Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars

Country: Multiple    |   Duration: September 2015 to August 2020    |   Funder: U.S. Department of State    |   Contact:

Program Description

Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars (Alumni TIES) are regionally-focused seminars for US government-sponsored exchange program alumni.

Participants learn about key regional issues, receive training, and collaborate with fellow alumni to implement community projects in their home countries upon their return. Alumni participants will demonstrate an increased knowledge of U.S. policies and practices, and through the small grants initiative, they will create change in their communities. World Learning works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State to design these seminars, coordinate all program logistics, and administer a small grants program.

Alumni TIES is administered by World Learning on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

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Program Goals

Through Alumni TIES, participants will:

  • Establish a group identity for exchange alumni that will enable them to identify and form linkages with partners for ongoing regional networking and action.
  • Learn about U.S. policies and practices in regard to the thematic focus of the seminar and apply this knowledge within the context of their own region. 
  • Develop and implement community projects through the alumni small grants program. 

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 United States 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 online application will be distributed widely by the Office of Alumni Affairs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and available on this web page two months before the seminar.

Participants for Alumni TIES seminars are selected solely by the U.S. Department of State, not by World Learning.


Program Design:

Alumni TIES seminars take place in six world regions and the United States; each seminar runs 3-4 days for small groups of alumni. The seminars include speakers, trainings on project management, and alumni networking activities. Through the small grants initiative, alumni have the opportunity to take action and make a positive difference in their communities. 


Participant Perspectives:

The seminar was an opportunity to understand the level of United States commitment to international exchange programs. I was able to understand that democratic principles and institutions are an intrinsic element of a modern state, which is lacking in my country. I had a life-changing experience at the seminar spearheaded by World Learning staff.

Social Anthropologist from Ethiopia

I had the chance to network and learn hands-on experience from peers who had the same interests, resulting in the foundation of my current project with the valuable long-term support from World Learning staff to implement our community project.

Pharmacology Professor from Vietnam

The follow-on grant application process was especially helpful for fostering post-conference collaboration. The relationships the project has encouraged and the doors it has opened for us and our communities has been invaluable. World Learning’s personal attention and accessibility has been crucial to our success.

Energy Efficiency Expert from the United States

World Learning’s capabilities in conference planning and coordinating logistics were outstanding. The organization was at a very high level. This seminar gave me new international experience, knowledge, and skills that helped me to design a new entrepreneurship training program for teenage girls in Kazakhstan.

Social Entrepreneur from Kazakhstan

World Learning succeeded at pulling together a stellar group of participants for this inaugural event. By focusing in on the interchange between themes, people could focus the dialogue fruitfully. We all left quite grateful for the opportunity and recharged to tackle climate change, one of the world's greatest challenges. Your work is much appreciated!

Economic Sustainability Consultant from the United States


Additional Resources:

Videos from past Alumni TIES seminars:

Read stories from past participants about their experiences at the seminars or with their small grant projects:

Information on programs for US-government sponsored exchange program alumni:


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