CIU Says Farewell to Our Program Director Melissa

DSC_0676With heavy hearts we say good-bye to Program Director Melissa Edwards Smith. After 12 years of dedication to CIU and international relationships, she is moving on to tackle her next adventure with NC State University’s Global Training Initiative. While we are sad to see her go, we are thrilled to see Melissa continue to contribute to North Carolina’s global community in new and exciting ways!

“Melissa has introduced hundreds of North Carolinians to Mexico and helped us more deeply understand the push-pull of immigration,” said CIU Board Chair Pell Tanner. “Her professionalism and care have helped facilitate international exchanges at all levels with lasting impact for our state. We thank her for building a network of global leaders across North Carolina and wish her the very best in her new endeavors.”

Although it only begins to scratch the surface, here is a look back at Melissa’s impact on the CIU community.

Over the past 12 years, Melissa has made her mark with CIU leading 4 Global Leaders programs and 15 groups to Mexico with the Latino Initiative. She has made possible transformative international experiences for hundreds of participants who have gone on to make North Carolina a more global state.

  • first lady of MexicoThrough the Latino Initiative program, Melissa was able to work side by side with community leaders across the state as they identified and worked to address multiple challenges that come with demographic change.
  • Through the Global Leaders program, Melissa exposed our participants to economic development in Mexico; clean energy practices in Germany, Belgium and France; biotechnology in China; and the entrepreneurial spirit of India.
  • Immigration Matters was the culmination of 15 years of work to understand immigration issues for North Carolina’s residents, businesses and more. Through this forum, leaders came together to share lessons learned and elevate the conversation to focus on the economic and social contributions that immigrants are making in communities across North Carolina every day.

DSC_0655Melissa says she is most proud of the relationships and connections that have been made over the years and the successes that were spurred because of the Latino Initiative and Global Leaders programs, as well as the Immigration Matters forum.

While Melissa moves on to her next journey, our work to understand immigration, and engage community and policy leaders will continue. Meredith Henderson and Lorena Patterson are excited to carry on CIU’s many programs having a positive global impact across our state.


Want to share a memory or leave a message for Melissa? Leave it in the comments section!

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