International Visitor Leadership Program

Country: United States    |   Duration: October 1986 to December 2020    |   Funder: U.S. Department of State    |   Contact:

Program Description

Each year, the International Visitor Leadership Program brings about 4,500 visitors to the U.S. for observational study tours ranging from a period of few days to three weeks.

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

This program is administered as a partnership between the U.S. Department of State, World Learning, private sector partners in Washington, DC and cities around the U.S.



Application Process

IVLP candidates are selected solely by U.S. Embassy personnel in each country. There is no application form.

Program Goals

  • Provide participants with dynamic opportunities to engage their American counterparts in professional interchanges to encourage collaboration;

  • Design programs that facilitate ongoing dialogue even after the conclusion of the U.S. program;

  • Deepen visitors’ understanding of American society through cultural events and home hospitality;

  • Foster a mutual understanding between current and future foreign leaders and their U.S. counterparts in support of U.S. foreign policy goals; and

  • Strengthen U.S. engagement with countries around the world.

International Women of Courage


World Learning and its predecessor Delphi International have been developing these programs for over 30 years. World Learning is responsible for designing and administering programs for about 800 international visitors from more than 140 countries annually.

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
  • media
  • foreign policy
  • environmental protection
  • women’s leadership
  • education
  • public health
  • arts
  • agriculture
  • economy and trade
  • disability rights and inclusion

World Learning staff members design national itineraries, arrange logistics, set up meetings in Washington, DC, and coordinate the collaboration of State Department program officers, interpreters and International Visitor Liasons, and more than 90 community-based organizations from the Global Ties Network who arrange local programs nationwide.



Most participants are mid-career professionals, 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 restricted to designing programs for participants once they arrive in the U.S. For further information regarding the program, please consult the U.S. State Department’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 varied 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 sites of scenic beauty, or events that highlight seasonal events or some unique aspect of the region visited.


Home Hospitality

World Learning is looking for individuals and families interested in hosting visitors at their home for dinner. Learn more about this opportunity and how to participate.