About Us

The Alabama World Affairs Council (ALWAC) 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, ALWAC 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. ALWAC works to foster a civil society through civic knowledge of world affairs.

    • ALWAC brings an array of interesting speakers on a variety of world events and important international issues to Montgomery.
    • Founded in 1985 “to bring the world to Alabama,” by 2020 the ALWAC had over 270 active members in the Montgomery area and is one of the most active World Affairs organizations in the Southeast.  The variety of perspectives, informed insights on world events and frank discussions presented at these occasions are excellent.
    • ALWAC taps into a network of expert speakers recommended by World Affairs Councils of America and the Council on Foreign Relations ― plus local talents from Troy University and the Air University. 
    • ALWAC is led by our President, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Walter D. Givhan, former visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Senior VP of Troy University, and our Executive Director, Dr. Mark Conversino, Provost of the Air University.    
    • Over the last three decades, a number of distinguished visitors have come to Montgomery, mingled with members and guests of ALWAC, given presentations on a variety of topics and answered questions from those in attendance at the ALWAC meetings.  
    • Guest speakers are often invited to a package of presentations at Air War College, and Troy University's public radio station. 
    • The grand finale of each year's program, in May, highlights current issues in several regions of the world. It features a panel of talented professors from the USAF Air War College, reporting on their recent tours abroad during their annual Regional and Cultural Field Studies. 


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. 

Mark Conversino

Dr. Grant Hammond, Past President

Dr. Grant Hammond is a Research Professor of Strategy and Technology at the USAF Center for Strategy and Technology at Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL.  Dr Hammond holds a BA from Harvard and an MA and PhD from the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University.  The former Provost of the Air University, he has served as the Executive Officer of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard, Chair of the Department of International Studies at Rhodes College, Professor of Strategy and International Relations at the Air War College, and Dean of the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy.  He is the author of three books, scores of book chapters, articles and numerous studies for the USAF and DOD.  Dr. Hammond has travelled to more than 75 countries, lectured to all the US armed services Command and Staff Colleges and War Colleges and to military and civilian audiences in 13 countries.  He is the co-founder and past President of the Memphis World Affairs Council. 

Grant Hammond

Dr. Jeremy Lewis, Consultant, Past Vice President

Jeremy Lewis earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree (on Open Scholarship) from Oxford University in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, then a Master's and a doctorate (on Fellowship) from the Johns Hopkins University in American Government and International Relations. Since then he has taught at Wellesley College, Colby College, the City University of New York, the University of Northern Iowa, and for two decades at Huntingdon College. He has received a national award for exemplary teaching. 

He also chairs a global research committee on administrative culture of the International Political Science Association (2016-2021, 2021-23), and is Vice President of the American Society of Access Professionals (2022-24). His many conference presentations, his articles and chapters, have covered public policy in the US and UK; bureaucratic reforms and reinvention; official information control and the global transparency movement; and digital era governance. He has been invited to give keynote speeches in Washington DC; Anchorage, Alaska; Bratislava, Slovakia; and St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. 

Since 2000 he has published notes of ALWAC speeches on Political-Science.org and AWAC.US, and has maintained our communications via our Facebook page and ALWAC.org. He is an occasional analyst of politics on television, notably on NBC nightly news and CTV News Canada. Although he moved in 2020 to northern Virginia, he continues to serve ALWAC as a consultant, hosting Zoom conferences in addition to the websites. 

Board of Trustees

Dick Amberg
Don Armstrong
Bowen Ballard
Ed Bridges
Thornton Clark
Charles Cleveland
Mark Conversino
Eddie Crowell
G. Doug Davis
Richard Gill
Walter Givhan
Lawrence Grinter
Bob Henry
Mike Jenkins
Sam Johnson
Mike Luckett
Dan Morris
Jim Nathan
John Panettiere
Steve Schloss
Will Sellers
Tom Vocino
Alex Whaley

Recent past members
Jeremy Lewis (consulting, 2020-)
Grant Hammond
Joan Loeb
Elizabeth Mazyck
Nan Rosa


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Site managed by Jeremy Lewis, for ALWAC | Venue and support provided by

Troy University, Troy, Alabama 36082 | www.troy.edu | 1-800-414-5756

The Alabama World Affairs Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Tax ID #63-0957378

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