CCWA Welcomes New Board Member Ronn Richard

Ronn Richard

The Cleveland Council on World Affairs Welcomes New Board Member Ronn Richard

The Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) is delighted to welcome Ronn Richard, former President and CEO of The Cleveland Foundation, to its Board of Directors. He will assume his position on November 1, 2023.

We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Ronn Richard to our CCWA family. It is an exciting time to be a part of this organization as we finalize our 2023 centennial celebration. Collectively, with the Board and staff team, we are about to embark on our second century of inspiring engagement in world affairs and advancing international understanding. In this regard, Ronn Richard’s international background and deep understanding of nonprofit work in Cleveland will add tremendous value to our organization,” says Carina Van Vliet, CCWA’s Chief Executive Officer.

Ronn Richard was at the helm of The Cleveland Foundation since July 1, 2003, concluding his tenure as the second-longest serving head of the foundation. Prior to heading up the foundation, Ronn Richard was managing director of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital fund, after 13 years at Panasonic in key management positions. From 1983 to 1988, Ronn Richard was a career U.S. Foreign Service officer, serving at the American Consulate General in Osaka/Kobe, Japan, and as a desk officer for North Korean, Greek and Turkish affairs, respectively, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. He was also a Pearson Program fellow in San Francisco, where he researched and reported on U.S.-East Asian and U.S.-Latin American trade, investment flows and technology transfers. He began his career as director of the national public affairs program service at the nonprofit Japan Society in New York City.

Ronn Richard is married to Bess Rodriguez, an artist and former U.S. diplomat, and has two children, Susanna and Nicholas. Nicholas is now in the Foreign Service and currently in Bosnian language training, following in his parents’ footsteps in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps.

Ronn Richard had an incredible Foreign Service and CIA career. He is deeply knowldgeable about world affairs and, more importantly, about how these global trends are affecting us here in Cleveland, Ohio. This global perspective at the service of local community impact is very much at the heart of CCWA’s plans for the future. We feel lucky to have him joining our Board,” Carina Van Vliet added.

The mission of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs is to inspire engagement in international affairs and world cultures through education, citizen diplomacy, and public dialogue. CCWA’s programs include speaker forums, student programs, professional development programs, and international exchanges. For more information, visit

CCWA’s Board of Directors 2023-2024:

Harlin Adelman

Raj Aggarwal, Ph.D.

Christopher Blake

Heather Burnett

Elizabeth A. Molloy de Coluby

Howard B. Edelstein

Hiroyuki Fujita, Ph.D.

Michael Gleason

Su He

Sanjiv K. Kapur

Wael Khoury, M.D.

Michael Knall

Kathryn Lavelle, Ph.D

Rebecca Kopp Levine

Mindy McLaughlin

Michael Obi

Colleen A. Petras

Stephen J. Petras, Jr.

Richard W. Pogue

Elena Ray

Michael Salkind, Ph.D

Martin C. Schulz

Fareed Siddiq

Donald A. Sinko

Carter E.  Strang

Monica Verma

Paul Winkeler

Mark Zannoni

Nizar Zein, M.D.

Honorary Directors

Amb. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley

Amb. Jennifer L. Brush

Amb. Edward F. Crawford

Amb. Charles F. Dunbar

Amb. John D. Ong

Amb. William R. Timken, Jr.


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