International Visitor Leadership Program

Meridian International Center is the largest partner of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a 75 year old U.S. Department of State program that promotes mutual understanding through visits to the U.S., and provides leaders from across the globe the opportunity to share ideas in their fields while building lasting professional relationships. The IVLP annually brings approximately 1800 visitors through our doors.


IVLP brings former white supremacist, Auschwitz Museum workers together

Auschwitz-Birkenau IVLP group at Meridian for their opening session (Photo credit: Matthew Brooks)
A recent IVLP project from Poland, “Educating about Holocaust-related Issues,” exhibited the power of unexpected encounters during exchange programs. Some professional appointments are more predictably impactful than others, but you can never calculate what will happen when strangers meet for the first time. Typically, the conversation ends when the visitors depart for their next meeting, however, one encounter forged an unlikely connection between one former white supremacist and five Polish visitors from the site of one of the world’s most tragic events. Continue  

The Impact of Exchange: Changing Race Relations in South Africa

Frederik de Klerk & Nelson Mandela - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 1992 (Copyright: World Economic Forum)

Today is Election Day in South Africa, 20 years after the country’s first all-race vote and the 5th national election since the fall of apartheid. Many are part of a generation of “born frees” – citizens born after apartheid that are voting for the first time. On this day, we remember a South African visitor that came through our doors for a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (formerly under the U.S. Information Agency) in 1976. He was a member of the South African Parliament under apartheid and had been serving for seven...


Gaming for Change: 10 Digital Games Impacting our World

International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project on Social Change Through the Arts explores social impact gaming.
Playing games can change the world. A pretty bold statement, but that’s precisely the idea behind organizations such as Games for Change, a company that facilitates the creation and distribution of games used as tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. These aren’t just any games, they are “social impact games” designed to present social issues in a way that is uniquely engaging and easy to understand, especially for students and young people. Continue