Our mission is to inspire engagement in international affairs and world cultures through education, citizen diplomacy and public dialogue.

Developing global competence and awareness of world affairs is critically important as Northeast Ohio is increasingly connected to the rest of the world and impacted by global issues. Our goal is to increase international awareness and engagement in our community for the long-term benefit of Northeast Ohio. At this moment in time, it is vital that American citizens be well-informed about global issues – whether geopolitics, climate change, or global pandemics – and make informed choices for the future of our country, and its global leadership.


The Cleveland Council on World Affairs is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1923 to promote world peace. World peace remains at the heart of our aspirations. Today, we deliver a range of programs that promote international affairs education and build global understanding.



Our founding stems from an organization created in 1923 by a group of women interested in promoting international peace which 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 CCWA has responded to changes in the global community and society by expanding our 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 sponsoring a national conference in Cleveland in collaboration with Time Magazine.


CCWA has operated school programs since at least 1945 when CCWA held its first Model United Nations conference for high school students and has done so annually since then, making it one of the oldest Model UN program in the country.


CCWA has programmed visits to Cleveland for international visitors since 1948 when Congress first authorized a State Department program designed to build ties with emerging leaders from countries around the world.


In 2006, 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 learning from their professional counterparts in Cleveland.


In 2019, the Council expanded its programs by establishing the Maura O’Donnell-McCarthy Center for Global Understanding. This center offers two education initiatives, Bridges to the World professional development program for educators and Global Competency Training program. Both programs serve to cultivate a region of globally-minded citizens and to promote greater global understanding.

Cleveland Council on World Affairs Portal
If you're a member, enter your login information and password below to access your account.