Executive Staff

A Message From
Our Executive Team

Recent world events, whether terrorist attacks, mass migration, or attempts to forge new international agreements on trade or climate change, have deepened our belief that exchanges have a critical role to play, perhaps now more than ever, in fostering better cross-cultural understanding.

In 2015, we launched a comprehensive strategic plan, Cultural Vistas Vision 2020, providing the roadmap for ambitious yet sustained growth over the next five years, including our key goal of growing participation in our programs to 10,000 individuals per year.

Through new initiatives and significant investments in our mission, we empowered nearly 6,000 people to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society in 2015. We invite you to learn about our impact and join us as we work together to reach thousands more.

Executive Signatures

At A Glance

Today’s workforce is competitive, always connected, and rapidly changing. To succeed, one must be able to communicate and solve problems collaboratively across cultures.

With more than 50 years of experience facilitating professional exchange programs and services for visitors coming to the United States, and Americans going abroad, Cultural Vistas is uniquely positioned to help individuals and institutions address this challenge.

50+ Years Of History

facilitating professional exchange programs.

6,000 Students, Professionals, And Emerging Leaders

from the U.S. and around the world served annually.

30+ Unique Programs

including international internships, professional training, study tours, workshops, and language immersion programs.

135+ Countries

represented among our exchange programs every year.

4,500+ Interns, Trainees,
And Teachers

annually come to the U.S. through our J-1 Visa sponsorship.

100,000+ Alumni
And Counting

Including prominent leaders in governments, Fortune 500 companies, international media outlets, tech startups, and human rights organizations.


The most pressing problems we face are increasingly complex in character and scope, and will require cooperative global efforts to solve.

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Because we live in a more difficult world, international understanding - direct knowledge and an authentic understanding of different countries and cultures – will be vital to our ability to successfully meet the many challenges ahead.

Every year, nearly 6,000 individuals around the world receive this direct knowledge through our exchange programs and special initiatives. We believe these opportunities broaden the worldview of our participants in ways they never forget, and are an essential step in creating a more just and peaceful world.

This kind of inspired learning takes place in many different forms and settings in our work. It is top of mind when we host a series of educational activities and events every November to commemorate International Education Week (IEW).
In 2015, we brought over 30 J-1 exchange participants and alumni, representing 12 countries from Italy to Indonesia, into six public elementary and middle schools in New York, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C. to lead presentations about their home cultures.

"Despite the fact that the students were very young they did their research and knew a lot about my country," said Zineb Slam, a J-1 trainee from Morocco. "I have always thought that children in the USA only knew about their culture and were not that opened to the world, but I was wrong.”

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When people come together and share a common experience, exchanges can erase misconceptions. Uma Ali, of Manchester, England, who was among Muslim student and community leaders from the United Kingdom who explored faith, diversity, and leadership development in the United States, experienced this during one of two Cultural Vistas-led initiatives sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in London, held in January and April of 2015.

Commenting on what surprised her most about her U.S. visit – Uma cited how friendly Americans are, particularly in Oklahoma – one of the many cities her group visited.
Understanding there's no "one size fits all" path to leadership or success was the major takeaway for the nearly 40 participants we welcomed in the spring as part of the TOMODACHI MetLife Women's Leadership Program.

A diverse 10-day U.S. itinerary connected first and second-year Japanese university students with women leaders across sectors, including Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, among others, to showcase new possibilities and inspire the confidence to push past long-held gender norms.

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As Christina Tsafoulias, a 2013-14 Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship alumna and now an advisor for congressional affairs at the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., aptly put it in a recent interview, "understanding people’s motivations has always been key to finding compromise and dynamic solutions – and there is no better way to understand a different society’s motivations than by living in that society and getting a personal feel for why its citizens make decisions the way they do."

This will likely resonate with Anna Siprikova, a Moscow native and Fulbright scholar studying urban planning and development at the University of Oklahoma, who interned for the Project for Public Spaces in New York City in the inaugural year of the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program.
"While volunteering for the University of Oklahoma Institute for Quality Communities, I had a unique chance to travel to a town called Boley," said Siprikova. "It was once a prosperous historically all-black town that has now lost most of its population. I was really touched by the hospitality and open-mindedness of its lifelong residents. It also allowed me to see the United States from another side, facing the same problems as shrinking villages in my home country."

Whether sending Americans abroad or welcoming international visitors to the United States, this notion is central to all that we do.

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By The Numbers

We live in a day and age where international is not an option. It's a necessity.

Every year, Cultural Vistas fulfills that need for close to 6,000 students, professionals, and emerging leaders, across more than 30 unique programs that promote global understanding and collaboration through the lens of career exploration, leadership development, and professional training.

Participant Profile

Participant Profile

Programs In The U.S.

Programs in the US

Programs Outside The U.S.

Programs outside the US

Five Year Growth

Five Year Growth

On the Move in 2015

On the Move 2015

The Future Of U.S.
Global Leadership

More than 90 percent of U.S. students graduate without an international experience.

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That means fewer than 10 percent of young Americans have the opportunity to experience life outside the United States to learn about our country's place in our interdependent world, and to develop many of the competencies only achieved through sustained immersion in a foreign country – language learning, interdisciplinary problem solving, empathy, and respect for cultural attitudes and ideas, to name a few.

Informing young people today leads to effective leaders, better partners, and stronger alliances tomorrow. This is why, as part of our new five-year strategic plan, Cultural Vistas has pledged to help work towards reversing that statistic by tripling the participation rate of Americans across its portfolio of professional exchange programs by the year 2020.
For us, however, it is not just a numbers game. Our focus remains on delivering high-quality, globally-relevant, and affordable opportunities to travel and deepen their cultural fluency, so they can compete and succeed in today's workplace.

We have begun to deliver on our commitment by expanding our portfolio of programs for Americans in 2015 to include customized internship programs in Brazil, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and an urban arts exchange in India sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi to be administered in 2016.

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In 2015, a record 345 Americans took part in our internship, study tour, language immersion, and professional fellowship programs in 28 countries across Asia, Europe, and South America. More than 87% of these individuals received paid internship positions, received full or partial funding, or were awarded scholarships or stipends for language classes from Cultural Vistas to make their experiences possible.

This included the third cohort of the Cultural Vistas Fellowship, which was recently cited among GoAbroad's most innovative new internship programs. Since 2013, this fellowship initiative, which is funded directly by our reserves revenue, has provided more than 40 students from 34 different universities and colleges the opportunity to intern abroad in Berlin, Buenos Aires, and, for the first time this past year, Bangalore, India.
“During my time in India, I not only gained important professional experience in the medical field, but I was challenged to grow and become more independent,” said Mary Nguyen, a 2015 Cultural Vistas Fellow. “My summer in Bangalore gave me the chance to explore to truly engage and consider with my identity as a Vietnamese-American and the privilege of being an American abroad.”

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Because the number one obstacle to pursuing overseas learning opportunities is the expense, we've provided nearly 200 American students with more than $215,000 in scholarship support to pursue low or unpaid internships since 2011.

In 2015, Lilly Kang, who interned for, a language services company in Hamburg, Germany, was among our 34 Cultural Vistas Scholarship recipients.

“Although the traveling road may seem rough, plain, and ordinary, when you step back and view the whole picture, you can truly see how beautiful it is. How beautiful the experience is, and how much it is shaping you," said Kang.
Recent and older alumni alike continually cite their exchanges as integral parts of their personal and professional successes. Colin McCullough, an alumnus of the Alfa Fellowship Program, continually draws upon his year in Moscow in 2007-08 in his role today as a political officer in Astana, Kazakhstan for the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE).

"The Alfa Fellowship Program gave me a chance to let my professional skills develop and helped me acquire the knowledge, confidence and experience necessary to work with the OSCE", said McCullough. "I use some combination of all of these things on a daily basis in Astana and am grateful to the Alfa Fellowship Program for the opportunity to do so."

More On Our Blog

A Year
In Photos

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We Got Some New Digs

In March, we closed the doors of our old office in Maryland and expanded our presence in the nation's capital. Our new, 10,000 square-foot Washington, D.C. office, aptly dubbed the #1250Hub, now houses more than 40 staff and has greatly enhanced the connection and collaboration between area partners, participants, and alumni.

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We Made A Documentary

What is it really like to experience one of our professional exchange programs? With a documentary film crew in tow, this 2014 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project aimed to show just that. In February, we premiered the film for all to see.

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We Jumped In A Lake

During the YSEALI Generation: Earth workshop we organized in Siem Reap, Cambodia in April, a series of field trips illustrated theneed for environmental action, including a visit to the floating villages on the Tonlé Sap Lake, a freshwater ecosystems that is feeling the effects of climate change, which gave new meaning to 'immersive learning'.

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Touring STEM Careers In Berlin And Munich

In May, 16 students and four faculty from Spelman and Morehouse colleges learned firsthand about the global nature of STEM careers during the two-week STEM LAUNCH study tour we hosted for the third consecutive year thanks to the generous funding of the Halle Foundation.

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Inaugural Year Of The Muskie Internship Program

During the The ability to participate in a work experience is an increasingly important part of higher education, and for 40 graduate students from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia studying in the United States – the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program allowed them to do just that in 2015.

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Finding a New Passion in Buenos Aires

Miami native Susana Guzman, a student from Miami, received a Cultural Vistas Fellowship last summer. Her experience in Buenos Aires opened up new opportunities to protect the environment and show her love for children.

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Think Global, Startup Local

The impact of international exchange on Berlin's startup scene was the focus of a panel discussion featuring Berlin startup CEOs hosted by the European office of Cultural Vistas, together with CIEE and the JFK Atlantic Forum. As Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Kornblum offered during his opening remarks, "I have never seen such direct benefit [on foreign policy] as I have seen from exchange programs."

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AYLP Alumni Weekend

Twenty five alumni of our 2013 and 2014 American Youth Leadership Program with Singapore and Malaysia came together in February in the nation's capital for a weekend reunion that included visits to their local representatives on the Hill, sightseeing, and plenty of catching up.

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Two-Way Exchange Develops Young Engineers and Scientists

As the U.S. representative of the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE), Cultural Vistas brought 59 international students to the United States and sent 44 American students, predominantly budding engineers, abroad to 24 different countries around the world for paid, course-related training abroad.

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Working Together to Address Climate Change

In July, Cultural Vistas welcomed climate and renewable energy leaders selected by the U.S. Embassy in London to the United States to learn about American efforts to address climate change. Emphasizing the importance to look at the work taking place in individual states, they came to understand how technology is transforming the way Americans produce and consume energy.

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Discovering American Small Business Abroad

Sometimes it takes leaving home to learn who you truly are. That’s what Jonathon discovered when he left Georgia to live abroad for the first time in Germany as part of the Cultural Vistas Fellowship.

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J-1 Interns Spend a Day at the Bay

Twenty-six interns hailing from Austria, China, France, Japan, Korea, Philippines, and Russia joined us for a 'Day at the Bay' in St. Michaels, Maryland, which included a boat tour on the Chesapeake to learn about the local environment followed by the chance to enjoy a local delicacy: steamed Maryland blue crabs.

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As a mission-driven nonprofit, Cultural Vistas is steadfast in its commitment to fiscal responsibility. We continuously strive to keep administrative costs associated with the operation of our organization within reasonable limits in order to devote the majority of our resources toward those we serve.

Where Did It Come From?

Cultural Vistas derived approximately 54% of its revenue from program service fees, and 46% from individual, corporate, and government direct support of specific exchange program-related expenses.

Where did it come from

Where Did It Go?

The vast majority of our revenue directly funds our mission-focused programs and services. For every dollar spent in 2015, 85 cents went directly towards empowering people to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations and society.

Where did it go

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