Letter from the President & CEO

October 27, 2020

By: Patrick M. Terrien

Three months ago in my Reflections on Race, I promised to move forward the work of antiracism and to update you on the journey.   I committed that we would “learn, reflect, and act.”  Here’s where we are now.
LEARN: For each member of our team, learning about the complex and enormous issue of racial inequity took an individual route.  Some of us took to reading, others to listening, and all to discussions. Samples of resources we engaged: YWCA’s 21 Day Racial Equity ChallengeSeeing White Podcast, Harvard’s Project Implicit, the documentary 13th1619 Podcast, the book So You Want to Talk About Race, and many others.  We benefited from our partners and colleagues in the community like The Licking County Foundation which provided us compelling training from the Racial Equity Institute.  And the Columbus Metropolitan Club that delivered “Achieving Racial Equity in your Nonprofit”.  And the Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity webinar series. 
REFLECT:  Over several meetings, a group of Board and staff explored how the Columbus Council on World Affairs could uniquely contribute.  We committed to striking a balance between the urgency for change and the imperative for thoughtfulness, intentionality, and authenticity.  We recognize that that our mission positions us well to contribute to the work of racial justice.  Foundational to the Council’s educational work is the belief that a better world for all begins with a better understanding of the people and issues within it.  While the foundation is there, cross-cultural education does not always neatly map to racial equity and antiracism.  We acknowledge that we are not experts in this field and each of us is coming from a different starting point. Our work will include collaboration with outside experts and partners while integrating honest dialogue to build alignment and shared goals with our Board and staff.  Finally, we know this requires ongoing engagement and must include all of us in the organization, from the top down – not just those inclined to this work.  Our commitment to sustaining this learning cycle and bringing others along the journey will truly move us forward. 


ACT:  Our first steps in taking action are the learning and reflecting that we’ve begun.  These components will continue to drive our work, but our team is eager to broaden this to concrete and measurable actions. Some of these include:

  • Drafting a “Guiding Framework” to document our shared vision for the work and describe our approach. This is complete.
  • Increasing representation of Black professionals on our Board and staff, among our program volunteers and speakers, as well as our vendors and business partners.
  • Developing and delivering curriculum for Global Scholars Diploma that highlights racism as a global issue, and for Global Fluency Training that articulates the role implicit bias plays in cultural competence.


Our work toward these goals is underway and we look forward to updating you on our progress in our next quarterly update.

Most importantly for all of us, we must be open.  Open to learn. Open to change.  Open to grow.  Open to evolve.  Open to engage.  Without this, we will not thrive.  Not as a community, not as a nation, not as a world.



Patrick M. Terrien

President & CEO