International Visitor Leadership Program

Graduate School USA | International Visitor Leadership Program

International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

The IVLP is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this flagship professional exchange program, launched in 1940, brings yearly about 5,000 current and emerging foreign leaders to the United States to meet with their counterparts and exchange best practices in their field of expertise. The program seeks to strengthen U.S. engagement with countries around the world and cultivate lasting relationships by helping current and future leaders share knowledge, grow professionally, improve their institutions, and enhance mutual understanding throughout the U.S. and abroad. More than 200,000 international visitors have engaged with Americans through IVLP, including 500 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government. GSUSA’s International Institute is one of eight organizations in Washington, D.C. that administer this program on behalf of the U.S. State Department.

The traditional three-week long, in-person IVLP project includes visits to three to five diverse U.S. communities where participants meet local professional resources and interact with the average Americans through hospitality events and informal networking. The virtual programming format, necessitated by the travel restrictions during the COVD-19 Pandemic, has preserved the geographic diversity of the meetings and tries to replicate the informal experiences. The professional focus of projects spans a myriad of topics including accountable governance, sustainability and renewable resources, interfaith dialogue, community policing, law and order, youth and women empowerment, grassroots democracy, cyber-security, disability rights, education, global business, economics and entrepreneurship, and countless others.

In collaboration with U.S. State Department’s Office of International Visitors, the IVLP programming teams design and implement the Washington, DC portion of all projects, including all relevant professional appointments, site visits, classroom training when required, and social/cultural experiences. In collaboration with a network of around 100 community-based organizations around the country, all members of Global Ties U.S., GSUSA arranges the full professional, cultural, and logistics itinerary of the assigned projects.

During the Pandemic

The travel restrictions that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our ability to conduct in-person programming. However, thanks to innovation and networkwide agility, the IVLP was able to pivot to virtual programming almost seamlessly. Graduate School USA’s experience with online instruction and virtual classes came in handy and the IVLP team is proud to have been one of the first organizations to pilot IVLP Virtual. The platform of choice is Zoom but Adobe, WebEx, Microsoft Teams and others are also useful tools that we have utilized depending on preference. Since June 2020, GSUSA has been conducting successful, engaging, and impactful IVLP Virtual projects for new IVLP participants as well as IVLP alumni.


Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, GSUSA had the virtual programming capability but for IVLP purposes it had limited application. Pre-COVID-19, the International Institute has facilitated virtual meetings using Graduate School USA’s Online Learning Department’s in-house studio, mostly in cases when the resources are located in Washington, D.C, and participants are located in another city. The online video conferences were conducted by utilizing Adobe Connect software. The studio is equipped with several microphones to enhance the sound quality and has a Technology Specialist on-site, who oversees the virtual sessions and can provide a highly customizable virtual background. These online meetings were a cost-effective way to facilitate connections and learning from communities that are not included in the participants’ itinerary. We regularly conduct virtual project openings in conjunction with CBM's across the country.

Another valuable feature offered by the studio is the ability to webcast meetings live using Adobe® Connect™ or WebEx® and is used for hosting webinars, recording online learning sessions, video commercials, etc.

Some examples include:

  • We launched a project with 10 participants from the Pacific Islands entitled “Obesity, Nutrition, and Non-Communicable Diseases.” The participants were in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council. The welcome and introduction to the program were conducted via teleconference. The Department of State Program Officer and one of our programming teams joined the group from Washington, DC.
  • We conducted a virtual project opening in conjunction with The World Affairs Council of Seattle for a group of seven English language professors from Venezuela.

U.S. Department of State 

One of the U.S. Department of State’s most important responsibilities is shaping and sustaining peaceful cooperation between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Within the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) aims to fulfill this mission by means of educational and cultural exchanges that increase mutual understanding like the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Global Ties US 

Global Ties US is a partner of both the US Department of State and Graduate School USA’s International Institute. Global Ties US supports the network of National Programming Agencies (NPAs) and the Community Based Members (CBMs) spread across the country with whom we work closely to implement individual IVLP projects.

Global Ties US is responsible for cultivating, connecting, training, and strengthening CBMs through organizing professional development, networking, and knowledge exchange opportunities. Global Ties US is highly connected to the world of international exchanges and an active advocate for increased funding through its involvement with the Alliance for International Exchange. The Alliance is the only collective public policy voice of organizations and companies comprising the educational and cultural exchange community.

D.C.-Based Resources

Other partners include all D.C-based resources that meet with IVLP participants, including agencies of all branches of the federal government, Capitol Region academic institutions, prominent think tanks, private sectors, and nonprofit organizations in the area. 


Nina Bankova

(202) 314-3508

William (Bill) Bobbitt

(202) 314-3582

Akintunde (Tunde) Akinmade

(202) 314-3526

Ting Wang

(202) 314-3507

Nathan Eckman

(202) 314-3524

Alison Grausam

(202) 314-3504

Theresa Hale

(202) 314-3513

DaSean Kornegay

(202) 314-3404

Logan Nesson 

(202) 314-3463

Kimberly Nguyen (202) 314-3528



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