Warm Wishes and Thank You Michelle 

Through people-to-people exchanges, the Global Ties Network is humanizing the world and building the relationships and networks that are the foundation for international diplomacy and cooperation. Driving this work are exemplary leaders like Michelle Wilson, Executive Director of Global Ties Akron, who has spent decades tirelessly championing international exchange programs, citizen diplomacy, and the power of people to make an impact. Michelle retires this year after more than three decades of service-leadership in her community, our network, and the scores of international exchange alumni she has hosted.  

Michelle joined Global Ties Akron in 1989 and helped transform the organization to become a national leader in international exchange, not only through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), but also through cultural exchanges, youth exchanges, collaborations with exchange alumni, and so many other globally-focused initiatives and programs. She has served Global Ties Akron as a volunteer, board member, and program officer and as its executive director for the past 23 years.  

A passionate citizen diplomat, Michelle has welcomed thousands of international visitors to Akron and helped create lifetime connections that have inspired new collaborations. This includes building upon a formal city-to-city MOU between Akron, Ohio and Accra, Ghana, which is cultivating entrepreneurial resources and connections between the two cities; and a sports-for-development partnership with IVLP Gold Star Alumni Mohammed Amine Zariat, founder and president of TIBU Morocco, which is providing opportunities for youth and young leaders in both communities through sport.  

For her outstanding service, Michelle was awarded the Global Ties Network Lifetime Achievement Award at the Global Ties U.S. 2024 National Meeting. Michelle will be missed for her leadership, dedication, and passion for international exchange. Below, the Global Ties Network sends warm wishes and congratulations to Michelle on her retirement. 

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