September 1, 2020

Dear Members & Friends of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall,

The fall season is upon us, and I have reflected on the past several months and mused about the months ahead.  September marks the one-year anniversary of the merger between the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall Los Angeles.

Programs are the cornerstone of our nonprofit. The pandemic turned our lives upside down and its impact continues to reverberate. COVID-19 challenged our staff on ways to carry out our nonprofit mission and engineer a new strategy to deliver quality programs on international, national and regional issues. Our webinars – 60 to date – unlocked the door to a national community of engaged citizens, including an immense following in California. I am grateful for the enthusiastic participation by our various speakers who joined us from all international time zones to share their information, analysis and insights.

We are now announcing our fall webinars, including a new 8-week series on the “2020 Elections” that kicks off on Sept. 8. The series features General John Allen, President, Brookings Institution and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla as representative examples. Webinars on global and foreign policy issues continue as we welcome Ambassador Martha Barcena Coqui, the first female ambassador from Mexico to the U.S.; Dr. Fiona Hill, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; and Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America. And, the ever-popular “Politics in the Time of Coronavirus” webinars return on Thursdays with Politics Professor Dan Schnur. Click here to see upcoming webinars.

Prior to the pandemic, we offered live in-person programs, Members’ only roundtables, receptions and travel excursions; and Young Professionals networking programs. We hope 2021 will allow us to safely reintroduce these activities that our members value and enjoy. We are also looking at new experiences that allow us to connect and convene in this COVID-19 environment.

Leadership by our board of directors, 75 members strong, is also a key influencer in the navigation of our nonprofit during these uncertain times. Led by Board Co-Chairs Sarah Ketterer and Tracy Williams, they serve as our compass, our North Star – we are thankful for their wisdom, counsel and service. We also welcome four new board members:  Maria Contreras-Sweet, entrepreneur and 24th Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration; Cecile Ablack, an international communications and public affairs strategist; Rosa Bravo, a senior technology executive; and Josh Schimmels, CEO and Publisher, Los Angeles Business Journal.

For our members and subscribers in California and across the U.S., I know each person’s situation is unique and has presented its own challenges. Many continue to work from home. Others have returned to the office.  And, we have neighbors who are unemployed, underemployed or furloughed.  Please know we continue to think about your safety and well-being. The time you have devoted to our webinars is a gift – I am thankful for your interest and continued participation.
As we begin our second year, I look forward to providing regular updates on our programs and progress on important LAWACTH initiatives underway.


Kim McCleary Blue
President & CEO
Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall