CCWA Welcomes Jacob Connell to the Team


The Cleveland Council on World Affairs Welcomes Jacob Connell to the Team

The Cleveland Council on World Affairs is pleased to welcome a new colleague to our team. Jacob Connell joins the team as CCWA’s new Manager of Speaker Programs. “We are excited to welcome Jacob to the CCWA family. His energy, experiences, and commitment to global awareness will help strengthen our mission and programs,” says Carina Van Vliet, CCWA’s Chief Executive Officer.

As Manager of Speaker Programs, Jacob oversees the organization’s speaker forums, including the Foreign Policy Forum series and our membership-based Cleveland Committee on Foreign Relations program. In this capacity, Jacob will also help grow CCWA’s outreach and audience base. Jacob graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in International Affairs and a minor in History. Prior to joining CCWA, Jacob served as an AmeriCorps member in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District advising high school students as they prepare for a post-secondary education. A proud Cleveland native, Jacob strives to think globally and act locally.

Meet Jacob Connell, CCWA’s new Manager of Speaker Programs:

CCWA’s mission is to inspire engagement in international affairs and world cultures through education, citizen diplomacy, and public dialogue. What does that mean to you?

For me, CCWA’s mission centers on people. Education, citizen diplomacy, and public dialogue all serve to inspire and connect people. Even though global issues appear to be well beyond the scope of any one individual, it is important to remember that problems do not arise of their own accord. They are symptoms of choices made by people. In the same way, solutions do not appear magically but are developed and implemented by people. That is why CCWA focuses on building a community of internationally engaged citizens.

Why is it important to engage the Northeast Ohio community in world affairs?

Northeast Ohio is full of brilliant individuals and groups, many of whom have international backgrounds. It is a region that has so much to offer the world economically and culturally, but that is only half of the story. The world also impacts Cleveland. We do not live in a bubble. Events halfway across the world impact the lives of Clevelanders in ways that may not be readily apparent. It is important to engage with world affairs to better grasp how Cleveland can change the world, and how the world can change Cleveland.

Why are you excited to join CCWA?

I am excited to join CCWA in large part due to the amazing team here. Everyone is clearly passionate about their work and invested in the community. It is an environment of collaboration and support. I am proud to surround myself with such a diverse, kind, and smart team.

What sparked YOUR passion for international affairs?

My passion for international affairs was sparked by a trip to China in the summer after my freshman year of high school. I traveled with a small group of my classmates and after a few days sightseeing in Beijing, we each went to live with a host family for 10 days. I remember noting in my little travel journal that a sense of normalcy still existed despite how foreign everything around me was. The language was different, the streets more crowded, and the food a bit odd. However, there was still the student counting down the minutes until recess and the parent heating up leftovers after a long day at work. I think about this memory often when reading about the cultural, economic, and geographic differences between nations.

What do you most look forward to at CCWA?

I am greatly looking forward to the Centennial Global Impact Award event on October 19th. The U.S. Diplomatic Corps is a truly worthy recipient of the Centennial Recognition Award, and I am excited to celebrate the history of CCWA as the organization enters a second century of engaging the Cleveland community in world affairs.

Please join us in giving our new colleague a warm welcome to the CCWA family. You may reach Jacob at


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For a century, the CCWA has brought diverse perspectives on issues of international import to Cleveland. Much of our programming is made possible by the the support of our members and the generosity of our donors. Will you help us continue to create global connections?