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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Member Spotlight: Carina Van Vliet

Alyssa Giannirakis

Member Spotlight: Carina Van Vliet

Name: Carina Van Vliet

Occupation: CEO, Cleveland Council on World Affairs

Neighborhood where you live: Ohio City

Tell us a bit about yourself (family, hobbies, anything else interesting you’d like to share):

I have a very international background: I was born and raised in France, studied in several countries, and worked for the United Nations. I married an amazing great guy from Cleveland, which is why I’m here! We both love to travel and hope to share that sense of adventure with our son, also a Cleveland native. Of course, right now, all three of us are staying safely at home, and hoping Cleveland rises stronger from this pandemic.

How long have you been a member of the City Club?

I joined the City Club in 2014 when I moved here from New York City.

Tell us about a recent forum that you enjoyed:

I really enjoyed the recent virtual forum on defunding the police. I thought the speaker, Professor Cristy Lopez from Georgetown Law, brought an amazing set of experiences to the table in explaining how we could improve policing in America. Her expertise and passion for this sensitive issue were remarkable and it gave me different ways of thinking about the police and its role in society. I learn something from every forum I attend; that’s why I enjoy them so much. And my most amazing City Club event was the April 2015 address by President Obama. I was able to serve as a City Club volunteer, and that was memorable!

Why you are a member of the City Club?

I value the unique opportunity we have in Cleveland to engage in an actual dialogue about the issues that actually matter to us as citizens, whether local, state or national. There is no such forum for citizen dialogue in New York City, and I felt less engaged and less informed as a citizen when I was a New Yorker. As a City Club member, I am presented with information and opinions by top experts in their fields on an extremely well curated, relevant and thoughtful set of topics, and I am given the chance to learn, think through those issues and ask my questions. Being a City Club member is what I value most in being a citizen of Cleveland. Our City is very lucky to have this place of civic dialogue. And it matters now more than ever, because our challenges are larger than ever.

What’s one of your favorite ‘hidden gems’ in Greater Cleveland? (Restaurant, park, attraction, museum, etc.)

Edgewater Park. Cleveland is actually a beach town! When you have a four-year old boy who can play for hours in the sand while you sneak in some summer reading, this is more than a “hidden gem,” it’s a hot commodity!

What tip would you share with someone who is attending their first forum at the City Club?

The two things you should do to get the full “City Club experience” are to sit down next to someone you do not yet know and to ask a question. I really miss the City Club community during COVID-19. I miss the rituals of the formal introductions. I miss running into people I know and seeing other regular members. I also miss having my Friday lunch being prepared by a chef (and not a hastily assembled sandwich). That being said, I have noticed that I now ask slightly more questions through text because there is less pressure than when I have to speak into the microphone!

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