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 an 80-plus-year history, it is the longest-running State Department-sponsored exchange program. Cultural Vistas is one of eight 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 2021, Cultural Vistas will celebrate its tenth 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, Assistant Program Director
Steven serves as an Assistant Program Director 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 also implements specialized professional exchange programs in the United States on behalf of American embassies abroad, foreign governments, and other private funders.
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.
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. Concurrently, she also manages the recruitment and pre-departure functions of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program, which is entering its final year (2020-2021).
In 2014, Michelle helped implement the first all-virtual IVLP, which involved environmental experts and whale watching tour company professionals from Iceland. Additionally, 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.
Michelle holds an MPA in Public Administration from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, obtained in 2019. She also received her BA in 2010 in International Relations from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs is proficient in French.
Rachel Reed, Sr. Program Officer
Rachel serves as a Senior Program Officer designing, planning, and implementing a variety of short-term professional exchange projects for IVLP. In this role, she liaises with both Cultural Vistas and State Department colleagues to coordinate project goals and objectives. She also implements specialized professional exchange programs overseas on behalf of U.S. embassies abroad, foreign governments, and other private funders. She has led domestic exchanges from Charlotte, NC to Anchorage, AK, as well as exchanges overseas, including Japan, Germany, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, ASEAN and the UAE.
Before joining IVLP, Rachel was a Senior Program Development Officer, creating and implementing innovative exchange programs, from 2015-2020. She specialized in developing programming for the U.S. Embassy Tokyo and in leading TechCamp Workshops in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State. She has worked on topics such as the prevention of transnational crime, social entrepreneurship, women’s leadership, and developing an Indo-Pacific identity. She previously oversaw the Japan Internship for the Development of Young Leaders (IDYL) Program from 2015-2018, connecting Japanese university students to host organizations in the United States for internships. She also collaborated closely with the Cultural Vistas Berlin Office to implement the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE) Program from 2016-2018, a reciprocal exchange program between the US and Germany for integration practitioners working with immigrant and refugee communities.
Rachel is an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) for the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and is an expert in J-1 Visa Regulations for the intern and trainee categories. She has served on the Cultural Vistas Intercultural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (ICDEI) since 2018 and the Alumni Engagement Taskforce since its formation in 2020. Prior to joining Cultural Vistas, Rachel lived in Akita, Japan for three years (2010-2013) and worked as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. She is the President of the JET Alumni Association of Washington DC and serves on the JET Program Review Committee. Rachel graduated magna cum laude from Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies and is proficient in Japanese.
Chelsea Beaulieu, Program Officer
Chelsea joined Cultural Vistas as an Assistant Program Officer for IVLP in 2018 and was promoted to Program Officer in January 2020. Prior to working at Cultural Vistas, she was Communications and Marketing Officer at the World Affairs Councils of America. Previously, Chelsea assisted with the IVLP and developing speaker panels for the Vermont Council on World Affairs.
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.
Catherina Rojas, Assistant Program Officer
Catherina Rojas currently serves as an Assistant Program Officer in which she is responsible for the logistical planning and implementation of IVLP programs.
She previously worked as a Program Specialist with Cultural Vistas’ Train USA program, overseeing the sponsorship and compliance of 300+ yearly Exchange Visitor Programs. Prior to joining Cultural Vistas, she interned with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), where she monitored and analyzed intergovernmental and inter-agency meetings within the UN system.
Catherina earned a Master of arts in International Relations from Saint Petersburg State University in Saint Petersburg, Russia. During her time in Russia, she initiated and moderated exchanges aimed at increasing awareness of contrasting perspectives between Russians and foreigners. Prior to pursuing a Master’s, Catherina worked in business development for Evergreen Shipping, where she managed US export accounts and assisted with the monitoring of the Latin American market.
Catherina also holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a double major in anthropology from Florida International University in Miami, FL. She is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Russian.
Katie Schmitt, Assistant Program Officer
Katie currently serves as an Assistant Program Officer. She joined Cultural Vistas as a Program Specialist for the Train USA program in September 2019 before joining the IVLP team in June 2020. Prior to working at Cultural Vistas, she worked as the Leadership Development Operations Coordinator at American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Katie has a BA in German and International Relations with a concentration in religion from Florida State University. After her undergraduate studies, she spent a year in Bremen, Germany as a participant on the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program. Katie spends her free time traveling, playing rugby, and checking out new restaurants around DC.
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.