To reiterate its mission of promoting international awareness and understanding, the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth started a travel program in 2012 with a weekend trip to Guanajauto, Mexico. This past January, WAC upped its travel game with extended trips, starting with an eight-day excursion to Cuba.
“The Cuba trip was one of the top items on my bucket list,” says Anne Buckley, a Dallas resident who attended WAC’s first extended trip. “It was a rich, exciting and meaningful experience.”
In addition to the traditional tourist stops, WAC trips include lectures from experts in the fields of diplomacy, journalism or academia, which vary depending on the country and city. The experience is built around understanding the culture on all levels, from politics to daily life.
The DFW World Affairs Council travel experience is built around understanding the country's culture on all levels, from politics to daily life.
In Cuba, the travelers journeyed with Havana-based guide Steve Hart and met two representatives from the Dallas WAC office.
“Never did I feel uncomfortable,” Buckley says. “I was amazed at the way they squired us around the country. It was always gracious and fun.”
Buckley says her favorite part of the trip was visiting the Cuban countryside and the historic site of the Bay of Pigs invasion.
“Being a part of that landscape and understanding the beauty as well as the amazing adaptations the Cuban people have had to make in order to survive was a valuable understanding I gained from that exposure,” she says.
The key part of the trip, she says, was meeting different people who shared their stories and experiences. “One would be well-served to pack energy, enthusiasm and curiosity on this adventure,” she adds.
For those with enthusiasm and curiosity at the ready, WAC has a line of upcoming trips, including visits to France, Morocco and Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). The Myanmar trip, scheduled for November 1-12, promises a unique opportunity to explore this mysterious and mystical landscape, where travelers can explore the magnificent examples of the civilizations that have ruled this Asian nation.
WAC participants will visit the traditional tourist sites as well as meet residents, artisans and other people who have a deep understanding of Myanmar's assets and challenges. Among those individuals is Thant Myint-U, a historian, writer and grandson of United Nations leader U Thant. Stops include Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Bagan.
The price for the Myanmar trip is $4,600 double occupancy; add $1,120 for single. The trip includes stays in four-star hotels, a local and bilingual tour guide, and in-country travel. (Travel from the U.S. to the destination county is not included.) Most meals also are included, except for a few dinners, which allow people to explore the city during free time.
To sign up, contact programs manager Jocelyn Lancaster at firstname.lastname@example.org or email email@example.com. The deadline for the Myanmar trip is August 16.