Upcoming Events

“The Hard Lessons of 1979 in Today’s Middle East”

Montana World Affairs Council and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UM (MOLLI) present a special MOLLI Community Program and World Affairs Council Distinguished Speakers Program featuring Ambassador Mark Johnson (ret.)

When: Wednesday, January 28th, 3:30pm

Where:  North Ballroom, 3rd floor University Center, University of Montana (link to map)

This program is free and open to the public; $5 suggested donation

Ambassador Mark Johnson (ret.) is the former Vice Chair of the US Center for Citizen Diplomacy and the former national Vice Chair of the World Affairs Councils of America in Washington, D.C. He has served as a Mansfield Adjunct Professor at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center of the University of Montana and in 2000, founded the Montana World Affairs Council, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to connecting Montanans with the world around them.  Ambassador Johnson retired from the U.S. State Department after serving 30 years in a variety of foreign policy positions. He was United States Ambassador to Senegal from 1993-1996. At the time of his retirement, he was Deputy Inspector General of the State Department.

Mr. Johnson began his diplomatic career in Kuwait as a Commercial Attaché. He returned to Kuwait in 1991 as Deputy Chief of Mission to reopen the Embassy during the Desert Storm military campaign.  From 1989 – 1990, Mr. Johnson served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and was engaged in the Middle East peace process. From 1986 – 1989, Mr. Johnson held the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs.  His service in Africa includes postings in Kenya and Burkina Faso.  He served in the Office of Iranian Affairs and on the Iran Hostages Working Group from 1977 – 1980. In 1992, President George Bush awarded him the President’s Meritorious Service Award.  Mr. Johnson received a BSFS from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an MA in International Economics from George Washington University.  He is a fourth generation Montanan and is married to Sally J. Cummins who is an Attorney-Adviser with the US State Department. They live in Lolo, Montana.


3nd Annual Global Team Trivia Fundraiser

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

DoubleTree Hotel Ballroom
Enjoy a Casual Dinner Menu, Live Auction, and Lively Team Trivia!
5:00 pm Social Hour/Cash Bar 
6:00 pm Dinner

Team Trivia & Live Auction to follow dinner as well as presentation of the Montana Global Educator of the Year Award 

$50 per person – Teams/Tables of 5-6 people
Sponsor a Team for $300

Click here to register


Spotlight on Turkey

This summer, the Council sent four Montana teachers to Turkey through a grant from the World Affairs Council of America and the Turkish Cultural Foundation. Now that the teachers have returned, they have organized community events to

help educate Montanans about the rich culture of Turkey. The teachers that went to Turkey this summer are Susan Seilstad from Lockwood Middle School (Billings), Nia Vestal from Troy High School, Sandy Armstad from Fergus High School (Lewistown), and Carol Gnauck from Chief Joseph Middle School (Bozeman).

Nov. 9th ~ Ebru paper marbling workshop at the Lewistown Art Center with Susan Seilstad

Nov 15th ~ Yellowstone Art Center Ebru workshop with Susan Seilstad

Nov. 16th ~ Zion Lutheran Church (Billings) presentation with Susan Seilstad

Nov. 20th~ Presentation at the Lewistown Public Library with Susan Seilstad

Oct. 13th – Oct. 31st ~ Turkish Photo and Book Display at Troy Public Library

Nov. 9th – Turkish Community Ethnic Dinner ~ presentation on Ataturk and Turkish Community Potluck

Dec. 2nd and Dec. 4th ~ Lockwood Community Night Classes ~ Ebru: Art of Paper Marbling


Wednesday and Thursday, October 8th & 9thjohndau

October 8th

Cocktail Reception with John Dau

5:30pm – Missoula Children’s Theater
$20 – Council members & students
$25 – Non-members
Hour d’ oeuvre will be served (cash bar)
Space is limited
RSVP – 406-728-3328 or aryan@montanaworldaffairs.org

Documentary Film Screening : “Duk County: Peace is in Sight in the New South Sudan”

7:00pm – Missoula Children’s Theater
Q&A w/ John Dau to follow screening
Free and open to the public

This documentary highlights the moving story about a bold, five-day mission to deliver eye care in a remote and war torn region of South Sudan — the world’s newest country. It chronicles the miraculous work of Dr. Geoff Tabin and Dr. Alan Crandall; two eye surgeons committed to eradicating preventable blindness in Africa, and John Dau, one of the original “Lost Boys of Sudan” and a visionary for peace in South Sudan’s precarious new independence.
This program is free and open to the public.

October 9th

Distinguished Speakers Program – “Hope is NOT Lost” featuring John Dau

7:30pm – DoubleTree Hotel
Open to the public
Free for Council members & Students
$5 for non-members

Most of us have heard about the “Lost Boys of Sudan” and have been moved by their incredible story, but few have heard it from one of the survivors. Join the Council for this unique opportunity as John Dau, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, tells his life story, and how he turned an impossible journey into a mission for peace. John will share how he survived the genocide of his people, led hundreds of young boys across Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, and how he’s turned this harrowing experience into an opportunity to help foster peace in his country. We’ll get to hear firsthand about his adjustment into American culture upon arriving in the States in 2001, his tribal culture colliding with life in America, and his establishment of four NGOs and the remarkable work they are doing to bring peace to the new South Sudan.

This is John’s first trip to Montana, and we are honored to be hosting him. We hope that you will join what is sure to be an extraordinary event!

About John Dau

John Dau has experienced challenges in his life that most people never even imagine. Born in war-torn Sudan, Dau is one of 27,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan,” driven from their villages when the northern Arab government attacked the ethnic minority population of South Sudan in 1987. For the next five years, John Dau led groups of displaced boys across Sudan for hundreds of miles facing starvation, disease, and violence.
While living in a Kenyan refugee camp from 1992-2001, John Dau attended school for the first time at the age of 17 and earned a prestigious Kenyan Certificate for Secondary Education. In 2001, Dau was selected to immigrate to the United States and settled in Syracuse, New York. Following his initial culture shock, John Dau took on two, sometime three jobs, and earned an associate’s degree and Bachelor degree at Syracuse University.

Currently, John Dau is the President of both the John Dau Foundation (JDF) and the South Sudan Institute (SSI), where he is an influential part of many efforts to bring hope and peace to the people of South Sudan. After founding four nonprofits, and with help from volunteer from across American, John has raised over $3 million to build and run the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in his home village of Duk Payuel. John Dau now speaks professionally throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. In 2006, John Dau was featured in the award-winning documentary film, “God Grew Tired of Us”, and wrote his first book “God Grew Tired of Us: a Memoir,” which was published by National Geographic in 2007.

As a human rights activist for the people of South Sudan, John has lived a remarkable life of cultural adaptation in America, where has received many prestigious awards, including the National Geographic Emerging Explorers Award. John was a Volvo for Life finalist in the Quality of Life category, which carried a financial contribution from Volvo to the John Dau Foundation. Alongside Democratic Republic of Congo president Joseph Kabila, John was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for 2008 and together with Former Secretary of State, Gen. Collin Power, he received a Most Caring Award from the Caring Institute, plus 40 other awards.

John Dau’s life provides the ultimate example of a profile in courage. He is a natural leader who exemplifies true resilience and perseverance under the most horrific of circumstances. Today, John Dau is a compelling motivational speaker whose life is defined by his uncompromised commitment to having a lasting impact on the future of his native country. “I think people refuse to try things because they fear failure,” he observes. “There have been many impossible situations in my life, but I keep trying. My family in Sudan thought I was dead and I feared they were dead, but 20 years later we were reunited. You can’t give up.”

To learn more about John Dau or the John Dau Foundation, please visit johndaufoundation.org.


Tuesday, September 9th | 7:00pmunnamed

Distinguished Speakers Program

“China Confronts Asia: Implications for the United States”

Featuring Professor Steve Levine

This program is open to the public and free for Council members and students; $5 for non-members.

When: Tuesday, September 9th 7;00pm

Where:  Dell Brown Room, Turner Hall, University of Montana. (Link to map)

About our guest:  Steven I. Levine writes and teaches about modern East Asia, in particular Chinese history and politics. Born and educated in public schools in New York City, he received a B.A. in Politics at Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in Government and East Asian Languages at Harvard University in 1972. He studied Russian as an undergraduate and Chinese at Harvard and in Taiwan. During a forty-year teaching career, he taught, inter alia, at American University, Columbia, Duke, the University of Michigan, the University of Montana, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served as the founding director of the Carolina Asia Center at Chapel Hill. He is presently Research Faculty Associate in the Department of History at the University of Montana.

He has published extensively in the fields of modern Chinese politics and foreign policy as well as American- East Asian relations. Among his books are Anvil of Victory: The Communist Revolution in Manchuria, 1945-1948; China’s Bitter Victory: The War with Japan, 1937-1945 (co-edited); Remembering the Forgotten War (co-edited), and most recently Arc of Empire: America’s Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam, (2012),co-authored with Michael H. Hunt.He has published scores of book chapters, journal articles, and review essays. In addition, he has published English translations of several books from Chinese into English, most recently Ye Zicheng, Inside China’s Grand Strategy (2011) and of several Russian-language books on China.  His most recent edited translations from Russian are: Alexander V. Pantsov with Steven I. Levine, Mao: The Real Story (Simon & Schuster, 2012), and Sin-Lin, Shattered Families, Broken Dreams: Little Known Episodes From the History of the Persecution of Chinese Revolutionaries in Stalin’s Gulag  (MerwinAsia, 2012).

Professor Levine has traveled extensively in Asia. He makes his home in two places – Stevensville, Montana and Hillsborough, North Carolina ,with his wife, Professor Madeline G. Levine, a distinguished literary translator from Polish.


 Thursday, May 29th  | 7:00pm

Distinguished Speakers ProgramfeiferV1
“Russians: The People Behind the Power”

This event is free of charge and open to the public. 

Featuring author Gregory Fiefer

When:  Thursday, May 29th 7:00pm

Where: Dell Brown Room, Turner Hall, University of Montana. (Link to map)

About our guest: Gregory Feifer is a former Moscow correspondent for National Public Radio who has reported from Russia for almost a decade. During its resurgence under Putin, he filed from other former Soviet republics and across Russia, where he observed the effects of the country’s vast new oil wealth on an increasingly nationalistic society as well as Moscow’s rekindling of a new Cold War-style opposition to the West. In 2008, Feifer covered the Russia-Georgia war from the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia and traveled to Siberia, Belgrade and Berlin to produce a series on the Kremlin’s use of Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, as an instrument of foreign policy.

Before joining NPR in 2005, Feifer-whose mother is Russian-lived in Paris and New York, and has written for numerous outlets, including The New Republic, The Washington Post and World Policy Journal. He witnessed the coup d’etat attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, and later, on a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs, examined the end of the Yeltsin era and Russia’s subsequent transformation into an authoritarian state.

Feifer is the author of The Great Gamble, a history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and coauthor of Spy Handler with former KGB colonel Victor Cherkashin. He lives in Boston with his wife Elizabeth, son Sebastian and daughter Vanessa.


May 14th, 2014 | 5:00 – 8:00pmKettlehouse Logo

KettleHouse Brewing Community UNite

The Council has been chosen to participate in the KettleHouse Brewing Community UNite Program!

Come enjoy a locally handcrafted brew while supporting global education in classrooms and communities throughout the Big Sky.

The Council will receive $.50 of every pint sold between 5-8 pm on the evening of May 14th at the Northside Taproom. Location: 313 N 3rd Street West

Thank you KettleHouse Brewing for supporting the Council!

Starting at 6:00pm

The Council will be hosting a meet-and-greet with the 2014 Humphrey Fellows who are studying at the University of Montana’s English Language Institute.

The Humphrey Fellowship at UM includes 11 professionals from around the world, who have come to Montana to foster a mutual exchange of knowledge and understanding about issues of common concern in the United States and the Fellows’ home countries. The Program offers Fellows valuable opportunities for leadership development and professional engagement with Americans and their counterparts from many nations.

This year’s Humphrey Fellow’s consist of a collection of nationalities, ranging from Togo to Pakistan, and Armenia to Myanmar. These Fellows have come to Montana representing various professions, including agriculture, journalism, geophysics, urban development, education, and more.


Tuesday April 19th, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:30pm

Business Luncheon Series
“From the Great Wall to the Rocky Mountains: The role of Cultural Exchange in Bridging Our Two Peoples”

Council members and their guests are invited to attend this exclusive event:

Madam Li Hong
Minister Counselor for Cultural Affairs,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

Madam Hong will be accompanied by:
Mr. Zhao Jianhua
First Secretary, Cultural Office, Embassy of China

Miss Liu Xiaolin
Second Secretary, Cultural Office, Embassy of China

When:  Tuesday, April 29th – 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Where: DoubleTree Hotel

Cost: (including catered lunch) $20/current Council members $25/non-members. Members are welcome to bring up to two guests.

RSVP:  Seating is limited, please call (406)728-3328 to reserve your seat today.

About our guestlihong
Joining Ministry of Culture of China in 1984, Li Hong served successively as Deputy Director, Director and Deputy Director General of the Bureau for External Cultural Relations, Ministry of Culture of China, overseeing China’s cultural exchange with Asian, American, Oceanian and Eurasian countries.

Li Hong’s overseas postings include cultural attache at Chinese Embassy in Singapore (1991-1995) and Cultural Counselor at Chinese Embassy in Australia (2004-2009) and Minister Counselor for Cultural Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC starting from April 2013. Acquiring a Bachelor Degree from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1984, Li Hong received simultaneous interpretation training at Beijing UN Language Training Center from 1987-89 and studied at University of Maryland from 1999-2000 as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow.


May 14th, 2014 | 5:00 – 8:00pmKettlehouse Logo

KettleHouse Brewing Community UNite

The Council has been chosen to participate in the KettleHouse Brewing Community UNite Program!

Come enjoy a locally handcrafted brew while supporting global education in classrooms and communities throughout the Big Sky.

The Council will receive $.50 of every pint sold between 5-8 pm on the evening of May 14th at the Northside Taproom. Location: 313 N 3rd Street West

Thank you KettleHouse Brewing for supporting the Council!


April 16th | 7:30 – 9:00pmWACACarlsonLogoborderRESIZE

A Community Discussion on Human Trafficking
with James Pond and Pralhad Dhakal

CEO/Founder, Transitions Global; Nepal Country Director, The ISIS Foundation

“What about the Victims? Transition & Restoration”

Wednesday, April 16 – 7:30pm–9:00pm. Location: UC Ballroom, UM Campus

As part of the Mansfield Center Conference: Fight For Hope & Freedom, the Montana World Affairs Council is co-sponsoring a community discussion on Wednesday, April 16 at 7:30pm, in the University Center Ballroom, UM Campus, with James Pond and Pralhad Dhakal to talk about the significant work being done in Montana and across the U.S. to help victims and to fight human trafficking. NGO leaders will discuss both challenges to helping victims and ways that Montanans can help. This event is free and open to the public.

The Montana World Affairs Council will also be hosting a Council in the Classroom program on human trafficking with Sarah Symons, Founder/Author/Executive Director, Made by Survivors. Using video-conferencing technology, and with support from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, Ms. Symons will discuss what Montanans need to know about human trafficking and what they can do to combat it with classrooms around the state. On Wednesday April 16, Ethan Batstone, Director of Engagement of Not for Sale, will visit Big Sky High School.

These programs are sponsored by the Carlson Family Foundation and the World Affairs Councils of America.