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Diplomacy Begins Here:
Women Who Rock the World Summit
Cleveland Council on World Affairs,
Global Ties U.S.,
U.S. Department of State


Global Ties U.S. and its members, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, are hosting a series of Diplomacy Begins Here Summits across the United States to bring together local, national, and international leaders from the business, government, and nonprofit world.

Diplomacy begins here banner


The Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) celebrated women in leadership in Northeast Ohio through the Diplomacy Begins Here: Women Who Rock the World Summit on Thursday, June 28, at the Drury Plaza Downtown. In partnership with Global Ties U.S. and the U.S. Department of State, CCWA welcomed local leaders in civil society, government, and business, along with leaders in international exchange programming throughout the country, to highlight our region's public diplomacy initiatives and specifically how women have played a key role as Citizen Diplomats.

Highlights of the event included:

  • Morning keynote by Marla Perez-Davis, Deputy Director of NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Panel discussion on Women in Social Enterprise, featuring Shari Hunter (Founder of Two Cafe and Boutique), Brandon Chrostowski (Founder and CEO of EDWINS), and Cindy Earl (Director of Business Development at Aviatra Accelerators)
  • Foreign Policy Briefing over lunch featuring Marta Costanzo Youth, Director, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. Department of State, who explored the U.S. government response to the Venezuelan migration and refugee situation.
  • Evening reception and keynote by Dr. Jody Olsen, Director of the U.S. Peace Corps
  • And, of course, networking and mingling with people who are passionate about international affairs and diplomacy!
The day began with a welcome from Ambassador Heather Hodges, President of CCWA.

Ambassador Heather Hodges

Ambassador Heather Hodges


Ambassador Hodges introduced Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt from the US Department of State.

NOTE: All the images below with a white arrow in the middle are videos. (The other images are just photos) You can click on the white arrow to watch the video of whatever is described. Make sure your speakers are on and you can make the video full screen once it begins by clicking the icon in the lower right corner.



Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt

Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt


Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt from the US Department of State gave her introductory remarks.



The morning keynote was given by Dr. Marla Perez-Davis, Deputy Director of NASA John H. Glenn Research Center. She highlighted some of NASA's work and discussed women in STEM and presented some interesting statistics.



Dr. Marla Perez-Davis

Dr. Marla Perez-Davis



NASA Deputy Director Dr. Marla Perez-Davis keynote


NASA Deputy Director Dr. Marla Perez-Davis keynote


NASA Deputy Director Dr. Marla Perez-Davis keynote


NASA Deputy Director Dr. Marla Perez-Davis keynote


NASA Deputy Director Dr. Marla Perez-Davis keynote


NASA Deputy Director Dr. Marla Perez-Davis keynote


Next, Dr. Evalyn Gates, former CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, moderated a panel title Women in STEM.

Dr. Evalyn Gates

Dr. Evalyn Gates


The panelists were Feowyn MacKinnon, Head of School of MC (squared) STEM High School and Dr. Marla Perez-Davis, Deputy Director, NASA Glenn Research Center.

After an introduction by Dr. Gates, Ms MacKinnon gives her views as seen in this video.



Feowyn MacKinnon

Feowyn MacKinnon


Next, Dr. Perez-Davis shared her thoughts on women in STEM.



Dr. Perez-Davis

Dr. Perez-Davis


Dr. Gates asked the panelists if girls really understand the power of STEM and how it can change the world.



Women in STEM panel

An audience member asked the panel if there are still barriers to steer girls away from STEM.

Question from the audience at Womne in STEM event in Cleveland



Another audience member asked what the US State Department's policy is regarding empowering women and girls and Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt from the US Department of State gave her response.



Here are the closing remarks from the Women in STEM panel.



Dr. Marla Perez-Davis, Feowyn MacKinnon and Dr. Evalyn Gates

Dr. Marla Perez-Davis, Feowyn MacKinnon and Dr. Evalyn Gates

This was just the beginning of a full day of the Diplomacy Begins Here: Women Who Rock the World Summit. Congratulations to the staff, speakers and attendees for this important event.

Dr. Evalyn Gates and Ambassador Heather Hodges

Dr. Evalyn Gates and Ambassador Heather Hodges


Dr. Linda Robertson of Kent State University, Ambassador Heather Hodges, CCWA CEO Maura O'Donnell-McCarthy and Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt

Dr. Linda Robertson of Kent State University, Ambassador Heather Hodges, CCWA CEO Maura O'Donnell-McCarthy and Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt



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