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The Cleveland Council on World Affairs is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1923 to promote world peace. Today, we deliver a range of programs that focus on international affairs education and global awareness.  


For more than 80 years, the Cleveland Council on World Affairs has been the premiere organization in Northeast Ohio providing understanding about and engagement in international relations and global issues.

Its founding stems from an organization created in 1923 by a group of women interested in promoting international peace and within two years merged with a men's international study group. Together they took on a broader role in keeping citizens of Greater Cleveland informed about major international relations under the strong board leadership of Newton D. Baker, former mayor of the City of Cleveland, founder of the law firm of Baker Hostetler, and Secretary of War under Woodrow Wilson. Over the years it has responded to changing conditions on the global scene by expanding its mission to encompass new programs and projects.

During the inspired 10-year staff leadership of Brooks Emeny, beginning in the mid 1930's during an isolationist period in this country, the Council greatly expanded its public programs and forums and provided education classes in collaboration with Cleveland College, then the downtown continuing education arm of Western Reserve University. Following World War II, the Council fostered the recovery of Western Europe through sponsorship in collaboration with Time magazine of a national conference in Cleveland.

CCWA has operated school programs since at least 1945 when it held its first Model United Nations conference for high school students and has done so annually since then, making it the oldest MUN in the country. It has programmed visits to Cleveland for international visitors since 1948 when Congress first authorized a State Department program designed to expose emerging leaders from countries around the world to Washington, D.C. and two or three other American cities.

More recently, the Council absorbed the Cleveland International Program, founded locally in 1956 for international exchanges.  CIP was originally designed to enable social workers and health care providers to spend a year mentoring with their professional counterparts in Cleveland.

In the past few years the number of international visitors coming to Cleveland through the Council has risen dramatically, up from 71 to over 400 at the peak.