Springfield-area residents can learn firsthand about U.S. foreign policy and global economic issues through free programs presented by the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois (WACCI). This civic organization hosts a speaker series with experts on a wide range of topics that are important globally and also have a local impact.

The first program of the new season is Monday, Sept. 17. Michael Swaine, senior fellow of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will discuss the relationship between the U.S. and China. Swaine is a specialist in Chinese defense and foreign policy, U.S.-China relations and East Asian international relations. He is the author of numerous books and journal articles, directs several security-related projects with Chinese partners and advises the U.S. government on Asian security issues.

Swaine’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, is Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Illinois Springfield Student Union Ballroom. Prior to the lecture there will be a reception and dinner. Cost for the dinner is $30 for WACCI members and $35 for nonmembers. Advance reservations for the dinner are required by Sept. 10. For more information, go to http://mywacci.org/.

Additional programs are scheduled for October-December. They include:

• Oct. 16, Brexit, presented by Chris McDonald, political science professor at Lincoln Land Community College. University of Illinois Springfield Brookens Auditorium

• Nov. 26, How World War I Changed the World, presented by Dr. Christine Anderson and Karl Rubis. Anderson is a Global Studies and Gender Studies instructor at Maggie K. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Richmond, Virginia. Rubis is historian for U.S. Army Ordnance Corps and School in Fort Lee, Virginia.University of Illinois Springfield Student Union Ballroom

• Dec. 12, Colombia after the Drug War, panel discussion by Andrew Koch, Peace Corps volunteer; Dr. Adriana Crocker, professor, University of Illinois Springfield; and Dr. Stanley Ruecker, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Hoogland Center for the Arts.

Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. In addition to the free lecture, each program has a reception and dinner in advance for which reservations are required.

Membership fees are the only source of funding for most programs. A basic membership costs $50. For more information about the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois and the benefits of membership, go to http://mywacci.org/.

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