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Our Mission

The mission of the Savannah Council on World Affairs (SCWA) is to foster individual awareness of, broaden community interest in, and promote the study of international issues, and to work with other organizations concerned with similar objectives.

What We Do

  • The Council provides a forum for discussion of international affairs by hosting monthly programs from September through May. Speakers are recognized authorities including current and former government officials, diplomats, educators, journalists, and members of non-governmental organizations. They come from both the U.S. and around the world. These programs have been offered since 1984.
  • The Council is a non-partisan, tax-exempt organization and neither participates in political campaigns nor attempts to influence legislation. It is affiliated with, and pays dues to, the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA), located in Washington, D.C. This "parent" organization, founded in 1918, has 83 member councils with approximately 80,000 members, and is considered the premier organization providing information to the citizens of our country on international affairs. It organizes an annual National Conference focused on a subject or region of current interest, which many members of the Council choose to attend.
  • Each year the Council provides a stipend to several undergraduates to assist in their decision to study abroad during the summer. Undergraduates from Savannah State, Armstrong Atlantic State and Georgia Southern Universities are chosen using the following criteria: a-they have already been selected for a study abroad program, b- they have a good academic record, and c- they have financial need. Each stipend recipient gives a brief report on their program at the beginning of one of our Fall programs. In addition, a college-level "Great Decisions" program has been implemented in the form of an Honors course at Armstrong Atlantic State University and Savannah State University.
  • Council members are eligible to participate in travel programs sponsored by the Philadelphia Council. A wide variety of guided trips are available each year, and some are outstanding values. For further information on these programs, click here.

Officers, Program Chairs and Directors

(Names in blue are linked to a brief resume)


President Byron A. Boyd
Vice President
Martin Vernick
Treasurer Justin A. Godchaux
Recording Secretary
Olavi Arens, Ph.D
Corresponding Secretary
George B. Pruden, PhD.

Committee Chairs

Program Jose de Arimateia da Cruz, Ph.D, Melvyn P. Galin, Ph.D
Kathy S. Ledvina
Membership Pamela Rhoads Allen
Sponsorship Michael D. Brown
Communications Marty Vernick
Michael D. Brown


James N. Anderson, Ph.D Randy Moffett
Bernard Bongang, Ph.D Roger H. Smith
Claudia (Candy) R. Baxter Emmanuel M. Naniuzeyi, Ph.D.
John L. Neely Mohamed Mukhtar, Ph.D
Sherry G. Leblang Ex-officio voting Director
George B. Pruden, Ph.D. Ex-officio non-voting Director
Charles (Chip) O'Brien Roger. H. Smith
Danielle L. Smith

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The Savannah Council on World Affairs, Inc. is a non-partisan, non-profit, all volunteer organization. Its purpose is to make available information, analysis, and strategic thinking about important international issues. The Savannah Council neither participates in political campaigns nor attempts to influence legislation. Founded in 1984, the Savannah Council is one of 85 councils affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America, established in 1918.

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Kathy S. Ledvina

Raised in Chicago, IL I combined my passion for history and architecture and pursued a Masters Degree in Historic Preservation at the Savannah College of Art & Design.  Mentored by Leopold Adler, II the City of Savannah became home in 1994.  As a SCAD professor I shared the preservation knowledge and enthusiaism taught to me with incoming college students.  A teaching experience which lead to the co-founding of SCCPS High School Historic Preservation Program.  Under the umbrella of Historic Preservation, I manage Preservation Associates, II and am engaged with Preservation Consulting, Recognized Rehabilitation Construction, Real Estate & Development, and National & State Advocacy.  Actively involved in Savannah’s non-profit community I participate/d with:  Junior League of Savannah, Historic Savannah Foundation, The King Tisdell Cottage Foundation, Heritage Committee Chair at the First City Club, Leadership Savannah, Savannah Development & Renewal Authority, and the Ossabaw Island Foundation.  Interests include traveling, cemeteries, and art.

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Pamela Rhoads Allen

Pam Allen, our current Membership Chairman, is a native of Savannah.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in French from Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia, and a Juris Doctor degree from Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.  In 2006 she retired from the practice of law with the local firm Oliver Maner & Gray LLP, where she had been a partner concentrating in the area of public finance law.

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Mrs. Allen has served on the Boards of Directors of Parent and Child Development Services and Hope School for Hearing Impaired Children, serving mainly in the area of legislative advocacy.  She also has served on the Open Space Committee of the Savannah Metropolitan Planning Committee and is a graduate of Leadership Savannah.  She served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of The Landings Association, the governing body for The Landings.  She joined the Board of SCWA in 1994 and has served as Vice President and Corresponding Secretary of the Council, and Chairman of the Membership Committee and the Nominating Committee.