Our Mission

The World Affairs Forum is part of a national network of over 95 councils across the country with a shared mission of educating our members, students and the public about global affairs and America’s role in the world. Our local organization, serving Fairfield and Westchester counties, was established in 1946 to promote greater understanding of foreign policy issues by fostering dialogue between its members and leaders in the field of international relations. We are a non-partisan, non-profit organization serving over 500 members and the larger community through a variety of quality programs. We bring the best thinkers, writers and policy makers involved in world affairs to our audiences through approximately 30 events each year.


A lot is happening in the world around us. Attend our events and see the world through the eyes of those at the fore-front of the news.


Meet business leaders, entrepreneurs & motivated people just like you from Fairfield and Westchester Counties and beyond at our events.


See the world! Cuba, Vietnam, Italy... Just some of the places our members have visited on trips sponsored by member World Affairs Councils.

A Brief History

The World Affairs Forum, representing Fairfield and Westchester Counties, was founded in 1946, out of the conflict over whether to locate the fledgling United Nations headquarters in one of the potential sites – Pound Ridge, NY, neighboring Greenwich, or Stamford. After New York City was chosen to host the UN, the Stamford supporting group formed the World Affairs Forum – now a part of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA), with more than 95 affiliate Councils representing 86,000 members nationwide.

  • UN looks to Greenwich area for possible headquarters site
  • Residents protest against “UNOville”
  • Group of concerned citizens create “forum” to debate issue
  • June 20, 1946, a panel discussion is held on the future of the UN
  • Rockefeller family donates land to UN on East River in Manhattan
  • Eleanor Roosevelt addresses Stamford Forum in coast to coast radio broadcast
  • Forum’s Atomic Energy Week featured in Life Magazine
  • Forum “community study groups” develop long range foreign policy recommendations
  • Recommendations published in Congressional Record
  • Sunday Forums become ”the place to be” in Stamford with exciting speakers and stimulating dialog.
  • Forum inaugurates student meetings and cultural events to introduce the world to Stamford
  • Youth groups produce Stamford radio broadcasts on international issues of the day
  • Altschul Award created to honor Frank and Helen Altschul for 30 years of support.
  • Award designed to recognize outstanding individuals who enhance citizen understanding of international affairs.
  • John McCloy, distinguished public servant and first President of the World Bank, receives first Altschul Award
  • Ongoing Forum programs focus on Cold War, growth of global economy, growing divisions between the developed world and the Third World, and the Vietnam War
  • Second Altschul Award presented to David Rockefeller
  • Student broadcasts continue on WSTC
  • Ambassadors’ Roundtable created to give business and community leaders access to top-level foreign affairs “movers and shakers” in an off-the-record setting
  • Kempton Dunn and Gen. Robert E. Pursley named co-chairs of Ambassadors’ Roundtable
  • Calibre of speakers captures attention of growing corporate community in Stamford
  • Sen. J. William Fulbright receives third Altschul Award
  • Forum hires first full-time Executive Director Barbara Chisholm

  • Israeli diplomat Abba Eban receives fourth Altschul Award
  • Sunday Forums evolve to more panels
  • Mitchell Krauss assumes Chair of Ambassadors’ Roundtable
  • Former and future Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, and George Schultz address our audiences
  • Major corporations host Forum events
  • Barbara Bush and Lawrence Eagleburger honor Robert Macauley at fifth Altschul Award winner at Forum’s 50th anniversary celebration
  • Barbara Chisholm retires from Forum
  • Eileen Heaphy becomes new Executive Director of Forum
  • WorldQuest, annual international quiz, kicks off
  • WorldAffairsForum.org launched
  • Forum grants first Norman Woodberry study abroad scholarships
  • Former President George H. W. Bush receives sixth Altschul Award; CNN and Fox News cover it
  • Academic WorldQuest competition for high schools begins
  • Forum hosts first Women in Development Conference
  • World Affairs Forum celebrates 60 years
  • Global Economic Trends Lecture launched at Pitney Bowes
  • Barbara Chisholm Memorial Book Award established
  • Kay Maxwell becomes Executive Director
  • Future Global Leaders $10,000 Scholarship Award launched
  • Hosts U.S.Ambassadors of India and Pakistan at MasterCard
  • World Affairs Forum members increase participation in the International Travel Program run by World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
  • Ted Turner and Senator George Mitchell address our audiences
  • Anonymous gift subsidizes Forum membership, lowering it’s price to $20
  • First Mondays Discussion group launched
  • Founder, Wilbur Miller, dies at the age of 102

Don’t just read the news.
Attend a forum event and be part of the discussion.

Upcoming Events

Our Staff

The World Affairs Forum has a wonderful staff dedicated to bringing events that are relevant to our lives and go beyond the media sound bites. In addition to our office staff, we have a wonderful group of volunteers that make sure our events run smoothly.

Kay Maxwell
Executive Director

Kay has served as Executive Director of the Forum since 2007. Previously, she was the President of the League of Women Voters of the US from 2002-2006 and of the CT League from 1989-1993. She also served as Chair of the Planned Parenthood of Southern New England Board from 2009-11 and is currently a member of the Board of Inspirica. She was a recipient of the first “Citizen of the Year” award from the Connecticut Secretary of the State in 1993 and the “Woman Who Makes a Difference” award from the International Women’s Forum in 2003. Kay also served as the VP for Program Administration and Corporate Development at the International Executive Service Corps, an international economic development organization.

Wendy Skratt
Manager, Communications & Events

Wendy leads marketing strategy, creates all internal and external print, digital communications and marketing content. In addition, she manages all social media and events. After running her own photography studio for 15 years, she discovered an interest in civic engagement and became a local leader with the League of Women Voters. Her interest in community building and educational events brought her to the World Affairs Forum in 2016. She studied photography at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Art Institute.

Kerry Faughnan,

Kerry Faughnan received her BSBA from St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine and has served as the bookkeeper on a part-time basis for the Forum since September of 2006.  Her other customers include non-profit organizations, contractors and sole proprietor service companies.  She also served as Treasurer and President of the Newfield PFO from 1998 – 2002 and has worked in AARP Tax Assistance Program.

Our Board


  • Eric K. Petschek, Former Assistant Treasurer



  • Basam Nabulsi, Chairman, Partner, McCarter & English, LLP
  • Maudie Long, Vice Chairman, Senior Vice President, U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management
  • Siw de Gysser, Treasurer, Vice President, Corporate Planning, Philip Morris Companies, Inc., (ret.)
  • David Osborn, Secretary, Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor, Wells Fargo, The Private Bank


  • Robert C. Babkowski, MD, President, Stamford Pathology Group PC
  • Elizabeth Behnke, US Head of Marketing, AXA Real Estate (ret.)
  • Frank Bria, Vice President, General Reinsurance Corp.
  • John F. Donlon, Managing Director, Legendary Financial Insights, LLC
  • Jo Blanche Dutcher, Director, Deloitte Services LP (ret.)
  • William V. Ferdinand, Managing Director & Senior Portfolio Manager, U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management, (ret.)
  • William W. Galvin, III, President, The Galvin Partnership
  • Joanna Gwozdziowski, Political Consultant
  • Wilmot L. Harris, Jr. , Partner, Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara LLC
  • Derek Harvey, Exxon Mobil Corp, (ret.)
  • Donald Heller, Partner, Grand Elk & Orvis Shore
    Fox Resort Communities
  • Alice Knapp, President, Ferguson Library
  • Dr. John D. Knopf, Director, School of Business, University of Connecticut
  • Jim Lisher, Lisher and Company, Inc.
  • Richard S. Lukaj, President, Lukaj Foundation
  • Kay J. Maxwell, Executive Director, World Affairs Forum
  • Adam S. Mocciolo, Member, Pullman & Comley, LLC
  • Donald P. Moore, Partner, Reed Smith LLP
  • J. David Nelson, Former Board Chair, AARP Foundation
  • Scott C. Nevins, Principal, Bernstein Global Wealth Management
  • George F. Paik, Lord Capital, LLC
  • Pilar S. Ramos, Executive VP, Assoc. General Counsel North America, MasterCard Worldwide
  • Gregory Saum, The Law Office of Gregory A. Saum LLC
  • Michelle A. Thompson, Emergency Response Manager, AmeriCares
  • Sara L. Tucker, Senior Vice President & Director of Business Banking, First County Bank
  • Damon N. Vocke, Partner, Vocke Law Group

Want to stay informed about world events?

A Forum for Global Education and International Affairs

Since 1946, we have been providing top-level and thought-provoking presentations, debates, and discussions of global education and international affairs. WAF provides a neutral forum for speeches by presidents, prime ministers, cabinet officials, economists, diplomats, scholars, academics, corporate leaders, authors, researchers, pundits, journalists, and Nobel laureates. These worldwide speakers join Council members, VIP guests and the public for in-depth discussions of major foreign policy and education issues that have global impact.