World Affairs Institute (WAI) is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization established in 2010 and based in Washington, DC. WAI’s mission is to promote democratic governance as well as public education, awareness, and dialogue on international affairs and security issues through publications and non-partisan public education projects.
WAI’s activities include the publication of the news and information site WorldAffairsJournal.org, as well as the sponsorship of the Transatlantic Renewal Project, which includes the Transatlantic Roundtable Series conducted in Europe, the Transatlantic Dinner Series in Washington DC, and the Transatlantic Fellows Program.
WAI Current Activities
WorldAffairsJournal.org was launched in January 2010. Updated throughout the day, this site highlights news, opinion, and research from media, governments, and think tanks around the world. The site’s unique news offerings allow the reader, on any given day and with any given headline, to see how the same news is reported differently in important media outlets around the globe. In addition to extensive news curation, WorldAffairsJournal.org features blogs by commentators from the US as well as Europe, the Middle East, and Russia—some of them dissident voices within their own political culture.
The Transatlantic Renewal Project (TRP)
The Transatlantic Renewal Project (TRP) was launched by the World Affairs Institute (WAI) in Winter 2014. The project’s premise is that the Transatlantic Partnership is (1) the primary and fundamental building block upon which the West's democratic values are nourished, promoted, defended, and advanced; and, that (2) this unique and historic partnership--indispensable to the security of the member nations and their way of life—has drifted and frayed dangerously, particularly in light of the urgent internal and external challenges and threats that have emerged and intensified considerably since Vladimir Putin's rise. The purpose of TRP is to rebuild and strengthen the communication, cooperation, and programmatic ties between European and US public policy and opinion-making counterparts active in spheres that are particularly relevant to the challenges represented by the Kremlin’s efforts to reassert itself in Europe, divide the transatlantic community, and diminish the West’s liberal values, the United States, and American leadership in Europe. TRP’s co-directors are Lorne Craner and James Denton.
The Transatlantic Renewal Roundtable Series
TRP’s Transatlantic Renewal Roundtable Series was launched in 2014 and is designed to renew and reinvigorate communication and cooperation among American and European (particularly from Central and Eastern Europe) policy and opinion counterparts working in foreign, defense, energy, political, information, immigration/minorities, economy/finance, anti-corruption, and other fields relevant to the challenges represented by the Kremlin’s engagement in the region.
TRP Roundtables have convened in Prague in June '14; Tallinn in October '14, co-hosted by the office of President Ilves; in Warsaw in January '15, co-hosted by the European Academy of Diplomacy; in Budapest in July '15, co-hosted by the Common Sense Society; in Vilnius in November '15, co-hosted by the Eastern Europe Studies Centre; in Riga in October ’16, co-hosted at the Latvian Transatlantic Organization; and in Kiev in February 2017, co-hosted by Hromadske TV.
The Transatlantic Fellows Program
The Transatlantic Fellows Program was launched in March 2017 as a follow-on activity to the TRP Roundtable Series to engage American and European policy and opinion-making counterparts, and to build cadre among them by deepening understanding and cooperation, and to develop strategies that will meaningfully counter mounting internal and external threats.
Transatlantic Renewal Fellows are competitively selected through an open application process. While in the program, the fellows will typically work in the office of an American counterpart on Capitol Hill, a think tank, or a media outlet for three weeks during which they will conduct projects, information exchange, and research.
Funding for this activity is provided by the National Endowment for Democracy.
WAI Past Activities
WAI published the print journal, World Affairs, between January 2010 and April 2016 when the print journal was purchased by the Washington DC-based Policy Studies Organization (PSO). The journal is now published by PSO in cooperation with SAGE Publications, Inc.
WAI Era (2010-2016)
Established in 1837, World Affairs argues the big ideas behind US foreign policy. Always striving to encourage open and informed debate, the journal offered readers a range of perspective and opinion to clarify the challenges and choices that America faces in an increasingly complex and dangerous world.
World Affairs was re-launched in 2008 under the editorial leadership of Lawrence Kaplan. In July 2010, James Denton assumed the editorial leadership. During the WAI era, the journal—occasionally unruly, seldom dull, and always edifying—featured a broad range of contributors, including conservatives like Robert Kagan and P. J. O’Rourke alongside liberals George Packer and David Rieff, and others who transcend categories, such as commentators Christopher Hitchens, Roger Kaplan, Jamie Kirchick, and Eric Edelman; journalists Helene Cooper, Jackson Diehl, Tom Gjelten, and Mary Kissel; foreign opinion makers Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Alaa Al Aswany, Nina Khrushcheva, Gordana Knezevic, and Michael Zantovsky; and, military officers General Michael Hayden and Col. H.R. McMaster. This variety made for some of the best conversation available anywhere in print and online. The 2010-1016 archives for World Affairs can be located and searched here.
MENA Democracy Fellows Program
WAI sponsored the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Democracy Fellows Program in 2011 to support the democratic transition in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as to promote better understanding, communications, and cooperation between the countries and the United States. The program awarded fellowships to emerging leaders from the region who actively promoted democratic governance or independent media in their countries. During the two-month fellowship program in the United States, the participants worked in the US Congress, DC-based think tanks, and media outlets. The MENA board of advisers included Congressman David Dreier (R- CA; Chairman of the House Rules Committee) and Congressman John Larson (D- CT; Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus), Deborah Harding (former VP of the Soros Foundation), and journalists/experts, Alaa Al Aswany, Khaled Dawoud, Michele Dunne, former Ambassador Eric Edelman, Roya Hakakian, Tom Gjelten (NPR), Joshua Muravchik, Jim Sciutto, Nabil Shawkat, and Ambassador Michael Žantovský.