Mullin Consulting, Inc.
  • Gerald L. Parsky
    • Chairman Aurora Capital Group
  • Dr. Elliot Ponchick
    • President, The William C. Bannerman Foundation
  • Scott Porter
    • Partner, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP
  • Michael Rich
    • President & CEO, RAND
  • Sara Rodriguez
  • Thomas F. Rosenbaum
    • President, California Institute of Technology
  • Jerry Sanders
  • Priscilla Sands
    • Head of School, Marlborough School
  • Michael Segal
    • Managing Partner, Fred Segal Santa Monica
  • Timothy Snyder
    • President, Loyola Marymount University
  • Candy Spelling
    • President, Candyland, Inc
  • Andrew Tavakoli
    • Chief Executive Officer, Tavaco Properties, LLC
  • William Temko
    • Partner, Munger, Tolles & Olson
  • Dr. James A. Thomson
  • Charles Weber
    • CEO, Weber Communications, Inc.
  • Tracy Williams
    • CEO and President, Olmstead Williams Communications