About Shared World Tours

Our Story

There is nothing like seeing and experiencing things for yourself when trying to understand a particular field or answer a particular question. Father and son team, Michael and Ben Marcus know this first hand in their own respective ways through both international and domestic travel - Michael from a background in grant making and higher education, and Ben in community organizing and nonprofit consulting.

Since 2018, we have provided high-quality, engaging learning tours for social science professionals and students to dig deeper into their work and have meaningful cross cultural exchanges.



Michael Marcus, President


Michael spent decades in foundations funding groundbreaking and impactful work in the fields of aging and basic human needs. In consulting work, Michael works with a wide array of clients including Alzheimer’s Disease International, American Institutes for Research, Benefits Data Trust, and Strategic Philanthropy, to name a few. More information on that work can be found at www.ccr.guru.

He is a faculty member at the Asset Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University, and facilitates asset mapping, strategic planning, and training programs on community development, including issues related to aging in community. Michael is a graduate of George Washington University, and the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Ben Marcus, Vice-President


Ben Marcus has spent his career helping communities come together across lines of difference to realize potential and appreciate their inherent gifts. As a two term national service alum with AmeriCorps programs and a nonprofit consultant he understands just how much can be accomplished when we all work together. Ben worked on political campaigns, focused on field strategy and volunteer recruitment, has led Asset Based Community Development trainings across the country. and is a community advocate and frequent volunteer.

He holds a Master of Public Policy from Jacksonville University where he previously received a bachelors in social science. Ben lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and three children.

Ira Kerem, Country Director - Israel

Ira, originally from Washington, DC, has lived in Jerusalem for the last 40 years. He earned an MSW in Community Organization from Yeshiva University in 1981 and has worked for more than 40 years in the non-profit world.

He has worked for the Hand in Hand network of Jewish Arab schools and has represented the Washinton, Cleveland, Seattle, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, and 30 other Jewish Federations in Israel. He continues to represent the Houston Federation in Israel as well as leading an active life Israeli dancing and hosting and guiding hundreds of guests from Couchsurfing and Airbnb.

Willie Walsh, Country Director - Ireland

Willie Walsh lives in Mayo on the West Coast. He is chair of the Inclusive Living  

Network, director of Clan Beo and former board member of the Mayo Centre for Independent Living. As the country link for the 2021 Shared World Tours trip to Ireland he used the depth of connection in progressive locally based community contacts to create a memorable local and academic program.



Center for Healthy Aging
Dr. Larry Weiss - President

Erickson School of Aging Studies