The Alabama World Affairs Council (AWAC) is a nonprofit organization that sponsors lectures and programs on current and recent events of national and international interest. Through these programs, which take place in Montgomery, AWAC aims to promote public awareness and understanding of international affairs as they relate to U.S. interests in the context of political, economic, cultural, historical, and military issues. AWAC leadership states that the organization works to foster a democratic society through increasing individual knowledge of world affairs.
The Council is governed by a President, an Executive Director, an Executive Committee and a Board of Trustees.
Maj. Gen. Walter D. Givhan, USAF, Retd , President
Maj. Gen. Walter D. Givhan, USAF, Retired, President of ALWAC, is the Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement for Troy University. A native of Safford, AL, Maj. Gen. Givhan graduated in History from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, has several Master’s degrees including strategy and international relations, and was a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
He served as the USAF liaison officer to the French ground forces for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and he led the effort to rebuild the Afghan air force. He also has commanded a combat training squadron, an operations group, an air base wing, an air expeditionary wing, and the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Maj. Gen. Givhan's staff assignments include the offices of the Secretary of the Air Force; Legislative Liaison; Chief, Combat Forces Division, Directorate of Programs; and Director, Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff Executive Action Group, HQ USAF. He also served in the US Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He is a command pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours in aircraft including the F-15 and A-10.
Dr. Mark Conversino, Executive Director
Dr. Mark J. Conversino is the Chief Academic Officer of the Air University (2019-). He previously served as Dean of the Air War College (2008-16); and Deputy Commandant and Professor of Strategy and Security Studies at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS, 2016-19), Air University (AU), Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB), Alabama. As an award-winning professor, he is responsible for creating warrior-scholars of airpower. Dr. Conversino joined the faculty of the Air War College (AWC) as a civilian following his retirement from the Air Force and subsequently joined the faculty of SAASS in 2015. He specializes in military and airpower history and theory, Russian history and the politics of the former Soviet Union.
He holds the PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington. His book, chronicling the challenges and costs of the US operation to fly bombing missions from Soviet Ukraine, is Fighting With the Soviets: The Failure of Operation FRANTIC, 1944-1945, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1997.