In 1948, MIT president Karl Compton (pictured) and Earl Eames, a senior in chemical engineering active in student government, wanted to contribute to the rebuilding of war-torn Europe. Their solution was to organize a U.S. chapter of the newly-created International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE).
On May 2, 1963, IAESTE United States, one of two organizations that would become Cultural Vistas, was officially established as an independent nonprofit. Today, IAESTE, which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2018, is the the world’s leading coordinator of student exchanges in science and technology.
Our exchange origins can be traced back to the post WWI era. As businesses and political leaders searched for ways to retrain workforces, rebuild economies, and repair bilateral relationships, Carl Duisberg (pictured), a chemist and CEO of Bayer, developed a training program that sent 500 young Germans to experience the American workplace.
Following World War II, alumni of these early exchanges established an organization dedicated to facilitating internship and trainee opportunities between the U.S. and Germany. In January 1968, an independent Carl Duisberg Society (CDS), which would ultimately become Cultural Vistas in 2011, was officially established in New York CIty.
October 2018 will mark 35 years since the inauguration of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX). At celebrations of the 300th tri-centennial of German immigration to America in October of 1983 in Philadelphia, West German President Karl Carstens and U.S. President Ronald Reagan officially announced the creation of the reciprocal exchange. More than 23,000 young people have taken part in this program, which is jointly funded by the U.S. Congress and German Bundestag, with Cultural Vistas managing the young professionals portion.
2018 will also be a milestone for the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program. The nationally competitive fellowship, funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, will send its 35th class of accomplished American fellows to Germany to acquire first-hand experience in the political, economic and cultural environment of Germany and the European Union.
September 22, 2018 will mark the 10 years since the Korea WEST (Work, English Study, Travel) program was created when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan of the Republic of Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding that led to the expansion of bilateral opportunities for young Americans and Koreans to learn about each other’s country by working, studying, and traveling abroad. Cultural Vistas has served as a sponsor since the program’s first round of exchanges began in 2009, and had since provided over 1,250 students and young professionals the opportunity to study English, enrich their academic studies and advance their careers through internships in the United States.
This spring saw a significant milestone achieved in organizational growth as Cultural Vistas relocates its New York City headquarters to the historic Woolworth Building in downtown Manhattan. Our new home at 233 Broadway provides more space and a new platform for engaging our community of New York City alumni, partners, participants, and supporters in exciting ways.