August 1, 2014

 

Who We Are

Since our inception in 1943, the Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations has been the leading international study group in our state. Our committee prides itself on the intellectual content of our meetings, the caliber of our speakers, and the knowledge and diversity of our members. Since our inception, the Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations has been the leading international study group in our state.

As the oldest foreign relations committee in the State of Alabama with a history tracing back to early 1943, the Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations currently has 125 members. We meet monthly from September through May to hear topics of interest on foreign policies and affairs. Our speakers, evaluated in advance to make sure they meet our high expectations for communicating skills, are nationally recognized authorities with extensive experience and expertise. We generally hold our meetings at The Club, with approximately 70-75 people in attendance. We start our meetings at 6:00 and end at 8:30 p.m. Our dues are $150.00 per year and the cost of attending one of our meetings is generally in the range of $35.00 - $40.00. Spouses and guests are always welcome.

Our committee is non-political. We do not take sides or advocate any policy or position as a group. Our members range the full spectrum of political thought from ultra conservative to ultra liberal. Our speakers take the same range. We try to bring excellent speakers with proven experience and credentials who will be able to entice meaningful thought and debate on topics of current international interest. Our question and answer session after the talks last approximately 20-30 minutes. We are noted for keen and insightful questions. Many of us find that we learn more during the Q and A session than during the main topic. We have many knowledgeable and experienced members who have distinguished careers in foreign business, foreign policy, diplomacy law, medicine, government and military service. We are proud of our diversity. Membership in the Birmingham Foreign Relations Committee gives direct access to some of the leading foreign policy thing in our country today.

We are affiliated with the American Committees on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. Many of our members attend the national conference of the American Committee in Washington D.C. held in May of each year. Membership in the Birmingham Committee carries with it automatic membership in the American Committees. Through the American Committees our membership is offered an opportunity for an email service, which provides excellent, timely, well written and in-depth articles, sometimes daily, on current topics of international importance. This added membership benefit began in 2002 and has been a welcome benefit to our membership. A sample of some of these email articles can be found by clicking on the link to the American Committees on Foreign Affairs in the link section of this website.

The purpose of our organization is to expand our knowledge and understanding of foreign affairs, exchange ideas, recognize free speech and enjoy fellowship and conviviality. Apart from the educational component of memberships, many of us have made lasting friends through the committee with people we would not have normally come to know. Many of us believe that “live” presentations, with knowledgeable speakers you can interact with, are more stimulating than reading, watching television, or listening to the news.

Because of the current importance of foreign affairs and foreign policies, our membership is increasing. Our future is very much in front of us. We hope to take an active outreach role in our community and in our state with educational speaker programs. We have good working relationship with all of the Universities in our area, as well as with the major media, civic clubs and Chambers of Commerce. Our speakers generally have a wonderful experience when they visit Birmingham.

- Frank M. Young, III, Chairman

 

 


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