Leading SA: The impact of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio

Executive director Armen Babajanian discusses the council’s decades of work in the Alamo City

SAN ANTONIO – Armen Babajanian, executive director of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, joined Leading SA to discuss the organization’s impact on San Antonio and its efforts to raise local awareness of international issues.

Founded in 1982, the council is a nonpartisan educational forum focused on foreign policy.

“There are several entities actively trying to continue San Antonio’s international footprint,” Babajanian stated. He cited organizations like Greater SATX, the city’s Global Engagement Office, and private companies investing in the South Side.

Babajanian added though overshadowed at times by other Texas cities, San Antonio has a large, diverse population attuned to global affairs.

A core part of the council’s mission is youth engagement. They host an international trivia competition for high schoolers and partner with local universities. “We also have academics focused on different world regions who lend expertise on programs dealing with U.S. foreign policy,” Babajanian said.

When asked who the Council recently honored, Babajanian named Shahrzad (Sherry) Dowlatshahi 2024 International Citizen of the Year.

“We’ve known Sherry for many years and all the work she does engaging foreign diplomats, traveling with the mayor, and getting citizens involved in discussing global issues that impact San Antonio,” Babajanian said.

The council aims to continue promoting international awareness and elevating San Antonio’s worldwide connections. Through education and recognizing leaders like Sherry Dowlatshahi, they hope to keep the Alamo City globally-minded.

About the Authors

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.

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