UK Prime Minister is a Meridian IVLP Alumna

UK Prime Minister Theresa May (via Number 10 on Flickr)


This post is the second entry in a blog series that will detail the itineraries of both current and former Heads of State that participated in the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) through Meridian International Center. The entry below summarizes the IVLP itinerary of UK Prime Minster Theresa May.

Visitor: Prime Minister (as of July 2016) Theresa May
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Program Year: 2004
Travel Itinerary: Washington, DC; Rochester, MN; Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, July 13th of 2016 was the first day of Theresa May’s tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. We at Meridian International Center were delighted to hear this because she had participated in an IVLP facilitated by us in 2004. This blog entry will provide insights into her program and her professional background at that time.

When Ms. May was selected for the IVLP, she was serving as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) representing the “affluent riverside town” of Maidenhead. Her status as a upcoming parliamentary leader earned her a spot in the British American Parliamentary Group (BAPG), which can be read about here. In this entry, Nicholas Wehner aptly described the program:

“Ms. May and several colleagues traveled to the United States for meetings with U.S. congressional representatives to learn about America’s political process and its domestic debates, in turn sharing their perspectives on pressing challenges facing the U.K. and Europe. After spending the first week in Washington, DC visiting Capitol Hill and various government agencies, Ms. May and her BAPG colleagues traveled to congressional districts all over the U.S. to gain an in-depth understanding of constituent issues.”

Travel itinerary (Read Washington, DC; Rochester, MN; Philadelphia, PA)
Travel itinerary (Read Washington, DC; Rochester, MN; Philadelphia, PA)

As Nick noted, Ms. May began her program in Washington, where she and her colleagues were welcomed by high-ranking officials from the State Department and the programming team from Meridian. The team organized a series of meetings with representatives from the Atlantic Council, the Department of Defense, and the White House before sending the group to Capitol Hill. There they participated in panel discussions and individualized Congressional Office visits. Ms. May in particular had an appointment with former Representative Gil Gutknecht, a Republican from Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. She would later join Rep. Gutknecht in Minnesota for a visit to his home district.

Rep. Gutknecht welcomed Ms. May to his home in Rochester, MN for four days that included a rally for President George W. Bush, where Rep. Gutknecht introduced the President. She also spoke about the British Parliament, issues and life in England, and other associated topics in front of more than 100 high school students in the neighboring town of Austin. Outside of professional meetings, Ms. May participated in a couple of parades held in nearby communities.

Following her stay in Rochester, Ms. May rejoined the rest of her colleagues in Philadelphia. Their first day was spent in Harrisburg, where they had several appointments with state representatives at the Capitol Building and met with then Lieutenant Governor Catherine Knoll. The next day was spent in Philadelphia in meetings with the government watchdog Committee of Seventy, the Democratic City Committee, and the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

After the close of the 2004 BAPG, Ms. May returned home to join the British Shadow Cabinet before becoming Home Secretary (2010 – 2016), then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

This post is a part of a series that profiles both current and former heads of state thathave participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program under the facilitation of Meridian International Center. If you are interested in reading more about the Heads of State that have travelled on Meridian administered IVLPs throughout the years, check out the following blogs.

A Profile of IVLP Alumni Becoming Heads of State
IVLP 75th Anniversary Time-lapse Map
Meridian IVLP Alum Becomes U.N. Secretary General

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