Michael Carson (Kenya) is new head of International Storytelling Center

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WJHL Tri-Cities

The International Storytelling Center Jonesborough TN


Michael Carson (Kenya 1989-91) is a non-profit executive who has devoted his career to social and economic development. His technical assistance and strategic advice has helped transform small businesses, community-led health clinics and schools, and agriculture enterprises in conflict settings and emerging economies. Michael has provided capacity building and organization development advice to organizations as diverse as the government of Guinea’s Ministry of Health, East African youth and women’s cooperative enterprises, the Arusha Municipal Council, the Zanzibar Handicraft Producers Association and Bosnian natural producers associations.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Michael started his international experience when he joined the Peace Corps.

Michael Carson (Kenya 1989-91)

“I joined the Peace Corps in 1989 and went to Kenya and really gained a perspective for African culture, for international cultures,” said Carson. “And I have worked in International Affairs for almost 30 years.”

Carson’s father grew up in Greeneville, Tennessee. This led to pique Carson’s interest in East Tennessee. For him, the change in scenery is exciting.

“I get to meet so many people and interact with the community,” Carson said. “With shopkeepers, with cafe owners, with storytellers, and it’s amazing. It’s a great change.”

Since he is new to both the center and the town, Carson said he has much to learn about the area.

“[I want to] learn as much as I can about Jonesborough,” said Carson, “as much as I can about Tennessee, as much as I can about our founder, Jimmy Smith, and about the legacy he created, and the legacy that the storytellers we’ve been working with for many years have created.”

Overall, Carson said he has high hopes for his future in storytelling.

“I want to listen to the storytellers and enhance their voices and incorporate their voices into society,” Carson said.

The Storytelling Center announced that a meet-and-greet with Carson will be held later in May. Michael will be the International Storytelling Center’s third president.

The International Storytelling Center is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization and the premiere educational, arts, and cultural institution dedicated to enriching lives and building a better world through the power of storytelling.

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