Program Development and Custom Exchanges

At Cultural Vistas, we pride ourselves on creating dynamic means of experiential learning and cultural understanding through a wide array of cross-collaborative programming.

In addition to managing existing programs within our portfolio, we are dedicated to generating new experiences that align with our mission, highlight organizational strengths, and expand our clients’ impact. Some of our primary focus areas include:

  • Experiential Education
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Development
  • Environment and Resource Management
  • STEM
  • Promoting Diversity
  • Professional and Youth Programming

Cultural Vistas thoughtfully delivers high-impact global exchange experiences and internship opportunities tailored to the individual project goals of its partners. If your organization is interested in partnering with us on your next exchange program, please contact us.

Below is a selection of some recent customized exchanges, professional study tours, and initiatives designed and administered by our team.

Our Work

We strive to deliver high-impact educational and professional exchange programs that are designed and administered with the utmost professionalism, and that serve a wide range of stakeholders, from foreign professionals to American students and embassies abroad.

Below is a compilation of some recent customized exchanges, professional study tours, and initiatives designed and administered by our team.

TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program U.S. Tour

Year(s): 2014-2018
Location: United States
Clients: U.S. Embassy, Tokyo; MetLife, Inc.; U.S.-Japan Council

Understanding there is no ‘one size fits all’ path to success has been one of the major takeaways for the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program. Since 2014, Cultural Vistas has brought 50 female Japanese university students to the United States annually for a weeklong professional and leadership exchange program.

As part of this 10-month mentorship program, launched by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the TOMODACHI Initiative and sponsored and supported by MetLife Inc., Cultural Vistas has built interactive, weeklong programs focused on how women achieve success in the modern economy. Cultural Vistas connects these students with female leaders from an array of professional sectors in New York City and Washington, D.C. to inspire the confidence to push past long-held gender norms and towards a more equal future in business.

U.S.-UK Community Leadership in Preventing Violence

Year(s): 2017-2018
Location: United States, United Kingdom
Clients: U.S. Embassy, London

Through a shared goal of establishing resilient communities, the U.S.-UK Community Leadership in Preventing Violence Program brings together British and American leaders to discuss ways of promoting tolerance and curtailing extremism in their hometowns.

This two-way exchange allows representatives of UK and U.S. cities facing similar challenges to discuss best practices to implement in their cities. This includes a Boston marathon bombing survivor traveling to the UK to meet with Manchester and London attack survivors, and a Denver-based non-profit leader receiving the Livingston Fellowship to continue collaboration with Birmingham, UK participants.

Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)

In collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Mission to ASEAN, and U.S. Embassies in the ASEAN region Cultural Vistas has planned and hosted seven mixed-format workshops, regional exchanges, and a small grants program in support of YSEALI.

YSEALI Seeds for the Future
Year(s): 2017-2018
Location: All 10 ASEAN member countries
Clients: U.S. Mission to ASEAN

Year(s): 2017
Location: Manila, The Philippines
Clients: U.S. Embassy, Manila

Additional Recent Initiatives have included:

Russian Business Exchange and Student Training (2016)

RBEST ExchangeYear(s): 2016
Location: United States
Client: U.S. Embassy, Moscow

In 2016, Cultural Vistas began implementing the Russian Business Exchange and Student Training (RBEST) program, a private-sector exchange, funded by a grant from the Embassy of the United States in Moscow, to strengthen business-to-business ties between Russia and the United States. RBEST offered skilled Russian young professionals the opportunity to complete a 4-6 month internship or training program at U.S. host organizations.

The program began with virtual activities and an orientation seminar in Moscow, followed by 4-to-6 month placements that our staff secured by matching the individual participants with U.S. hosts seeking to advance relations with Russia.

Wanhua Chemical Group International Internship Program (2015-2017)

WanhuaYear(s): 2015-2017
Location: United States
Client: Wanhua Chemical Group Co., Ltd

Wanhua Chemical, of Yantai, China, has partnered with Cultural Vistas to arrange exchange programs for front-line managers to better understand the culture of the American workforce. Through a three-month U.S. training experience, participants engage in English language classes, seminars and site visits, as well as two months of on-the-job training in their fields.

U.K. Climate and Energy Leaders (2015)

UK Climate GroupYear(s): 2015
Location: United States
Clients: U.S. Embassy, London

In July 2015, Cultural Vistas welcomed climate and renewable energy leaders from the United Kingdom for a two-week professional visit to learn about American efforts to combat climate change. Emphasizing the important to look at the work taking place at the state level, they came to understand how technology is transforming the way Americans produce and consume energy.

Leaders met and engaged with a variety of organizations and institutions, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York City’s Office of Sustainability, City of Fort Collins Climate Hub, and the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, and returned home with a more nuanced view of American efforts in the climate space, as well as with new ideas and expanded networks for future cooperation.

Thai Political Leaders for Professional Exchange Program (2015)

Year(s): 2015
Location: United States
Client: U.S. Embassy, Bangkok

In November 2015, Cultural Vistas designed and implemented a 10-day visit for 10 rising political leaders from Thailand focused on preparations for the U.S. presidential election. This initiative focused on examining the U.S. primary system and election process, including political party management and conflict, anti-voter fraud mechanisms, social media outreach, and other digital campaign tools.

The 10 leaders represented four different political parties in Thailand, including the Peua Thai Party, the Democrat Party, and non-partisan observers, including a member of Thailand’s Election Commission.

U.K. Young Muslim Leaders Exchange (2015 +2014)

Young Muslim Leaders ExchangeYear(s): 2015, 2014
Location: United States
Client: U.S. Embassy, London

More than 30 Muslim university students and community leaders from the United Kingdom have explored faith, diversity, and leadership development in the United States during three Cultural Vistas-led initiatives sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in London over the past few years. Our staff has designed short-term tours that highlight the diversity of the United States, its system of government, its for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and its education system, as well as examples of our culture of volunteerism, optimism, and the many ways in which we practice and show our faiths.

Participants engaged with peers through interfaith dialogue sessions and completed workshops to further enhance their leadership skills. The student leaders also engaged with a variety of organizations and Muslim leaders from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, San Francisco, and Chicago.

American Youth Leadership Program (2014, 2012, 2011)

AYLP 2014Year(s): 2014, 2012, 2011
Location: Japan, Malaysia, Singapore
Client(s): U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

More than 65 American high school students (ages 15-17) and several teachers have been introduced to the people, cultures, and ecology of Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore with a specific focus on these nations’ approaches to sustainable development through Cultural Vistas’ work administering the American Youth Leadership Program, supported by grants from the U.S. Department of State.

These initiatives included four months of virtual learning engagement, three-week study tours in Asia, which included educational, cultural, and community service activities, lectures, sightseeing, and homestays; followed by post-program service projects implemented by all participants within their local communities involving the skills and knowledge acquired during the exchange.

Our Team

Dan Ewert, VP for Program Research, Partnerships, + Innovation

Dan EwertDan serves as the Vice President for Program Research, Partnerships and Innovation, and the National Secretary of the United States affiliate of the International Association of the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE).

He has been with the organization since 1994, including stints as Director of Career Development Exchanges, Director of Program Development and Vice President of Programs and Sales.

Previously, Dan served as the Director of Internships for The Washington Center, where he managed the organization’s business, economics, health and science placements, and was a teaching associate for its foreign policy seminars. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member for the organization since 1991, co-leading a college-level course on research methodology and writing.

Additionally, Dan has been a student advisor at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Director of Personnel for Federal Business Centers in Edison, New Jersey.

Dan also currently acts as the Treasurer and founding member of the Board of Directors of the Global Pathways Project, a non-profit organization that helps expose inner-city Baltimore youth to international events and opportunities.

He has presented at a number of national conferences of NAFSA, the American Society of Experiential Education, the Clean Energy Workforce Education Council, the American Academy of Science, the Cooperative Education International Association, the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce, AMCHAM Brazil, AMCHAM Vietnam, NAFSA’s Embassy Dialogue Committee, the National Society for Experiential Education, and the Intercultural Management Institute.

Dan holds a masters degree in geography from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a bachelor’s degree in international studies and Asian studies from American University in Washington, D.C.

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Courtney Nelson, Director

Courtney NelsonCourtney serves as Cultural Vistas’ Director of Program Development and Placement Services, designing and implementing innovative international exchange programs and advocating for cross-cultural engagement.

Courtney previously managed the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program, a summer internship program funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by Cultural Vistas, providing Fulbright leaders from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia with professional development in an American workplace. This included sourcing summer internship placements as well as orientation events, virtual programming, and a closing seminar for participants to share work experiences and support career development.

Before coming to Cultural Vistas, Courtney worked at the U.S. Department of State managing programs for the Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies, promoting civil society engagement and public diplomacy. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Conflict Resolution from American University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Texas A&M University.

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Sarah Bashaw, Assistant Director

Sarah BashawSarah serves as the assistant director within Cultural Vistas’ program development department where she helps manage new programs and oversees the Japan Internship for the Development of Young Leaders Program (IDYL).

Joining Cultural Vistas in 2013, she administered the Kizuna Project, which brought Japanese university students directly impacted by the 2011 Great Earthquake and Tsunami to the U.S. for cultural exchange and short-term internships. She also served as program officer supporting the Korea WEST Program, successfully managing orientations, streamlining program components, and liaising with over 200 host organizations and participants.

Before coming to Cultural Vistas, Bashaw taught English to Japanese youth outside of Tokyo for two years followed by managing volunteer services at the Fells historic estate and garden. She knows the first-hand impact of international exchange through living in the United Kingdom for seven years and graduating from international high school.

Bashaw graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and minor in Pre-Medicine.

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Aaron Eisenberg, Program Officer

Aaron EisenbergAaron leads the organization’s embassy initiatives, where he designs, creates and implements short-term innovative programs and workshops for U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

He has led two Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Regional Workshops. In April 2015, he administered YSEALI Generation: Earth in Siem Reap, Cambodia focused on environmental advocacy, and in March 2016 he administered YSEALI Generation: Oceans in Jakarta, Indonesia. Both programs featured participants from all 10 ASEAN countries along with the United States and worked to develop action plans to combat climate change.

In 2014, he supported the American Youth Leadership Program in Singapore and Malaysia focused on environmental sustainability. His efforts in the region led him to be invited to attend a White House town hall discussion on youth development in Southeast Asia hosted by President Obama. In the U.S. he has led programs for U.S. embassies on issues ranging from inclusive societies to climate change to journalism.

Aaron graduated from University of Rochester with a bachelor of arts in history and minors in international relations and Italian and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the CUNY Graduate Center in Migration and Global Cities focusing on climate issues. He is a member of Global Kids Young Professionals Committee.

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Rachel Reed, Program Officer

Rachel ReedRachel serves as a program officer for the Japan Internship for the Development of Young Leaders Program (IDYL) and the program development team.

In this role, she coordinates with our partners in Japan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to implement Japan IDYL, a U.S.-Japan exchange program providing Japanese students and researchers with the opportunity to come to the United States to complete professional internships.

Reed also works with our office in Berlin to facilitate the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange Program, a U.S.-German exchange program for integration practitioners.

Prior to joining Cultural Vistas, Reed lived in Akita, Japan for three years and worked as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. She has also held two separate positions at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. as a diplomatic assistant in the political section for two years and also as the review committee liaison for the JET office processing over 4000 applications. She has served as a member of the JET review committee every year since 2013 and she is the current social chair of the JET Alumni Association of Washington, D.C.

Reed graduated magna cum laude from Gettysburg College with a bachelor’s in Japanese studies. As a student, she studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan for two semesters.

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Phoebe Heibeck, Assistant Program Officer

Phoebe works as an assistant program officer within the Cultural Vistas’ program development department, assisting and supporting operations for international exchange programs with U.S. Embassies and other entities worldwide.

Phoebe has extensive experience in public affairs and program management. Before joining Cultural Vistas in 2017, Phoebe worked for Catholic Relief Services, an international development and humanitarian aid agency in Baltimore, Maryland. In this role, she implemented and supported outreach programs in the United States, working with offices in 101 countries around the world. Prior to her international development work, she served as a campaign manager in Missouri and in many different capacities at the university level working one-on-one with students.

Heibeck graduated from Saint Louis University (Go Billikens!) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international studies. As a student she studied in Madrid, Spain for a semester, where she also had the opportunity to volunteer with the U.S. Embassy.

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