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.
Rachel Reed, Assistant Program Director
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.
Jake Beard, Program Officer
Jake joined Cultural Vistas as a Program Officer in 2022. In this role, he designs, plans, and implements a variety of short-term professional exchange projects for IVLP. Prior to working at Cultural Vistas, he was a Program Assistant at the Global Ties KC where he also worked on program development for IVLP projects. Previously, Jake taught History and Introduction to Russian Language at Miami University and The Ohio State University.
Jake earned an MA in History from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and in Eastern European Languages and Cultures from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. In pursuit of these degrees, he explored Russian Imperial history, the history of the Russian language, and concepts of Russian national identity. He earned his BA in History and Philosophy from Northwest Missouri State University and studied abroad in Tallinn, Estonia. He is proficient in Russian.
Margaret LaPré, Program Officer
Margaret joined Cultural Vistas as a Program Officer in July 2022. In this role, she designs, plans, and implements short-term professional exchange projects for IVLP. Before coming to Cultural Vistas, she worked as an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) on a number of J-1 visa categories, including three Fulbright programs, at the Institute of International Education.
Margaret has a MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a BA in International Studies from Boston College. During her master’s, she served as a Transatlantic Ambassador Intern in Mainz, Germany, where she worked on German-American relations at the Atlantic Academy, the State Chancellery, and the US Forces Liaison Office Rheinland-Pfalz. After her undergraduate studies, she received a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to teach English at a high school in Hameln, Germany. She also has experience studying abroad in France and living in Switzerland. Margaret is proficient in German and has studied French.
Sarah Wang, Program Officer
Sarah joined Cultural Vistas as a Program Officer in 2022. Prior to working at Cultural Vistas, she was a Project Assistant and Programs Coordinator at the East-West Center in Washington (EWCW), the Washington, DC office of the Honolulu-headquartered East-West Center, for a combined eight years. In this role she managed the entire conference and events portfolio of EWCW and ran several prestigious fellowships that connected visitors from throughout the Indo-Pacific with their American counterparts. She also served as a founding member of the Center’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group (2020) and a founding co-chair of the Center’s DEI Committee (2021).
Sarah has a MA in Asian Studies from Georgetown University and a BA in International Relations from the University of Delaware with minors in Asian Studies and Mandarin Chinese, including a winter semester abroad at Beijing Normal University. She is proficient in Mandarin.
Sarah’s passion for international exchange began in high school with trips during the summer with the People-to-People International program to Australia (2005) and Japan (2007). In addition to her study abroad program at the University of Delaware, Sarah has also traveled to China and Japan several more times, South Korea, and Taiwan. Through her role at Cultural Vistas she hopes to continue advocating for increased equitable access to study abroad and exchange opportunities for all.
Jamila Barger, Assistant Program Officer
Jamila joined Cultural Vistas as an Assistant Program Officer in 2022. Prior to working at Cultural Vistas, she worked as an Administrative Program Coordinator at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Center, where she coordinated cancer-focused training and education activities.
Jamila has a BA in East Asian Studies and Neuroscience from Smith College in Northampton, MA. She participated on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program where she worked as an Assistant Language Teacher at an agricultural high school and an industrial engineering high school in rural Hyogo Prefecture. She returned to the U.S. and worked as a Diplomatic Assistant in the Management and Coordination Section at the Embassy of Japan. Jamila is passionate about international exchange and education and continues to search for ways to combine her interests in language, culture, identity, and neuroscience. She speaks conversational Japanese.
Lilayali Garcia, Assistant Program Officer
Lilayali Garcia joined Cultural Vistas as an Assistant Program Officer in May 2022. Prior to working at Cultural Vistas, she worked as a Program Coordinator with Global Ties Miami in 2019 where she first gained experience in the logistical planning and implementation of IVLP programs.
Lilayali earned a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs with a concentration in Political Science and a Master in Public Administration, both from Florida State University. She is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. She is fluent in Spanish and has studied French. Lilayali is passionate about learning from other cultures and traveling.
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.