The International Visitor Leadership Program is one of the most effective public diplomacy activities of the U.S. Department of State. The program seeks to build international understanding through carefully designed visits that reflect the international visitors’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the U.S.


The program enables foreign emerging leaders to gain firsthand knowledge about the United States, its people, policies and culture. During their three week stay in the United States, international visitors travel to a variety of communities meeting with experts in their fields of interest. Topics include diversity and tolerance, HIV/AIDS, the rule of law, the arts, environment, national security, economic development, conflict resolution and drug abuse education.

International Visitors are current or emerging leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other key fields. Since its inception in 1940, thousands of distinguished individuals have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program, including 330 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government. The impact of the program is illustrated by the lasting business, cultural, and educational relationships that are established with prominent international professionals.

IVLP Alumna named 2012 CNN Hero of the Year

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) -- Pushpa Basnet doesn't need an alarm clock. Every morning, the sounds of 40 children wake her up in the two-story home she shares with them. As she helps the children dress for school, Basnet might appear to be a housemother of sorts. But the real story is more complicated. All of these children once lived in Nepal's prisons. This 28-year-old woman has saved every one of them from a life behind bars. Read her full story here.

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