World Affairs Council Event Lifts City’s International Profile

By Jake Gaines       Photography by Dos Kiwis Studios

THE SETTING: Before COVID-19, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts was the setting for the World Affairs Council of San Antonio’s 2020 International Citizen of the Year Award dinner. The event honored the Morgan’s Wonderland park’s Gordon Hartman for helping lift San Antonio’s international profile. Morgan’s Wonderland is the first-of-its-kind amusement park that is designed specifically for children with special needs and their families. The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation pursues his family’s dream of helping children and adults with special needs. His daughter Morgan, born with cognitive and physical challenges, was the source of inspiration. Over the past decade, Hartman has been recognized for his innovative designs and ingenuity in opening multiple non-profit fully-accessible theme parks for special-needs individuals.

THE STYLE: The keynote speaker for the gathering was Ambassador Roman Popadiuk, who had served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine under President George H.W. Bush. Former Ambassador Popadiuk is an expert on U.S.-Ukrainian relations and other national security issues. He is a retired career member of the Senior Foreign Service, and  was executive director of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation at Texas A&M University. He currently serves as president of the Diplomacy Center Foundation. The event featured an interview with the Ambassador by Dr. Paul D’Anieri,  University of California Riverside professor and expert on Ukraine.

THE PURPOSE: This is the 35th year the organization has hosted the annual event. Founded in 1982, the World Affairs Council of San Antonio’s mission is to promote public understanding of world affairs and United States foreign policy and to enhance the ability of the community and future leaders to participate as global citizens. The Council accomplishes its mission by presenting programs such as the Distinguished Speaker Series, Global Issues Luncheons, Diplomat Salons, the Marshall Memorial Fellows, Young Professional events, and youth engagement outreach. A not-for-profit and non-partisan organization, it is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America.