Cleveland and the World: Civic Forum Summary


To celebrate its centennial and demonstrate its gratitude to the community that has supported it for the past 100 years, the Cleveland Council on World Affairs convened a civic forum on June 8, 2023, to discuss why global engagement matters for the greater Cleveland area.

Sector leaders in four areas - Arts and Culture; Business and Infrastructure Assets; Wellbeing and Environment; and Human Capital โ€“ led community conversations to gauge views on the value, present level, and future potential of international engagement for greater Cleveland. The result was a sustained dialogue, with speakers and participants alike sharing personal experiences of international engagement, as well as recommendations for how to further Clevelandโ€™s global connectivity.

Those conversations have been summarized and captured in this document: Cleveland and the World: Civic Forum Summary

Opening remarks were made by Mayor Justin Bibb and closing remarks by County Executive Chris Ronayne. Civic sector leaders included:

Arts & Culture: Marcie Goodman, Executive Director, Cleveland International Film Festival; William Griswold, Director and President, Cleveland Museum of Art; Jeremy Johnson, President and CEO, Assembly for the Arts; Tony F. Sias, President and CEO, Karamu House; Sarah Spinner Liska, Managing Director, FRONT International;ย and Jill Paulsen, Executive Director, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, as moderator.

Business & Infrastructure Assets: Joe Cimperman, President, Global Cleveland; William Friedman, President and CEO, Port of Cleveland; Dennis Kramer, Airport Director, Hopkins International Airport; Mindy McLaughlin, Managing Director, Global Business Development, Team NEO; Baiju Shah, President and CEO, Greater Cleveland Partnership;ย and Bethia Burke, President, Fund for Our Economic Future, as moderator.

Human Capital: Ashley Basile Oeken, President, Engage! Cleveland; Dr. Michael Baston, President, Cuyahoga Community College; Eric Gordon, CEO, Cleveland Metropolitan School District; Anelize Nader, Deputy Director, Refugee Response;ย and Victor Ruiz, Executive Director, Esperanza, as moderator.

Wellbeing & Environment: Rich Cochran, President and CEO, Western Reserve Land Conservancy; Dr. James Misak, Medical Director, MetroHealth Institute for H.O.P.E.; Joyce Pan Huang, Director of Planning, City of Cleveland; Brian Zimmerman, CEO, Cleveland Metroparks;ย and Grant Goodrich, Executive Director, Great Lakes Energy Institute, CWRU, as moderator.



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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?