Our Foundation

Our Story

In a proposal to the U.S. Citizens for Diplomacy conference Michael Hayes presented a plan to increase student engagement in global affairs. He shared his opinion that “economic growth does not only stem from public-private partnerships and international trade agreements, but that it can be augmented by increased educational opportunities.” Utilizing this blueprint he founded the Cornelius Travelers Foundation (CTF).

Named after his great grandfather, Cornelius, the Foundation was initially a scholarship idea to incentivize African Americans to travel.

Our team has since created a foundation, which offers one annual scholarship and two travel programs focused on cultivating relationships and encouraging connectivity throughout the African Diaspora and beyond. To date, our collective experience involves sending over 70 students to engage communities overseas.

Our organization will continue to serve as a bridge to connect the next generation of leaders and amplify their voice.

Our Mission

The mission of the CTF is to train aspiring leaders to effectively lead and support companies and organizations with a global focus.  Our organization aims to create a pipeline of young professionals who are dedicated to strengthening economic, security, and cultural ties between the U.S. and abroad.

Learn About CTF in 2 Minutes

Words From Our Founder

Our Team

Currently serves at Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India

Michael’s first international trip was to San Jose, Costa Rica. There, he saw first-hand the breadth of the African Diaspora and immediately recognized the need for more African Americans to travel and understand their contributions to the world. During college he traveled to 22 countries. These experiences cemented his belief in global citizenship and ultimately birthed his career in Foreign Service.

Before joining the State Department, Michael worked for management consultant firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Michael holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and a Masters of Public Policy from SciencesPo in Paris, France. He completed his Bachelors in Communication from Clark Atlanta University.

Michael is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the Mellon Research Fellowship, Oxford University’s OSAP Fellowship, Princeton University’s Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship, American University’s Washington Semester Fellowship, Humanity in Action Fellow, and the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship.

Currently serves as Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia

Calvin is a published author and founder of Define the Moment Enterprises. His book “Chasing the Artificial Rainbow”, offers a platform for student success by promoting education, economic empowerment, and cultural awareness. Calvin is a big believer in the “five wells of leadership” -“well read, well-traveled, well-dressed, well-balanced and well-spoken” and encourages all those he comes in contact with to serve God, live truthfully and to define every moment.

Previously he served as a Public Diplomacy officer at the US Embassy in Bangladesh. In this position, he funded more than 30 tech startups, and helped to facilitate academic and cultural exchange between the United States and Bangladesh. In addition, he worked in the Orlando Mayor’s office, the Florida representatives, and the U.S. Congress.

Calvin graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Political Science from Florida A&M University. He holds a master’s degree in International Communication from American University and was recently named the National Oratorical Champion for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Calvin has traveled to nearly 40 countries around the globe and speaks both Spanish and Bengali.

Currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies pursuing a Master of Arts in international economics and development

Phelisha’s passion for development was solidified on January 5th, 2010, the day of the Earthquake in Haiti. As a student at Howard University, she organized her colleagues to volunteer for a donation drive at the Haitian embassy and assisted in organizing a relief concert on campus that raised over $40,000 for Haitian NGOs. The following year, Phelisha was selected to volunteer on a humanitarian project in Haiti. While there she worked with teachers to improve their educational curriculum and co-lead leadership workshops for 25 young entrepreneurs. In 2012, she also designed the consecutive humanitarian project to Haiti and has worked with micro-finance programs to support women owned businesses.

Previously she traveled to West Africa as project coordinator for a population-based survey sponsored by USAID and worked as management officer for multiple Power Africa projects. In addition, she has interned in the economic section of the United States Embassy in Paris. Phelisha obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Howard University. She speaks French and Haitian Creole.

Currently a Professional Staff Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she serves as the principal adviser to the Ranking Member on matters relating to sub-Saharan Africa

She was previously a Research Fellow at the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University, where she directed the only open source strategic-to-tactical level analysis of the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership. Following that assignment, she deployed to Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa in Djibouti to conduct mission analysis for the draft CJTF-HOA Campaign Plan and map the Joint, Interagency, International, and Multinational (JIIM) engagement in the region.

Ms. Warner holds a M.A. in Security Studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a B.A. in International Relations from Carleton College, where she was awarded the Boren National Security Education Program Scholarship and a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She is currently a PhD candidate in War Studies at King’s College London, where her dissertation focuses on the process of integrating armed groups into statutory security frameworks during war-to-peace transitions.