“A Conversation with Jim Mattis”

A Virtual Program

Presented by: Pepsico

DATE: Tuesday, March 30


TICKETS: $15 for Council members, $35 for non-members

Tickets HERE.

The World Affairs Council, a regional leader in educating and engaging the public on global affairs, will welcome James Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense (2017-2018) as the keynote speaker on Tuesday, March 30, when the Council honors its International Educator of the Year. The Council’s international education program, Global Young Leaders, was instituted in 2004 and each year the Council honors an educator whose commitment to international awareness for the benefit of their students is exemplary.

Maria Viera-Williams of the Richardson Independent School District will be honored as 2021 International Educator of the Year. Viera-Williams is an English and ESL teacher at Lake Highlands High School. She is the founder and senior co-sponsor of the school’s Junior World Affairs Council, active since 2014. The Lake Highlands Junior World Affairs Council was named Most Active Junior World Affairs Chapter in 2019 and 2020. There are more than 60 Junior World Affairs Council chapters in area public, private and charter schools.

“The Junior World Affairs Council Chapter has played a significant role in global awareness among students, faculty and staff for the past seven years. As the founder and senior co-sponsor, I have been intensely committed to providing

students with informative programs that raise awareness on current, past, and future world issues as well as exposure to presenters with international expertise,” said Viera-Williams. Lake Highlands High School Principal Kerri Jones said, “Mrs. Viera-Williams is a master of all of the ingredients of successful teaching and leadership.”

For her initiative and continued work inspiring young minds to think globally, Viera-Williams will receive the 2021 International Educator of the Year Award, a $500 honorarium and participation in the World Affairs Councils of America’s Annual Conference to be held in the fall of 2021 in Washington, DC. The 2021 International Educator of the Year award event is a fundraiser supporting Global Young Leaders, the Council’s respected international education program. The luncheon’s presenting sponsor is Pepsico, Inc. and patron sponsors include Grant Thornton LLP, Haynes and Boone, LLP, Maisie L. Heiken, Hillwood, HKS, Inc. Mercado369 and Gary A. Wolens. Other sponsors include Jim and Terrell Falk, Foley & Lardner LLP, Chris and Jessica Hughes, and Mike and Mitzi Wadsworth.

In addition to providing up-to-date current affairs materials and training to help classroom teachers in classrooms, Global Young Leaders (GYL) brings speakers addressing historical topics and global issues to campuses and creates local and global connections in education, business and diplomacy to help students see and understand the world beyond classroom walls. GYL also organizes the annual regional Pinnacle Group Academic WorldQuest. The GYL’s regional winner has gone on to win the World Affairs Councils of America’s Academic WorldQuest national championship in Washington, D.C. seven times in

the last decade.

The Council’s Education Director Jennifer Bowden says, "This event not only honors these wonderful educators for their important work, but the money raised is immediately invested in well-planned programs that enhance the classroom experience. This support gives our students a booster shot of knowledge in this era of intense global competition for jobs and economic development. We believe that 21st century education should not be limited by classroom walls and quickly out-of-date textbooks."

The event takes place online at 6 PM on Tuesday, March 30. Tickets are $15 for World Affairs Council members and educators, and $35 for non-members. Tickets are available online or by calling 214-965- 8400. Memberships are available at dfwworld.org.

Our virtual conversation with former Secretary of Defense General Jim Mattis will be moderated by Council President Emeritus Jim Falk. General Mattis served as the 26th secretary of defense from January 2017 through December 2018 after retiring from his 43-year career as an infantry marine in 2013. Through his decades of experience, General Mattis has developed an acute understanding of American foreign policy and the United States’ role on the global stage and is a fierce advocate for education.

As the former commander of U.S. Central Command, General Mattis led more than 250,000 American and allied troops in combat throughout the Middle East and South Asia. His experience also includes serving as NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation and as a Davies Family Scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

For additional information, contact Martha Powell, at 214-965-8409 or mpowell@dfwworld.org.

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