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Women hope to revive foreign policy study group in Waynesboro

September 15, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - If enough interest is generated among area residents, experts in the field of foreign policy once again will come to Waynesboro to speak on topics that affect the nation's role in international affairs.

Such a group flourished in the area from its founding in 1981 through the 1980s and 1990s, until it petered out at the beginning of the new century.

"It fell apart in 2000," Mary Steel of Fayetteville, Pa., said of the Cumberland Valley Foreign Policy Study Group.

Steel, 75, joined in 1995.

The nonpartisan, nonpolitical group likes to hold its membership to a comfortable level, Steel said.

"This kind of group works best with around 30 members," she said.

The group recruits speakers "who can bring up ideas to challenge the members' intellect," she said.

Past speakers included ambassadors from more than a dozen countries, the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, academicians, John McLaughlin of television's "The McLaughlin Group" and Adm. Bobby Inman, Steel said.

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Their topics ranged from national security, economic policies and treaties, emerging economic powers and the United Nations Peacekeeping role, to the effect of globalization on rural America. Steel and Lynn Y. MacBride, 57, and Mary Jane Weagly, both of Waynesboro, are trying to reorganize the study group by sending letters to former members and to "people we know," MacBride said.

MacBride's father, Thomas J. MacBride, founded the group 24 years ago.

"We're not going to enlist the help of any of the original founders," Steel said.

"They did their part early on," Lynn MacBride said.

"We're trying to find out if there is enough interest to start up again," Steel said.

The letter, signed by Steel, MacBride and Weagly, explains the study group's purpose and its commitment to the belief that an "enlightened citizenry is the best guarantee of a sound foreign policy..."

The letter includes a return postcard so the women can determine if there is enough interest to reorganize.

If so, the members would meet for Sunday brunch at 12:30 p.m. at the Waynesboro Country Club for five programs in March, April, May, October and November. The first program is scheduled for Nov. 20, Steel said. The topic will be the effect of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany.

The programs will be in one of the club's private dining rooms.

Membership dues are $50 a year to cover the speakers' costs, plus about $16 for brunch.

Call Steel at 717-352-3328 or MacBride at 717-762-1837 for more information.

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