Meet the Modern Leaders Who Are Empowering Women Around the World

International Women’s Day, celebrated globally on March 8, is an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and efforts to support them.

At World Learning Inc. — which includes World Learning, The Experiment in International Living, and School for International Training (SIT) — we work with emerging leaders around the world, equipping them with the skills and support to drive change in their communities and beyond. For example:

  • World Learning’s diverse portfolio of global development and exchange programs strengthens leadership, intercultural understanding, and civic engagement among young people and adults; strengthens education systems; trains people in 21st-century skills, and more.
  • The Experiment in International Living offers immersive study abroad experiences that give high school students a chance to explore the world while broadening their worldview and developing soft skills that will help them succeed in college and their careers.
  • School for International Training prepares students to be interculturally effective global citizens through field-based academic study abroad programs for undergraduates and accredited master’s degrees and certificates for graduates and professionals.

Today, we’re shining a light on how nine of our more than 125,000 alumni are working to empower women and make the world a more inclusive and just place.

World Learning alumni return to their communities and, using their new skills, networks, and small grant funding, become changemakers.

Nacira Amari

Nacira Amari has dedicated her career — which has taken her from mathematics professor to politician and director of an education institution — to creating new opportunities for women in Algeria. Amari joined the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship program, which provides academic and hands-on training to civil society leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa. There, she built her network and gained practical skills by working at the Arab Institute for Woman at Lebanese American University.

Those new skills have helped her make a difference. In 2017, Amari was elected to the Saida city council, where she has worked to increase women’s representation in government and to open schools that provide women with job skills training. She continues to urge other women to lead in their communities, too. “Women are [stronger] by developing themselves and then changing their society,” she says. “Victory is the ally of women who give others a better life.”

Allie Dyer

Former Fulbright U.S. student to Ghana Allie Dyer — along with other black, indigenous and leaders of color— noticed that health education was failing young women of color in their community of Portland, Oregon. They set out to change that. In 2017, Dyer earned a small grant to co-launch the program Brown Girl Rise. She did so after participating in the New Frontiers of Global Public Health seminar organized by U.S. Alumni Ties, which brings together alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to learn about critical issues and collaborate with fellow alumni.

Brown Girl Rise leads health education and radical empowerment workshops rooted in community and culture for young girls and women in Portland. They discuss sisterhood and safe spaces, explore their historical connections to food and land, and share how racial and gender stereotypes impact how they view their bodies. “What we’ve learned is the holistic power of community — that community itself can be healing,” Dyer writes.

Brown Girl Rise is funded through an Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars (Alumni TIES) small grant from the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by World Learning.

Alitzel Castillo, Jazmín Villalobos, Roberta S. Jacobson, Gladys Del Ángel, and Emmanuel Galindo

Violence against women is a serious problem facing communities around the world. In Puebla, Mexico, one group of high school students banded together to tackle that problem. In 2016, Alitzel Castillo, Jazmín Villalobos, Roberta S. Jacobson, Gladys Del Ángel, and Emmanuel Galindo took part in Jóvenes en Acción, a U.S. Department of State exchange program that builds civic engagement and leadership skills among students in Mexico. As part of the program, participants carry out projects in their communities.

These high schoolers launched a campaign to raise awareness about gender violence and the stereotypes that perpetuate it. “We knew that we had to make teenagers see that gender violence does not look just like some guy hitting a woman, or like street harassment,” Castillo writes in an email, “it looks more ‘familiar’ for all of us because we live surrounded by stereotypes and gender roles.” The students offered a series of workshops exploring gender stereotypes, LGBTQ issues, and sexual harassment, culminating in a Diversity and Gender Day, which brought more than 700 people for activities devoted to gender and inclusion.

The Jóvenes en Acción Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning.

School for International Training alumni put their skills into practice, advancing social justice in their careers and lives.

Leslie Massicotte

Alice Rowan Swanson fellow Leslie Massicotte, an alumna of SIT Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding, works in Kigali, Rwanda, with the youth center Mind Leaps. The center aims to give at-risk youth a place for education, training, and fun. Massicotte, an ESL teacher, saw increasing numbers of pregnancies among the young women at the center, so she used the Swanson Fellowship support to bring sexual and reproductive education to Mind Leaps.

“The whole idea is to use the money to start the teaching, but to make the project sustainable and able to run without my help,” she says. Leslie sees this effort as a natural outgrowth of studying with SIT. “My passion for giving back, serving others, and being abroad came together at SIT.”

Read more about Massicotte’s work here.

Suman Pant

Suman Pant, academic director of SIT Nepal: Development, Gender, and Social Change in the Himalaya, strives to show students how the currents of gender and development intertwine in Nepal. Her PhD dissertation examined Nepal’s community forestry, in which women play a key role. “This idea of conservation emerges from eco-feminism theories. In Nepal, community forestry is very interesting because that’s the only platform where the national law mandates that there should be more women board members than men.”

Such ideas are relatively new to Nepal, Pant explains. “Thirty years ago, when education was still scarce and a little bit expensive, men went to school. Women didn’t. The illiteracy rate among women was very, very high. Now when you go to schools you’ll see — in primary schools, secondary schools — girls and boys [are] almost an equal percentage. I think Nepal’s case in terms of gender is very interesting because it has transitioned quite a bit, and at a fast pace and quite healthily, too.”

See a video of Pant discussing her program here.

Sunday Justin

Sunday Justin has ties both to SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute. He’s an alumnus of the CONTACT summer peacebuilding program, and academic coordinator for SIT in Rwanda. He’s part of our list for International Women’s Day for his women-focused work.

Rwanda’s civil war and genocide left many women who had become pregnant through rape. Sunday co-founded Iteme Foundation, which aims to support and empower not only the victims of rape, but also young mothers for whom prostitution has become a dangerous way out of poverty that often leads to pregnancy or HIV infection.

Being a single mother, Sunday says, “comes with a stigma. It comes with a judgment; it comes with a lot of conflict between them and their family and their children.”

Sunday’s story is part of SIT’s OnSITe podcast series.

Vicky Garcia

Vicky Garcia and Mary Hensley met in the early 2000s as International Management students at SIT Graduate Institute. After graduating from SIT, Garcia returned to her native Philippines, joining forces with Hensley to bring a new kind of economic security to the indigenous rice farmers of the Cordillera region of the Philippines. Building that kind of empowerment among indigenous farmers made sense to Garcia not only as a farmer’s daughter, but as someone who’d overcome physical and cultural challenges. She had contracted polio as a child and was left unable to walk.

Despite being told she’d never amount to anything because of her disability, Garcia eventually worked for the Philippine government, then came to the United States to attend SIT. Back home, she made her way to the very remote steppes of the Cordillera, where she has since helped farmers get assistance from the government and connected them to customers all over the world who appreciate the unique heirloom species of rice they grow. She runs Rice Inc. with Hensley.

Listen to their story here.


Experiment in International Living alumni return home transformed — and channel that transformation into their high schools and communities.

Yareni Murillo

Yareni Murillo has been an activist since her freshman year when, as one of few Latinas in a mostly white high school, she sought ways to connect with other students and founded the school’s first Hispanic Club. “I realized that if no one else is going to speak for me, then I have to speak up for myself,” she says.

Last summer, Yareni traveled to India with The Experiment — an experience she describes as the best in her life. Visiting a new country with a diverse, all-female group led to empowering discussions about intersectionality and patriarchy.

Yareni is now working on a digital history project about Mexican-American women in the Chicano movement, who are often overshadowed by men. She brought a sign to this year’s Women’s March in Washington, DC, that read, “If your feminism doesn’t include all women, then it’s not feminism.”

Hayeon Kayla Lee

Hayeon Kayla Lee went to Japan as a high school freshman, in part to confront some deeply held family beliefs. Some of her relatives experienced Japanese imperialism in South Korea during World War II and still harbored very negative opinions about Japan.

“I always feel that the way to solve conflict and interact with others is through learning the background and history of a culture you might not understand,” says Hayeon, now a senior at a boarding school in New Hampshire. That summer in Japan with The Experimentwas a turning point that helped Hayeon begin to separate her own views from her family’s.

When she’s at home in Los Angeles, Hayeon tutors students in her inner-city neighborhood, focusing on helping girls from low-income and immigrant backgrounds improve their English and creative writing.

As for her own education, in college Hayeon wants to study abroad again — in Japan.

Lauren Jasper

Lauren Jasper used to notice the Ujamaa Collective storefront in her Pittsburgh neighborhood, but didn’t know much about the nonprofit until last year, when the aspiring architect took a class at her high school called Global Leadership by Design. That’s where she found out about Ujamaa’s mission to create entrepreneurship and education opportunities for Africana women.

The same year, Lauren went to South Africa on The Experiment’s Leadership and Social Change program — an experience that ultimately drew her closer to Ujamaa’s purpose and her own. South Africa’s history of apartheid and social justice resonated with her, and the leadership aspect of the program was particularly important to Lauren, who knows she’ll need those skills in a the United States, where only 400 black women have ever been licensed as architects.

As a busy senior, Lauren still finds time to help in the Ujamaa boutique and create programming for teens. Through her architecture studies at Cornell, she hopes “to carry social justice into my designs to create affordable and sustainable housing.”

Small World; Big Hearts: Breaking Bread for Peace

When I moved to D.C. months ago, I settled into a lovely 300-square-foot studio in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, which I whimsically view as Washington’s grown-up version of Disney’s It’s A Small World — an iconic boat ride that teaches kids about global culture.

The neighborhood is steps away from Embassy Row, a tony section of Massachusetts Avenue where grand embassies stand side-by-side posh mansions. When I walk by the facades of these buildings, I imagine them as the smiling, welcoming faces in Disney’s playland and recall the high-pitched voices of children singing the ride’s theme song: “ . . . It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears / There’s so much that we share / That it’s time we’re aware / It’s a small world after all.”

I regard my tiny home as the Embassy of Maria’s Heart.

In March, I hosted a dinner for three international visitors who were in the U.S. as part of World Learning’s International Visitor Leadership Program, a professional exchange funded by the U.S. Department of State. Dinner hosting gives Americans a special opportunity to understand, exchange ideas, and forge friendships with people from around the world. It’s citizen diplomacy right in your own kitchen.

IVLP participants and host from left to right: Perla del Rocio RODRIGUEZ QUIROZ from Mexico; Mercedes Floridalma GARCIA VASQUEZ DE BARRENO from Guatemala; Magyelinett Aurora MALAVE MARCANO from Venezuela; and dinner host Maria de los Angeles, a Washington, D.C.-based writer.

My guests were three women from Mexico, Guatemala, and Venezuela who work on corporate social responsibility, healthcare, and leadership respectively. The trio were part of a cohort of twelve women who were touring the U.S. for three weeks as part of a program called Women Leaders: Drivers of Economic and Social Change. One of the program’s objectives is showcasing women-led efforts that generate positive change in their communities.

Welcoming guests from other countries was exciting. A first-generation Cuban-American from Miami, I’d been wandering on a writer’s pilgrimage of sorts, until I landed in D.C. As a recent transplant, I was eager for all four of us to enjoy an authentic Washingtonian spread, which I procured from Glen’s Garden Market, a local shop that sources food from surrounding farmland in the Chesapeake watershed.

Local delights for dinner. The host gave each guest a Potato Chip Chocolate Bar from Dupont Circle as a parting gift.

You’d think that starting a conversation with three strangers would be awkward, but no sooner was crust cracked and dipped into olive oil, did we find ourselves sharing ideas and stories without any hesitation. The warm and earthy scent of dough from fresh-baked ciabatta loaves lingered in the air, as the cadence of conversation landed upon the universal concerns of women: birth control, family planning, women’s economic security, freedom of speech, disease prevention and management, parenting, elder caregiving — you name it, we talked about it.

I’m no match for the mighty embassies up the road, but what I lack in size and officialdom I make up in warmth and openness.

I recently saw the movie A Wrinkle in Time, which references a quote by Rumi: “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” The world is full of wounds, including the collective, exhausted spirit of humanity. Breaking bread temporarily crumbles the fear that drives politics and devolves our better selves. Breaking open that crusty loaf enables the light to enter our hearts.

That evening, I learned so much about what’s really happening day-to-day in other places — the kind of heartbreaking stuff you don’t hear about in the news. The stories boosted my impression of resilient women the world over who endure unspeakable misery we can’t even begin to fathom here in the U.S. It’s comforting to know that my new friends are actively working to make their corner of the world a better place.

The international visitors brought gifts from their home country for their U.S. dinner host.

Hosting was humbling, exhilarating and deeply moving. With my Murphy bed tucked away, my living space became a miniature and covert United Nations — just a stone’s throw away from international centers of political power, including the White House.

Playing hostess was also just plain fun! I encourage my fellow Washingtonians and others beyond our nation’s capital to invite the world home for dinner. Throw open your doors to real diplomacy, experience what peace tastes like, and make sure to serve local bread! It is, after all, a small world — but our hearts are bigger.

Maria de los Angeles is an award-winning writer, teacher and spiritual entrepreneur based in Washington, D.C. She is also founder of #HeartCenteredMedia and, a forthcoming digital and social platform focused on heart-centered living in the nation’s capital. Her digital dispatches can be followed on Twitter@vicequeenmaria.

Each year, World Learning’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) brings about 800 participants to the U.S. to meet with colleagues in their respective fields and learn about American culture. Almost all of them will spend at least one evening with a dinner host. (Approximately 85 communities in 43 states host international visitors for dinner through IVLP and our local partners around the country.) Many program participants report back that this is one of the highlights of their visit to the U.S.

Collaborating on Alternative Energy Development in Mexico

Geologist Patrick Dobson is an expert in geothermal systems at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory managed by the University of California. His research on geothermal systems and volcanic centers during his career has taken him to Japan, Indonesia, Central and South America, and Mexico.

Dobson wanted to return to Mexico to work more closely with Mexican counterparts and students after attending a technical workshop on clean energy across the border organized by the California Energy Commission.

“Back in the late 1970s and 80s there was a major collaborative research effort on geothermal systems between our lab and Mexican researchers. But funding dried up. We’d like to reinitiate a formal relationship,” says Dobson.

A Fulbright Specialist grant was a first step to strengthening these connections between scientists from both countries. The Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada (CICESE), which hosted Dobson, sought out renewed ties with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to conduct joint scientific research, increase technological development, and stimulate innovation within the geothermal industry.

Dobson and his Mexican counterparts believe geothermal cooperation makes sense for both countries as it has multiple uses beyond power generation and could even help diversify the local economy. For instance, geothermal sites have potential as tourist attractions — like the Blue Lagoon in Iceland — since they produce mineral spas. In some places, they are also used for fish ponds and heating homes.

“It’s a resource that both Mexico and the U.S. have. It’s renewable in the sense that it comes from the earth. It’s a carbon-neutral resource and it’s indigenous, which means we’re not dependent on other countries. Solar and wind are intermittent resources; but the earth is hot regardless of any other conditions. By tapping into it we could provide a valuable energy resource,” Dobson says.

During his two-week Fulbright Specialist grant in January, Dobson, who speaks Spanish fluently, met with graduate students and researchers to discuss their projects and possible areas for collaboration; delivered two lectures at CICESE, which were shared via webcast to other institutions in Mexico; gave a special talk to the geothermal group of the Federal Electricity Commission at Cerro Prieto; and visited research laboratories at the Mexican Center for Innovation and Geothermal Energy, a project of the Mexican Agency for Science and Technology.

Each event was an opportunity for Dobson to connect with Mexican scholars and scientists, building closer professional relationships that will pave the way for a stronger partnership with other scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The highlight of the visit was a two-day field trip with a professor and his students to show them how to collect geothermal noble gas samples.

“It’s more expensive than developing solar or wind energy,” Dobson admits. “You have to explore for geothermal resources so there is an inherent risk of failure and therefore higher costs associated with it. As scientists, we seek to reduce the risk to reduce the cost. That’s where collaboration could help improve techniques,” he adds.

Since January, he’s been in touch with colleagues from Mexico and has hosted visits to the Berkeley Lab. Dobson hopes to find ways to facilitate study and professional exchanges of geologists in the United States and Mexico and one day work on projects together.

“The Fulbright Specialist Program provided us with the opportunity to work one-on-one and try to kindle cross border cooperation in a more sustained way,” says Dobson. “It was really productive.”

The Fulbright Specialist Program was established in 2001 by the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to enable U.S. professionals and scholars to work on short-term projects overseas in conjunction with local host institutions.

For more information about the Fulbright Specialist Program or to apply, please go to:

Breaking Barriers and Expanding Study Abroad Opportunities

As one of only a few women to become Foreign Service Officers in 1957, Morelle Lasky Levine knows first-hand the importance of international experience to a young person’s career. She served for seven years, holding positions in the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, and was assigned to work on a four -person State Department team coordinating the development of policy for U.S. participation in the newly created Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), all before the age of 29.

In the summer of 1954, between her sophomore and junior years at Wellesley College, Morelle traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, with The Experiment and lived with a family that owned a general store and had seven children ranging in age from 8 to 22 years of age. “Life as part of that family was a fascinating and joyous adventure,” she recalled.

She said The Experiment in International Living had a major impact on her life and career.

“I never again viewed ‘foreigners’ as really foreign, and I came to view close personal contact between people of different nationalities, ethnic groups and religions as the best means of dispelling the mutual suspicion and distrust that creates barriers to peaceful co-existence within and between nations.” — Morelle Lasky Levine

By supporting World Learning’s initiative to expand study abroad opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Morelle hopes to give African-American students the chance to gain valuable overseas experience that can help them pursue international careers. A recent summit organized by World Learning with Spelman College was attended by representatives from over 25 of these institutions, the White House, and the U.S. Department of State.

“Despite the fact that higher education is now more available to black students than in the past, the lack of study abroad experience, even by faculty members, is retarding the progress that African-Americans can make professionally compared to their white counterparts” Morelle said. “That, in turn, impedes the role that the U.S. can play in this globalized world.”

By supporting World Learning’s initiative to expand study abroad opportunities at HBCUs, Morelle hopes to give African-American students the chance to gain valuable overseas experience that can help them pursue international careers.

Support for the HBCU Summit is the most recent gift in a long history of significant contributions provided by Morelle, who is a founding donor to The Experiment Leadership Institute and has endowed two scholarships for World Learning, one supporting The Experiment in International Living, and the other in support of SIT Study Abroad. These are just a few highlights of Morelle’s many years of loyal support to World Learning.

How The Experiment Taught One Couple to Expect the Unexpected

Ronald and Kathleen Beck’s support for The Experiment in International Living pre-dates World Learning’s digitized archives. They are lifelong devotees of The Experiment and have been valued donors since the pair graduated from Lewis and Clark College in 1966.

As such, Ron and Kathy are also members of World Learning’s Global Loyalty Circle, which honors members of the World Learning family who have provided critical support to the organization for at least three consecutive fiscal years.

Kathy was a freshman at Lewis and Clark when the school established a study abroad program in partnership with The Experiment in International Living. She was a part of the university’s inaugural cohort of Experimenters and left for her first trip out of the United States to Japan.

Kathy remembers the experience fondly and as having a lasting impact. Her first time being an obvious outsider, Kathy said she was taken aback at first, “but at the same time it was very liberating because I could not be expected to know how to behave. So I did my best, and apologized when I didn’t. Those things have really made a difference in my life since then.”

“I’ve learned to be not so self-conscious and to not be afraid of making a wrong step, and laughing if you do,” she said.

“The Japanese people were unfailingly helpful and hospitable,” Kathy recalled. “They took us into their homes, made us a part of society as much as possible.”

Upon her return to Lewis and Clark, Kathy urged her future husband Ron to travel abroad and “practically filled out his application.” Ron’s Experiment trip to Mexico was equally impactful — he still remembers one of the highlights being the opportunity to shake Donald Watt’s hand.

The Becks credit The Experiment with feeding their “appetite for international travel.” Since then, they have journeyed to Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iceland, Peru, the Galapagos, and many other spots across the globe. In 2009, Kathy and Ron even returned to Japan on a hiking tour. “I was taken by surprise by how comfortable I felt there,” Kathy remembered. “I felt at home.”

Of being lifelong Experimenters, Kathy said, “It’s given us a real curiosity about how other people live. We always try to seek out opportunities, wherever we go, to meet local people. When we travel independently, we always try to engage with the local culture. Go to the places where the locals go.”

The Becks’ spirit of travel and adventure has also been inherited by their son, Colin, who is an SIT Study Abroad alum of the Peace and Justice program in Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.

The Experiment’s motto, “expect the unexpected,” has persisted as the couple’s maxim. “In our travels I think of that all the time,” Ron said. “If something doesn’t quite work out, well, that’s the way it is.”

“I don’t think we ever took another trip where we haven’t said that,” Kathy added.

Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars

Participant Profile

Participants are alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs and vary in age and level of expertise, but all will be engaged in the seminar topic and highly motivated to create change in their communities.

Please consult the list of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs below.

Participant Selection

Alumni TIES participants who are not U.S. citizens are nominated by the U.S. Embassies or Consulates in their countries. Please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country to learn how you can participate in Alumni TIES. Potential Alumni TIES participants who are living in the United States can apply for specific seminars managed by World Learning. The web link to the online application will be distributed widely by the Office of Alumni Affairs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

All participants for Alumni TIES seminars are selected by the U.S. Department of State.

Program Design

Alumni TIES seminars take place in six world regions and the U.S.; each seminar is three to four days for small groups of alumni. The seminars include speakers, capacity development trainings, and alumni networking activities. Through the small grants initiative, alumni have the opportunity to take action and make a positive difference in their communities.

Learn More

Watch more videos about the Alumni TIES program.

Read stories from past participants about their experiences at the seminars or with their small grant projects on the Alumni TIES blog.

For information on programs for U.S. government-sponsored exchange program alumni visit the International Exchange Alumni website.

Alumni TIES is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by World Learning, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).  

Digital Communication Network

Examples of Past Digital Communication Network Projects

  • Internet vs. Democracy Forum
  • Roaring 20s #Digital Forum
  • Combatting Disinformation Training Program
  • Digital and Media Literacy for NGOs Training Program
  • Tolerance and Coexistence 2.0 Forum
  • Montenegro Digital Influencers Hub
  • Humor and Games for Social Good Forum

Fulbright Specialist Program


Link U.S. Experts and International Institutions

A program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Specialist Program is a unique opportunity for U.S. academics and established professionals to engage in two- to six-week consultancies at host institutions across the globe. Host institutions, including universities, non-profits, and other organizations, develop and submit projects for approval by the U.S. Embassy or Fulbright Commission in their country in wide-ranging academic and professional fields that build capacity and promote long-lasting linkages between individuals and institutions in the U.S. and abroad.


Address Priorities and Build Institutional Capacity at Institutions Around the World

An important companion to the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, the Fulbright Specialist Program differs by providing short-term exchange experiences that tackle discrete, sometimes rapid response, projects. The Fulbright Specialist Program encourages participation of both university faculty and highly experienced non-academics, including legal experts, business professionals, public health practitioners, scientists, IT professionals, artists, and journalists. The program is a mutually beneficial opportunity for the Specialist who may not be available to leave their position for an extended period of time and the host institution which needs an experienced partner to jointly tackle a problem or examine an issue on a short-term basis.


Become a Fulbright Specialist: Apply to Join the Roster

Fulbright Specialists are a diverse group of highly experienced, well-established faculty members and professionals who represent a wide variety of academic disciplines and professions.  In order to be eligible to serve as a Fulbright Specialist, candidates must have significant experience in their respective professional field and be a U.S. citizen at time of application. Eligible disciplines and professional fields supported by the Fulbright Specialist Program are listed below.

  • Agriculture
  • American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Archeology
  • Biology Education
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry Education
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Science and Information Technology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering Education
  • Environmental Science
  • Law
  • Library Science
  • Math Education
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies
  • Physics Education
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Public/Global Health
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Urban Planning

Interested candidates can find more information about the Fulbright Specialist Program and apply to serve as a Specialist at Candidates who meet all eligibility requirements will have their full applications reviewed by a panel of their professional peers. Candidates who are approved by the peer review panels will then join the Fulbright Specialist Roster. Individuals remain on the Specialist Roster for a three-year term and are eligible to be matched with a host institution’s project abroad during that tenure.

The following costs are covered for those Fulbright Specialists who are matched to a project: international and domestic airfare, ground transportation, visa fees, lodging, meals, and incidentals. A daily honorarium is also provided.

Become a Host: Bring a Fulbright Specialist to Your Institution

The Fulbright Specialist Program allows universities, cultural centers, non-governmental organizations, and other institutions abroad to host a leading U.S. academic or professional to work on diverse, short-term collaborative projects where the Specialist conducts activities which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Delivering a seminar or workshop
  • Consulting on faculty or workforce development
  • Developing academic or training curricula and materials
  • Lecturing at the graduate or undergraduate level
  • Conducting needs assessments or evaluations for a program or institution

Institutions interested in hosting a Fulbright Specialist should contact their local Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy for country-specific requirements and deadlines.

Contact information for all participating countries is available on the website.

For more information or questions about the Fulbright Specialist Program, please email [email protected].

The Fulbright Specialist Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by World Learning.

EducationUSA Academy

For further information: [email protected]

“Through EducationUSA Academy, I made new friends from all over the world, I learned about the American education system and requirements for getting accepted to an American university, and I visited one of the most interesting places in the United States in a friendly and helpful group.” -2017 EducationUSA Academy participant

Student Eligibility

Participants must:

  • Be students (currently enrolled or recently graduated), ages 15-18 at the time of the summer program;
  • Have at least three years of middle to high school English language study (language requirements may vary slightly by institution);
  • Be mature and self-disciplined, with a commitment to active participation in the Academy and its programming;
  • Aspire to pursue a portion of their higher education in the U.S.; and
  • Have sufficient personal funds to cover program fees and international airfare.

More information is available from your local EducationUSA adviser. To find your local EducationUSA advising center, please visit the EducationUSA website.

Follow the program on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


EducationUSA Academy is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning.

International Visitor Leadership Program

End of Year Report

Chosen by U.S. embassies worldwide to participate, distinguished professionals include:

  • parliamentarians
  • government officials
  • entrepreneurs
  • NGO leaders
  • journalists
  • academics
  • arts administrators
  • mid-career professionals

Programs focus on policy issues in areas such as:

  • government
  • international security
  • foreign policy
  • entrepreneurship
  • economics and trade
  • media
  • women’s leadership
  • education
  • public health
  • arts
  • agriculture
  • disability rights and inclusion

World Learning staff members design national itineraries, arrange logistics, set up meetings in Washington, DC, and coordinate the collaboration of U.S. Department of State program officers, interpreters and International Visitor Liaisons, and more than 85 community-based member organizations from the Global Ties U.S. Network who arrange local programs nationwide.


Most participants are mid-career professionals and emerging leaders, and for many, this is their first visit to the U.S. Groups are of varying sizes, from single visitors to groups of 25 or more. World Learning program staff work closely with their State Department counterparts to design a program customized to the project objectives and the visitors’ interests.


Participant Selection

IVLP candidates are selected solely by U.S. embassy personnel in each country. There is no application form. World Learning is a private sector partner of the U.S. Department of State; our role is limited to designing programs for participants once they arrive in the U.S. For further information regarding the program, please consult the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Program Design

A typical project includes up to a week of meetings in Washington, DC, to provide an orientation and overview of the theme and to introduce visitors to federal officials and agencies, national organizations, academics and think tanks, nonprofits and NGOs, and professionals in their specific field of interest. All projects include a briefing on the US federal system of government. Meetings may include panel discussions, site visits, workshops, individual interlocutors, job shadowing, or service opportunities. Visitors typically travel to an additional three or four cities in geographically diverse regions of the country; the itinerary may include a state capital and a small town to provide first-hand exposure to the great diversity that exists in the U.S. Also included in the program design are hospitality dinners, school visits, community service activities, and cultural events such as rodeos, state fairs, festivals, visits to national parks, or events that highlight some unique aspect of the region visited.

Participant Experience

“My recent experience in the IVLP program is so far the deepest ever for me to see and understand the full picture of what America as a country is like. I strongly believe this program will have a very long-term impact on my views about America and the world and to some extent it has already helped me to understand many long-time questions.” – Journalist from China

The International Visitor Leadership Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning.

Jóvenes en Acción Program

The whole program was an amazing experience…I learned a lot and met some of the most important people I may ever know. – 2015 Jóvenes en Acción participant

Examples of Jóvenes en Acción Alumni Projects

¡No te bajes, espera tu parada! (Don’t get off, wait for your stop!) – Youth in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, created a peer tutoring program in their school to help students succeed in their studies. They are also coordinating workshops and motivational speakers for after school events.

No conoces mi historia. (You don’t know my story.) – Youth in Monterrey, Nuevo León, have been facilitating anti-bullying, leadership, and positive values workshops in their high school as well as a local preschools and elementary schools.

Alza la mano por un hogar sano. (Raise your hand for a healthy home.) – Youth in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, have been leading monthly workshops and conferences for parents and high school-aged students to teach tools for managing healthy relationships.

I feel so happy and proud that my example and my actions are the guide for other young people. – 2014 Jóvenes en Acción participant

During a Digital Story Telling Workshop in Vermont Jóvenes en Acción participants were challenged with creating a short two-minute video to capture their Host Community programs, highlighting host families, professional visits, volunteer activities and the qualities that made their host community unique. Videos created by 2016 program participants can be found at:

Program Links

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The Jóvenes en Acción Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning.

Leaders Lead On-Demand Program

Examples of past leaders Lead On-Demand Projects:

  • Vietnam Legal Aid
  • Refugee Integration and Resettlement in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Sports Leadership Program for Colombia
  • Mongolia Disability Rights Legislation and Implementation
  • Promoting Open Educational Resources: Middle East and North Africa
  • Tourism and Development in Serbia and Kosovo
  • Religious Freedom and Interfaith Dialogue for Myanmar, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand
  • Emerging Leaders Exchange for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
  • Environmental Advocacy for Mongolia
  • Getting Connected Program for the South Pacific
  • Civic Engagement Program for Moldova
  • Disinformation and Fact Checking in Kenya

The Leaders Lead On-Demand is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning.