Obama’s Best Quote from the #SOTU

President Obama delivers the State of the Union address on Wednesday, January 28, 2014.


We may be a little biased, but our ears definitely perked up when we heard this one:


Since we know a thing or two about exchanges here at Meridian, here are a few things you may not know behind this quote:

1. “In the Americas…”

Collins Map Stickers
Senior Program Officer Henry Collins labels each country with the number of projects he’s programmed from that country.

You could probably guess that we don’t just do exchanges with the Americas. However, the first International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), one of the oldest exchange programs in the U.S., did come from Latin America. In 1940, Nelson Rockefeller brought a group of 130 journalists to tour the United States.

2. “…we’re expanding cultural and educational exchanges…”

Tapestry IVLP
Professionals participating in IVLP exchanges in the 1960s and in 2013.

While most people associate the term international exchanges with studying abroad, a large portion of exchanges are considered professional exchanges. The IVLP is a great example, which brings over 5,000 professionals to the United States every year.

3. “…among young people.”

Nebraska Food Security
Participants from Japan visit Nebraska on an IVLP Food Security project.

Exchanges for young people are definitely popular, which can refer to study abroad programs or specialized youth programs. Our GlobalConnect division has a lot of experience designing these specialized projects. However, most of the participants in the IVLP program are between ages 25 and 40, with many exceeding that age. Who says you can only immerse yourself in a culture when you’re young?