The public affairs groups Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall Los Angeles announced Tuesday they will merge to create a single organization dedicated to fostering debate and public discussions on local, national and global affairs.

The renamed Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall plans to expand its nonpartisan programming for its members and the residents of the region.

“The new partnership is about keeping the spirit of public discussion alive for another (combined) 150 years,” said Kim McCleary Blue, the organization’s incoming president and CEO. “We want to dive deeper, hear questions, explore answers and rise to the challenge of current events.”

The creation of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall will expand the coverage of issues for members and is a recommitment to lively, topical forums designed for public attendance and participation, officials said.

“Everything we have learned tells us that’s what our new organization should do: sit across from one another and discover how to best shape our public and foreign policy,” McCleary Blue said.

Throughout their tenures, both organizations have welcomed political leaders, business leaders and influential thinkers. Town Hall Los Angeles was founded in 1937 by Los Angeles business leaders to host forums on important issues that directly affect Los Angeles and California.

Founded in 1953, The Los Angeles World Affairs Council has hosted heads of state while leading discussions on global affairs and sending delegations of members to Cuba, Israel, North Korea and other countries.

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