International Leaders Program


International Visitor Leadership Program

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is a U.S. Department of State initiative. Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders. These visits reflect the international visitors’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States. Authorized by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (Fulbright-Hays Act), funded by an annual Congressional appropriation to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and administered by the Office of International Visitors, this program aims to enhance cross-cultural understanding by providing future leaders in government, politics, media, education, science, labor relations, and other key fields with first-hand knowledge of American society and the expertise of their peers.

Selected by American embassies, participants are current and emerging leaders in their fields. Since 1940, hundreds of former participants under the International Visitor Leadership Program have risen to important positions in their countries. Among the alumni are over 50 current chiefs of state or heads of government. Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, visited Pittsburgh as part of the IVLP program before he became Prime Minister.

GlobalPittsburgh, formerly Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors (PCIV), is privileged to play an integral role in this process. As one of more than ninety community-based organizations nationwide that belong to the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV), GlobalPittsburgh coordinates the professional meetings and hospitality dinners that form the core of the International Visitor Leadership Program. Skilled staff and volunteers work diligently with members of the community to provide a warm welcome to IVLP participants.

As a result, many Pittsburghers have formed lasting personal connections and invaluable professional links that have increased international awareness, facilitated business development, and improved the cultural richness of the Greater Pittsburgh region.

For more information about the IVLP, go to

Open World Leadership Program

GlobalPittsburgh is privileged to also participate in the Open World Leadership Program that is administered by the Open World Leadership Center (OW), an independent legislative branch agency setup by Congress in 2000.

This is another program that has brought invaluable personal and professional links between people and organizations in the Greater Pittsburgh region and their international counterparts in Russian, Ukraine, and Eurasia.

The Open World Program has enabled more than 17,000 current and future leaders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Serbia to meaningfully engage and interact with Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and thousands of other Americans, many of whom are the delegates’ direct professional counterparts.

The Open World program focuses both on assisting the Congress in its oversight responsibilities and on conducting exchanges that establish lasting professional relationships between the up-and-coming leaders of Open World countries and Americans dedicated to showcasing U.S. values and democratic institutions. While all the countries of the Open World program are strategically important to the interests of the U.S. government, many also have growing economies where opportunities for foreign investment and trade increase yearly. Program results include new Congressional and other legislative relationships and foreign partnerships with American government officials, jurists, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and sister cities. In this way, Open World supports the Eurasian-related interests, projects, and partnerships of American citizens around the country.

Open World delegations consist of committed leaders who experience in-depth programming in themes of interest to Congress and of transnational impact, including human-trafficking prevention, government and court transparency, nuclear nonproliferation, and environmental protection. Most Open World hosting programs examine the role that legislative bodies play in these issues and in democracies.

Some facts about the Open World Leadership program:

  • Since 1999, Open World has hosted more than 17,750 Eurasian leaders in the United States since the program's inception in 1999.
  • In 2007, Open World expanded to include the countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan. Open World's Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan programs began in 2008; its Armenian program launched in 2011; its Serbian program launched in 2012. Open World has also hosted delegations from Belarus, Lithuania, and Uzbekistan.
  • The average age of Open World delegates is 38; over half are women.
  • More than 60 percent of Open World delegates have been federal, regional, or local government officials at the time of their visit.
  • Open World had brought 155 members of the Russian Federation Council and State Duma to the United Sates. Members of the national parliaments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine have also participated in the program.
  • In 2010, 37 meetings were held between Members of Congress and Open World participants. Over 50 percent of Open World's 2010 delegates visited Congressional offices while in Washington, DC or their home states.
  • Since November 2003, 350 cultural leaders from Russia have participated in Open World's cultural program in the areas of jazz and traditional music, dance, writing, film, and historic preservation.
  • Some 6,500 families in nearly 2,000 host communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have home-hosted Open World participants.
  • Pennsylvania has hosted over 800 Open World visitors.

See more Open World facts at

GlobalPittsburgh is always looking for more homestay hosts who will be able to provide eight days of homestay for visiting Open World delegates.