Episode 83 • 03/21/2024

Matthew Hughes, CEO of the WACA on Why World Affairs Should Matter to all Americans

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How do you set guidelines and parameters for contentious conversations to keep discussions civil? How do you bring voices to the table that have been historically excluded?

In this episode of Associations Thrive, host Joanna Pineda interviews Matthew Hughes, CEO of the World Affairs Councils of America. Matthew discusses:

  • How WACA is a trade association of Local Councils around the country that bring diplomats, journalists and professors to communities, to foster discussion and understanding about foreign affairs and global issues.
  • His journey from the education world  to the association world.
  • How and why world affairs should matter to everyone in the US, despite our domestic issues.
  • How WACA develops partnerships with organizations that provide local councils with resources and speakers.
  • How WACA helps local councils put on great programs, run high performing nonprofits, and be sustainable.
  • How the WACA100 trains local council leaders and volunteers for the jobs of running a local council, promoting events, fundraising and running a sustainable organization.
  • How WACA trains local councils to manage difficult discussions around polarizing issues to remain true to WACA’s mission of informed civil discourse.
  • How WACA inspires the next generation of citizens to contribute to the discussion through the Academic WorldQuest program.
  • How WACA’s annual conference last November saw an increase in attendance and was a big success.


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About Associations Thrive

Associations Thrive podcast is hosted by Joanna Pineda, CEO & Chief Troublemaker at Matrix Group International. Joanna’s personal mission and the mission of Matrix Group is to help associations and nonprofits increase membership, generate revenue and thrive in the digital space. 

We believe that every association has a unique mission and unique story that demonstrates how they’re serving their members, impacting their industry, and ultimately changing the world. Every guest is an association Chief Executive, Executive Director or President. We’re here to help amplify their stories so all associations can learn and thrive, together.

If you and your organization have a great story,  apply to be on Associations Thrive!