The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) builds mutual understanding through carefully designed short-term visits to the United States for current and emerging foreign leaders.
Through the combination of meetings, site visits, and focused cultural events, IVLP, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, promotes a deeper understanding of the political, social, economic and cultural diversity of the United States; a thorough exposure to a range of responsible viewpoints; and the opportunity to develop meaningful professional relationships.
With a 75-plus-year history, it is the longest-running State Department-sponsored exchange program. Cultural Vistas is one of seven National Program Agencies (NPAs) that works together with the U.S. Department of State to administer, design, and implement IVLP projects.
In this role, our staff are responsible for arranging professional and cultural itineraries throughout the United States that directly support and advance U.S. foreign policy goals, while reflecting the interests of each international visitor. We perform significant research into project themes, arrange an orientation session in Washington, D.C., and work with affiliates of Global Ties U.S. to complete each IVLP project.
Since 1940, more than 200,000 visitors have interacted with Americans through the International Visitor Leadership Program. IVLP annually brings approximately 5,000 international visitors from around the world to the United States to meet and confer with their professional counterparts.
The international visitors are current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other key fields. Alumni of the program include more than 335 former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government, who proudly call themselves IVLP alumni.
The IVLP is organized within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and operates under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961.
In October 2016, Cultural Vistas celebrated its fifth anniversary of becoming a National Program Agency selected to facilitate the IVLP. This program has created an exciting opportunity for our nonprofit to apply its wealth of experience towards programming short-term visits and exchange opportunities between international and American professionals.
Some of our Cultural Vistas’ previous IVLP participants have met with the following organizations and representatives:
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- U.S. Court of Appeals
- White House
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
- Chairman of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Martin Castro
In February 2015, Cultural Vistas created a documentary to celebrate the program’s 75th anniversary.
A year later, in February 2016, we celebrated our 1,000th IVLP visitor.
- All IVLP participants are selected and nominated annually by American Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Embassies around the world.
Inside the IVLP Experience
Paul Champaloux, Sr. Director
Paul serves as Senior Director at Cultural Vistas. He is responsible for the operations, strategic planning, program administration, and financial management of the Exchange Visitor and Grant Program Department (including the International Visitor Leadership Program [IVLP]) and the Global Programs for Young Professionals Department (such as the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange [CBYX]).
Paul was a Program Officer with IVLP from 2014-2018 and initially arrived at Cultural Vistas as an Assistant Program Officer with the Train USA Department, where he helped provide J-1 Visa sponsorship for international interns and trainees coming to the United States to develop their professional skills and experience American culture. He additionally served as a Social Events Coordinator and organized cultural activities for J-1 participants across the country. Prior to this, Paul was an Assistant Language Teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program for three years in rural Wakayama Prefecture. There, he taught English at primary and secondary schools and acted as an international exchange representative for a number of professional groups including the Rotary Club Foundation, Lion’s Club, and Bambous Noirs et Pommiers Blancs Sister City Exchange. He also volunteered with local groups to provide disaster relief in Rikuzentakata-shi, a town that was hit hard by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
Paul earned a MA in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University in Paris, France where he explored issues of European identity and multilingualism. He earned his BA in French studies from Davidson College in North Carolina and studied abroad in Tours, France. He is fluent in French and proficient in Japanese.
Steven Washington, Sr. Program Officer
Steven serves as a Senior Program Officer with Cultural Vistas. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, he is responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of a variety of IVLP projects.
He had previously served as a program director with Cultural Vistas for five years, developing and implementing a variety of short-term, experience-based exchange programs for foreign visitors and Americans traveling overseas for both students and professionals. This included the design and implementation of the Global Career Launch program for university-level students from China, Hong Kong, and Macau. He has also been an Alternate Responsible Officer for Cultural Vistas’ J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program and has conducted orientations for participants both in the United States and overseas. In addition, he has nine years of experience as a travel agent for Travel and Transport, including recruitment and training of new staff.
Steven earned his MPA and BA in international studies and economics from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. He studied abroad in France and Austria and is fluent in French and German.
Michelle Kulikauskas, Sr. Program Officer
Michelle serves as a Senior Program Officer with Cultural Vistas designing, planning, and implementing a variety of short-term professional exchange projects. In this role, she liaises with both Cultural Vistas and State Department colleagues to coordinate project goals, objectives, and social media strategy.
Michelle assisted in the implementation of the four-day Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Generation EARTH workshop in Siem Reap, Cambodia in April 2015. She first came to Cultural Vistas as an intern with the IVLP program after a year working as a Management Analyst at Human Capital Initiatives, LLC in Washington, D.C. Prior to this, Michelle worked as an intern for the Streit Council for a Union of Democracies. She studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, where she completed a research paper on understanding the dynamics of Switzerland’s neutrality policy.
Michelle holds a BA in international relations from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs is proficient in French.
Sarah Amin, Program Officer
Sarah serves as a Program Officer. She first joined the organization during the spring of 2015 as an Assistant Program Officer responsible for the logistical planning and implementation of IVLP programs.
Prior to joining Cultural Vistas, Sarah served as a research assistant for international fellows participating in the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship program at the National Endowment for Democracy. In this capacity, she supported professional and academic fellows in residence from the Middle East, East-Central Europe, as well as South, Central, and East Asia. Sarah previously served as a project assistant with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, where she developed an understanding of both grassroots and grasstops strategies to promote inclusive development and civil society participation for socioeconomically marginalized populations in transitioning countries.
Sarah earned her MA in international affairs from American University where she focused on human rights, gender, and disability. She received her BA in international studies from Dickinson College.
Chelsea Beaulieu, Assistant Program Officer
Chelsea joined Cultural Vistas as an Assistant Program Officer for IVLP in August 2018. She was first introduced to the IVLP at the local level through her work as a Program Assistant at the Vermont Council on World Affairs, beginning in 2016. In 2017, she was selected for the Emerging Leaders program at the Global Ties U.S. National Meeting, where she solidified her desire to work in international exchange. Prior to her current position, Chelsea was Communications and Marketing Officer at the World Affairs Councils of America, an international education membership organization serving local World Affairs Councils around the United States.
Chelsea has a BA in global studies and French and an MA in international affairs from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. During her undergraduate studies, she spent a semester abroad in Hyderabad, India. Chelsea is passionate about travel, learning, and food. She spends her leisure time exploring the unique access to culture and knowledge that DC has to offer.
Jorge Bagaipo, Assistant Program Officer
Jorge currently serves as an Assistant Program Officer. He first joined Cultural Vistas as an intern for the Train USA program in May 2018 before joining the IVLP team as an Administrative Assistant in November 2018.
He previously interned at the Peace Corps’ Office of Civil Rights and Diversity as well as with Creative Learning’s Aid to Artisans. He also spent a semester abroad studying environmental and social issues in Heredia, Costa Rica.
Jorge holds a BA in International Studies with a concentration in international development and environmental sustainability from American University where he has also dedicated significant time to coordinating events for Filipino and Southeast Asian organizations. He is fluent in Tagalog and proficient in Spanish. He spends his spare time traveling, hiking, cycling, and finding the best food places in DC.
Amy Goeppinger, Program Officer
Amy recently joined Cultural Vistas as a Program Officer to support our partners and participants in a variety of short-term professional exchange projects.
Prior to joining Cultural Vistas, Amy spent the last ten year working with various government agencies, non-profit organizations and educational institutes in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She began her international career as a natural resource management advisor in rural Mali and implemented several community-based projects with the US Peace Corps. Amy also served as a classroom teacher in Tanzania and as a TEFL/TESOL instructor in South Korea (Republic of South Korea), and (Union of) Comoros. More recently, she acted as a short-term education technical consultant for a USAID project in Lebanon, provided capacity and leadership training to partners and teams in Uganda, and managed over 80 international volunteers to support various projects and initiatives around Malawi.
Amy earned her MA in international education from SIT Graduate Institute (School for International Training) with a focus on program evaluation. She received her BS in psychology from Wittenberg University (Ohio). She is familiar with several African dialects and is looking forward to improving her French.
Osawaru Oghagbon, Administrative Assistant
Osawaru joined Cultural Vistas in August 2019 as an Administrative Assistant for Exchange Visitor and Grant Programs and Train USA.
Osawaru holds a BA in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and a minor in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from Virginia Commonwealth University. While at VCU, he attended a semester long study abroad program at the University Of Westminster.
Apart from academics, Osawaru was a member of the VCU Men’s Track and Field team in 2017-2018. Outside of work, Osawaru enjoys cycling and movies.
Want to Get Involved?
As an IVLP National Program Agency, we are continually looking to build upon our knowledge of experiential-based learning and to expand our existing relationships with organizations and individuals throughout the United States. If your company is interested in meeting with a relevant group of visitors or if you live in the Washington, D.C. metro area and are interested in hosting an IVLP group, let us know.
International Visitor Leadership Program
National Program Agency
This is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Cultural Vistas.