All posts by Karen Burghart

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Statement on Black Lives Matter

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death, the Black Lives Matter protests have become a global movement. Demonstrations in solidarity with the U.S. marches are occurring throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia.

As a nonpartisan organization, the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council is dedicated to free expression and equality. We support the values of a liberal democracy, including the rule of law, equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people.

We are committed to support honest, open discussions about how we can achieve a more equal society, and to become a stronger and more compassionate people through diversity and cross-cultural education. We pray for the safety of all as our nation moves through this difficult time.

Our Mission: We are a nonpartisan forum for education and engagement on world affairs.

Our Vision: Understanding the world happens here.

Our Purpose: To help prepare this and the next generation to be informed citizens of a global power and effective participants in a global marketplace.

Our Guiding Principle: An informed and engaged citizenry must be the foundation for shaping policy in a free society. This is especially true in the domain of foreign policy, where global issues are increasingly complex and international relationships are increasingly interdependent.

Reaching Out to You

Dear Colorado Springs World Affairs Council Colleague –

As we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to reach out to you, personally, to update you on how the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council (CSWAC) is adapting to serve our members during this unprecedented and very unsettling time.

Since 1979, our World Affairs Council has built a solid foundation of educated, informed and active members. We have worked together to address many challenges along the way. Our work has never been more important than it is now, requiring us to be resilient and innovative. We hope that you will join this effort to overcome the new realities posed by The Covid Crisis, so that we can continue to provide high-quality service and value for our members.

Virtual Programs: Social distancing requirements prevent us from coming together in-person. CSWAC has adapted by sponsoring frequent online programs with both international and local thought leaders, to continue educating and informing our members on timely issues. Many of you have been participating in these webcasts. Additionally, we are providing access to interesting and varied programs sponsored by the World Affairs Council of America (WACA), as well as local WACA chapters throughout the nation. The expert presenters featured on these programs provide much greater depth and insight than conventional news sources.

Check our website and newsletter for details on upcoming events.

CSWAC Member Activities: Social connections are the ties that binds CSWAC members together.

Our Great Decisions study group and the CSWAC book club have continued lively discussions on the issues of the day – as well as sharing information and experiences about the Covid Crisis.

If there’s interest, we can create other opportunities to bring our members together ‘virtually’, until we can be together again in-person. We seek your ideas for programs that would interest and benefit to you.

Financial Challenges: Our staff and board of directors have done an extraordinary job securing government support and private grant funding to ensure CSWAC’s financial security for the near-term.

For the longer-term, if you can make a tax-deductible contribution, become a ‘premium’ member, or upgrade your premium membership, please consider doing so. The Covid Crisis will likely be with us for a long while – your contribution will help see us through to better days ahead.

If, on the other hand, your economic security has been challenged by the contraction of the economy, please communicate. There are ways to preserve your membership during this unique time. Your friendship and continued participation is important to your CSWAC colleagues…

Finally, please encourage your friends to join CSWAC – there is both strength and value in a large and diverse CSWAC membership.

Reaching Out: A member of our board of directors will be in touch with you in the coming days. This is an opportunity to share your ideas on how CSWAC can best serve you during in the coming weeks and months, as we strive to overcome the Covid Crisis, together.


Ian Glassford
President, Board of Directors

Week-long CxC: Amplified Summit Kicks Off Today!

‘Putting the World Back Together’ marks the first time Councils across the country will gather virtually for a special, inclusive Ideas Summit, under a new brand: CxC: Amplified. Our collective programming – virtual events, conversations, debates, and engagement opportunities – on one platform aims to meet this historic moment with unity, leadership, and dialogue.

CxC: Amplified is a full week of ideas designed to amplify voices on foreign and national policy, Council by Council, and coast to coast. Open to the public, this Ideas Summit brings together leaders, experts, and citizens across the nation to tackle the central question: How will the world be put back together as we chart our way through the new circumstances caused by this coronavirus pandemic?

Register now! Visit the CxC: Amplified Summit website at to view the developing agenda and register for a variety of events ranging from speaker programs and happy hours to salsa dancing and yoga classes.

Customize your week! This Summit is presented virtually for you, which means you can customize your daily agenda to include the events that interest you and work with your schedule. Each event has its own registration link and information that can be found on the CxC: Amplified website, so be sure to register for any and all events you plan to join. The vast majority of events are completely free.

Message From Executive Director On COVID-19

Dear Members and Friends,

As our community joins the worldwide effort to combat the dangers of the COVID-19 virus, we at the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council are also taking every precaution to ensure the safety and well-being of our members and participants. Accordingly, the following actions have been or will be implemented immediately:

Speaker Programs:
The March 17 event, China, Hong Kong, and the Asian Pacific has been cancelled, and all registration fees have been refunded. The April 8 event, Bipartisanship in Foreign Policy – The Conversation America Needs is being rescheduled to a later date.

Plans for all other public speaker events will be evaluated and announced on an ongoing basis. We are exploring alternate methods of educational program delivery during this interim time.

Members Only Groups: Great Decisions will move to an online discussion format. Plans for WAC Colleagues and the Book Club will be determined by member’s feedback and, if necessary, adjustments to schedule made as needed.

International Visitors: As a partner of the International Visitors Leadership Program, we will temporarily pause our visitor programs in accordance with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs policy announced yesterday. International Visitor programs will pause for 60 days and this decision will be reviewed every 30 days thereafter.

High School Education: The National Academic WorldQuest Competition in Washington DC has been cancelled. Consequently, we will not be sending our regional competition winners to Washington this year. Plans for an virtual competition may replace and be announced in lieu of the planned national competition in April.

The effects of the COVID-19 virus are fast-moving and are changing daily, even hourly. As such, we will continue to evaluate our programming needs, keeping the safety of our members as our highest priority and making adjustments as needed. We are in communication with our sister councils and the World Affairs Councils of America regarding current events relating to COVID-19.

Please feel to contact us at info@csworldaffairs,org with questions and concerns.

In health and wellness,
Karen Burghart, Executive Director

Colorado Springs World Affairs Council to Host 2020 International Women of Courage Award Recipient

Colorado Springs, CO, March 6, 2020 – Colorado Springs World Affairs Councilwill host a recipient of the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award on March March 10-14 as part of a two-week exchange program. The IWOC Award annually recognizes women from around the world who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength and leadership in acting to improve others’ lives. As part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, the awardees visit U.S. universities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to share strategies and ideas to empower women around the globe.

Colorado Springs World Affairs Councilis hostingAmaya Coppens of Nicaragua.  Coppens is one of the leaders of the 19th of April Student Movement in Nicaragua. She participated in numerous protests against the Sandinista government and the violent, repressive tactics deployed by its security forces. In September 2018, she was abducted by Nicaraguan police from her residence after participating in a peaceful protest. She was released in June and continued to speak out against the regime in Nicaragua. She had the opportunity to repatriate to Belgium during her first captivity, but refused. On November 14, Coppens was imprisoned again when she and 12 other activists attempted to bring water to mothers of political prisoners on hunger strike. She and other political prisoners were released by the regime on December 30, 2019.

Coppens will meet with several organizations in Colorado Springs to speak about her experience, including students at UCCS and a panel of elected leaders.  Coppens story in is in furtherance of IWOC’s goal to explain how work of these courageous women directly impacts and promotes U.S. national security.

The 2020 IWOC recipients received their awards at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on March 4 and are now headed to cities across the United States as part of the IVLP. The program concludes in Los Angeles, California on March 17.

“Since the inception of the International Women of Courage Award in 2007, the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) has hosted awardees in 36 communities across 23 states in the United States,” said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. “During their exchange program, the International Women of Courage awardees will meet and share ideas with Americans, creating new relationships and lasting bonds critical to U.S. foreign policy. I know that their stories and life experiences will engage, inspire, and empower the Americans they meet.”

For the past 80 years, the IVLP has connected current and emerging leaders from around the world to the United States through short-term exchanges. The program has grown to include over 225,000 alumni, including more than 500 current and former heads of state, and continues to build vital linkages between U.S. citizens and emerging leaders throughout the world. The IVLP continues to play a critical role in U.S. foreign policy and provides an opportunity for the next generation of leaders to gain firsthand experience in the United States.

For press inquiries on the IWOC Awardee’s time in Colorado Springs, contact Jamie Bequette at, 719-579-8443 ext. 2. For inquiries related to the awards ceremony and public forum, please contact, Telephone: 202-632-6452. Follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter at #IWOC2020 and #WomenofCourage.

Colorado Springs World Affairs Council Interview on Colorado Public Radio

Turkey is waging an offensive in neighboring Syria. The target: Kurdish fighters. The Kurds played a central role in helping the United States take on ISIS. Still, Turkey’s move came with U.S. help. Is this an example of the Trump Administration turning its back on an ally or choosing to stand alongside a different one?

Karl Schneider, board member of the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council, says the answer is complicated.

Listen here: