Naples Council
World Affairs
Our mission is to educate, inspire and engage our community in international affairs and critical global issues

Serving Florida’s Southwest Coast

With more than 1,500 members, NCWA is one of the largest members
of the World Affairs Councils of America.

Founded in 1980

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We thank our donors for their generous contributions. Their names can be seen by clicking here (log-in required).     

Welcome to the Naples Council on World Affairs!

Hal Brands of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies discusses "Forging a New World Order: All Eyes on China" at NCWA's annual dinner.

The Naples Council on World Affairs (NCWA), Southwest Florida's pre-eminent nonprofit membership organization in its field, educates, inspires and engages our community in international affairs and critical global issues confronting us today.

Our programs are non-partisan and policy focused and provide in-depth information to help members better understand significant international developments -- and the role of the U.S. in those events -- as they unfold.

NCWA brings a series of experts in foreign affairs and diplomacy to Naples from October through April to deliver lectures on major global issues. Lectures are offered in person at Moorings Presbyterian Church or live-streamed in real time.

NCWA also offers Great Decisions, a small-group discussion program serving members in Collier and Lee Counties and focusing on vital foreign-affairs issues facing America. The Great Decisions discussions are made even more relevant by the current information provided by the lecture program.

Finally, NCWA offers programs and scholarships for students in Southwest Florida area high schools to encourage interest and potential careers in global affairs, including a regional Model UN competition each spring in partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University.

Membership enrollment is open (see below).

Become a Full Member now!*

Enrollment in NCWA Full Individual and Family Memberships
is open for the 2023-2024 season**

Click the "Apply for Membership" tab above for information
and to renew or apply for NCWA membership online.
You may also enroll in Great Decisions. 

(You also may call 239-649-3942 to join or renew)

If you are renewing your membership,
please log on to our website and check your profile.

Please make sure that you provide your current primary and secondary email addresses. 

* Associate Memberships are not currently available.

** The membership year is on a fiscal year basis, from July 1 through June 30.

NCWA Board member Francisco Figueroa, right, and his wife, Edde, took visiting African leaders to the beach.

NCWA Hosts African Leaders

During Summer Program at FGCU

NCWA members hosted about 20 visitors from the Washington Mandela Washington Fellows Program for Young African Leaders this summer as they attended workshops at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Mark and Cathy Walchak served dinner, and other Board members and NCWA leaders led the visitors in exploring the Naples area. Dr. Asygul Timur, president of FGCU and a former member of NCWA, attended the dinner. Co-hosts for the dinner and program were Alan Van Egmond and Kathleen Hessert.

Francisco Figueroa, a NCWA Board member, reported that he took his guests, from Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Nigeria, out to eat Mexican food, on a boat tour of Estero Bay, on a driving tour of Naples, on a walk along the beaches searching for sea shells, and had them over for dinner at their home, where they watched "Top Gun Maverick" in their home theater, had them cook their special meals for their hosts, and took them shopping.

"Like most youngsters, they are rather attached to their phones," Francisco reported. "They were in frequent contact with their businesses/jobs and family back home. They definitely enjoyed experiencing things that were very different from their home countries."  

Kathleen (Hessert) and Tim Gunderman originally hosted three Tanzanian Fellows, but, after discovering that all participants didn’t have hosts because of summer travel schedules, they added a fourth person from Namibia. 

They took their guests to dinner and lunch twice, to Bonita Springs 4th of July festival and fireworks, on an Everglades airboat ride, swimming at their home, and to a neighborhood party. They spoke in detail about the difference in how Americans celebrate independence versus how they do in Tanzania.

Also, they had deep conversations about one Fellow's dream of becoming president of Tanzania and the process to do that, which led to discussions of our presidential elections and immigration, including the statewide immigration policies in Florida. 

Because of that Fellow's current employment by the United Nations, they also spoke at length about the UN and Ukraine including our involvement with and KidsKonnectUkraine. The Fellows were very interested in how the youth of Ukraine were responding to and living through war. 

Since two of their guests were associated with NGO’s, they also spoke in detail about their roles and organizations in relation to The Foundation For in Tanzania, which the Gundermans' daughter founded and they had just returned from visiting their latest Learning Center dedication. The couple also shared copies of their favorite relevant books on online resources and insights into leadership skills evolution. 

The Fellows program was initiated by President Obama in 2014 and occurs in July each year. The Young African Leaders are part of a cohort of close to 800 Fellows currently dispersed throughout the U.S.  They gathered for four days in Washington DC before returning to their home countries.  FGCU was selected by the State Department to host this group based on a nationwide competition, the only university in Florida to have been chosen.

School Outreach Program Seeking Two Important Leaders

If you are looking for a personal way to make a difference in Naples area schools, here's your chance! Two exciting leadership vacancies exist to contribute to NCWA's school outreach programs.

Leaders are needed for NCWA's Middle School Academic WorldQuest program and for the Student Alumni Association. Both are working positions that will provide the opportunity to interact with young people throughout our community and help them grow in their understanding of the global world in which they live. 

Middle School Academic World Quest: 

For more than a decade the Naples Council on World Affairs has sponsored an Academic World Quest (AWQ) competition in two programs in Collier County -- one for public and independent high schools and the second for middle schools. The objective of both programs is to promote student awareness of world affairs and of the role of the United States in the international political system.

The open leadership position will head the council’s Middle School AWQ program.This year’s competition is scheduled for Saturday, March 2.

NCWA Student Alumni Association:

Students who have won competitive NCWA summer scholarships become members of our Alumni Association upon the completion of those courses of study.

This leader will provide organization and leadership to the Alumni Association and maintain contact with our student scholars throughout their academic careers and beyond.

Additional information on both these programs can be found on the website. 

If you are interested, or would like more information, please contact Mark Walchak, School Outreach Committee Chair, at or by phone at 908-723-0681.

Travel With WACA Friends

The Philadelphia chapter of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) operates a travel service for members of affiliated councils. Here are some opportunities for trips with members of the WACA network:

Patagonian Frontiers 
January 15 – 30, 2024  

Machu Picchu to the Galapagos 
January 23 – February 7, 2024

Moroccan Discovery
March 5-18, 2024

Insider's Japan
April 10-22, 2024 

Alsace Fairytale France (France, Germany, & Switzerland)
May 5-13, 2024

All NCWA Members:

Be sure to sign up for your FREE subscription to DailyChatter!

This informative daily newsletter on international events
is a quick and non-partisan way to stay current and enhance
your understanding of our lectures and Great Decisions discussions!

Click here
to sub

Twelve outstanding
high school students were selected for NCWA's domestic and international summer scholarships!

Five went to international programs, five to Georgetown University, and two to American University.

Click Here to learn who won!
They will soon report their experiences
to NCWA's membership.

To view videos 
from four students who attended
last summer's programs, Click here!

General Information

Programs for Members


Lectures from October through April, featuring distinguished scholars and statesmen.

Great Decisions

Weekly discussion groups from January to March, using material from the Foreign Policy Association.

Special Programs

Lectures with book authors, special extra presentations, the biennial War College and more. Events will be announced.

Book Club, Annual Dinner & More

Monthly book discussions, an annual NCWA dinner, luncheons with speakers, newsletter.

Programs for Students

Model United Nations

Simulating the United Nations, includes 300 + high school students.

Georgetown & American Univeerer\Scholarships

One week immersion in International Relations or National Security at Georgetown University or American University in Washington DC. 

International Scholarships

Summer study and service programs in countries all over the world.

NCWA is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America

Naples Council on World Affairs
2316 Pine Ridge Road #361, Naples, Florida 34109-2006
  |  239-649-3942

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