Traveling with LA World Affairs Council & Town Hall

The Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall's Travel Program has played an integral part in our global engagement.

Over the past five years, the Council has led delegations to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Oman, UAE, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Irkutsk, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet, and domestically to the USS Theodore Roosevelt through San Diego, the USS Carl Vinson and INDOPACOM from Hawaii, and an increasingly popular annual trip to DC where we have meetings with Ambassadors at their embassies, Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, prominent think tanks from across the political spectrum, Pentagon officials, experts at the CIA, and journalists who are covering our nation’s most pressing stories. 

We typically host a travel program in the Spring and Fall, and group sizes range from 15 - 25 people. We work with top tour companies to handle on-the-ground logistics and insure the best accommodations for our tours, and work with our diplomatic partners to arrange meetings with top leaders in each destination. All participants must be current members of the Council. The tours include a local guide, and a LAWACTH staff member accompanies the group to assist with member needs, introductions, logistics, support, and documentation and media. Tour participants are provided backgrounders prepared by the Council on the people they will meet to help them prepare for briefings.

The Travel Program exists to bring members on high-level delegations around the world, delivering on our mission of providing important discussions on today’s most pressing issues. While on these trips, our members leave the more traditional tourist path to engage with politicians, diplomats, prominent journalists, business leaders, artists and some of the world’s great academics. We gain private access to historic sites, museums, and galleries. We attend private performances or rehearsals by choirs and dance companies. We dine with locals in their homes, chat with students, join local celebrations and make memories to last a lifetime.

Traveling the world and bringing member delegations abroad is an integral part of our mission, as it brings our members the world’s most pressing political and cultural issues and truly helps Angelenos become global citizens. Furthermore, people-to-people exchanges are the cornerstone of international relations, and deeply important to what we at LAWACTH do.  Our delegations can have lasting effects on the people we meet abroad.

Not only do we bring global conversations to Los Angeles, through the travel program we can bring Los Angeles to the world.

  • For more information, please email

You can also stay up-to-date about all of our programs by signing up for our event updates here.

Saudi Arabia: From Ancient Trade Routes to Contemporary Society
October 19-29, 2020

We invite you to join us this fall as we explore a country which, in a bid to shift the economy away from its dependence on the petroleum industry, has just opened up to visitors for the first time in its history. Discover a country where ruins from ancient civilizations and date palm oases’ contrast sharply with urban centers and ambitious plans for a new $500 billion city state to cover 10,000 square miles of rocky desert and empty coastline. Saudi Arabia is going through sweeping changes and our program offers a unique opportunity to look at these changes up close.

Our program begins in historic Jeddah. a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire its unique, centuries-old, multi-storied white urban dwellings and meet with staff from Jameel House who are painstakingly working to oversee the restoration of these ancient dwellings. Enjoy lunch at the home of Mr. Sami Nawar, Jeddah’s official historian before meeting with the young design group Brick Lab who are designing a  new cinema in Jeddah  - the  first non-commercial picture house to be built since Saudi Arabia reversed its decade-old ban on cinemas in 2018.

After a refreshing swim in the Red Sea fly south to enjoy the striking mountain scenery around Abha. Explore remote villages that once served as vital trading points between Yemen, Makkah and the Levant by way of the Red Sea. Meet with men from the Qahtani tribe who wear garlands in their hair while working as farmers in the area.
Fly through Riyadh to Al Ula and discover the evocative ruins of an ancient city of carved rock tombs, known as Mada’in Saleh. Like Petra, the city was built by the Nabataeans about 2,000 years ago home.  Once a thriving city along the ancient spice route, it played a crucial role in building a trade empire. Today its monumental stone-hewn tombs are some of the last, and best preserved, remains of a lost kingdom.

In the country’s capital Riyadh, participants will take part in discussions with a Saudi journalist educated in the US, a female entrepreneur who started the first licensed business incubator for women and the US embassy. Explore the archaeological site of Diriyyah, the symbol of Saudi Arabia’s history, culture and traditional architecture. It was the seat of the first government of Saudi Arabia of King Abdul Aziz bin Saud (or Ibn Saud: 1876-1953AD) and for over three centuries, was the ruling center of the family of al-Saud.
Travel by high speed train to Al Hofuf, situated in one of the largest oases in the world, and a leading producer of dates. End our journey in Dammam, home to the oil producing area of Saudi Arabia and the headquarters of the ARAMCO who went public at the end of 2019. Visit archaeological sites on Tarut Island and explore the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. Return home from Dammam.

Tour Summary

  • 12 days, 11 nights
  • Activity Level: Moderate - You must be able to walk several city blocks a few times per day.
  • $9,040 Based on 15-19 passengers, double occupancy; $1910 Single supplement (Excludes international airfare to Jeddah and from Dammam, and Domestic Airfare within the country).
  • Final tour payment will be due on July 17, 2020.

    For more information on this tour or to sign-up, please contact, or call (424) 258-6160.

The World Affairs Council Travel Program offers members the chance to learn about the world's cultures and countries by experiencing them first-hand and hearing from guest lecturers familiar with the history, culture, and current conditions in the countries they visit.

We aim to make our tours both informative and enjoyable, by including special access to local experts and political leaders who give private briefings and unique behind-the-scenes insights. Having Council members travel together means that you will have the chance to meet globally-minded people from your area, who can share this experience with you during and after your travels.


Cherry Blossoms and Breaking News
Jessica Dugandzic blogs about the Council tour to Washington DC.

The Many Sides of Russia
Terry McCarthy blogs about the Council tour to Russia.


Looking Across the Pacific from a US Aircraft Carrier
Terry McCarthy blogs about the Council embark on the USS Carl Vinson.


An Insider Tour of Our Nation's Capital
Jessica Dugandzic blogs about the Council tour to Washington DC.


Under the Spell of Egypt
Terry McCarthy blogs about the Council tour to Egypt.



Journey Through the Himalayas
Terry McCarthy and Sarah Tran blog about the Council tour to Bhutan and the Himalayas.



Persian Dreams - Visiting Iran
Terry McCarthy and Jessica McCarthy blog about the Council tour to Iran.



Visiting the Hermit Kingdom
Jessica Dugandzic, LAWAC's VP of Events, blogs about the Council tour to North Korea.



Cobblestones in Cuba
Jessica Dugandzic blogs about the Council tour to Cuba.