World Affairs Documents Have Ties To College of the Mainland

Posted on: February 09, 2011


A collection of documents relating to the Gulf Coast Council on Foreign Affairs, Gulf Coast World Affairs Council and Houston World Affairs Council have been acquired by the Houston History Archives, a part of University of Houston’s Center for Public History.   The collection is from the private collection of Robert Handy, the first Board Chairman of the Gulf Coast Council on Foreign Affairs at College of the Mainland in Texas City, which today is the Houston World Affairs Council.
The Gulf Coast Council on Foreign Affairs was founded in 1976 at College of the Mainland’s annual eight-week Great Decisions foreign policy study-discussion program. Fourteen individuals founded the program to bring speakers on a variety of international topics to the area on a regular basis.
In 1976 Handy was the Director of Adult Continuing Education and Community Services. His department offered the Great Decisions program. Handy soon became Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Council on Foreign Affairs as part of his college responsibilities. He served as Executive Director and as the College’s Director of International Education for the next eight years.
Handy praises College of the Mainland for being as progressive an institution as it was in the 1970s. “It embraced the idea that citizen education in world affairs was important long before other community college,” he said. He added that to his knowledge it was one of but two community colleges in the nation at the time to have an active international education program.
The documents will be catalogued and described before being opened to qualified researchers, says Teresa Tomkins-Walsh, Director of the Houston History Archives. 

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