About Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council

Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA).

The regional organization dates back to 1999 and has continued to arrange 8-10 speaker series meetings annually between September and June. The meetings range in topic and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond.

SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” SECWAC provides a nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policy makers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations.

The national WACA office assists members of the SECWAC board in identifying high quality foreign affairs speakers for lectures and panel discussions.

The Council is committed to hosting the widest possible range of views and advocating none. By maintaining a reputation for impartiality, the Council facilitates serious and civil debates and discussions on timely issues that bear directly on America’s vital global interests.

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington (at left), September 2017 speaker, speaking to SECWAC members

Mark Tokola and Jang Hyun Kim, members of “The Future of Korea” panel in May 2017

Board of Directors

  • Chairman
  • Executive Director
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Assistant Secretary
  • Richard W. Stout III
  • Paul Nugent
  • Alex Ochse
  • Atif Faruqui
  • Sandra Yarrow Rueb
  • Jonathan Putnam Butler, Architect
  • Bruce D. Cummings LFACHE, Health care executive
  • Atif Faruqui, Associate Director of Cybersecurity, Pfizer, Inc
  • Chip Goodrich, Attorney with specialty in international banking
  • Kayla Hedman, Marketer
  • Daniel G. Henderson, Publisher, Lyme Old Lyme Neighbors Magazine
  • Elizabeth Lightfoot, Director of Alumni Relations, The Country School
  • R. Blair McBeth, Jr., Retired Financial Executive
  • Burr McDermott, Regional Sales, Manager, Kayem Foods
  • Andreas Mink, U.S. correspondent for major Swiss and German publications
  • Alexander Ochse, Financial Advisor, Liberty Bank/Raymond James Financial Services
  • Richard W. Stout III, Partner, Benchmark Wealth Management
  • Pieter T. Visscher, Professor of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut

* Executive Director elected annually; Board participant

Mission Statement

The mission of the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) is to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs by study, debate, and educational programming, primarily through a Speakers Series of 8 to 10 monthly meetings.