International Exchange 

~ Connecting the Triangle to Global Leaders ~










































































International Focus builds global respect and friendship by facilitating professional and personal dialogue and exchange.

We host delegations of emerging leaders from around the world.  Our exchange guests are identified by U.S. embassies as persons of rising influence with whom the U.S. wishes to build and foster strong bilateral relationships. One-third of current global heads of state are visitor program alumni!

International Focus arranges professional meetings and activities for our visitors in a wide variety of fields across the Triangle area, setting up meetings and collaborations with businesses, universities, municipalities, non-profits, and various other partners to facilitate professional exchange and dialogue. We also arrange cultural and social activities for our delegations, including receptions, events, and home hospitality or stays with our member network.

Our Programs

International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP)

The IVLP is a professional exchange program of the U.S. Department of State designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries. More than 4,000 foreign visitors participate annually in IVLP projects of up to three weeks, including visits to Washington D.C. and two or three other U.S. cities. Notable alumni include Dilma Rousseff, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, and Hamid Karzai.

Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI)

The YLAI Professional Fellows program is a 5-week program for entrepreneurs that brings 250 promising leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean  to the United Stateseach year to expand their leadership and entrepreneurial skills and network through skills-building workshops and opportunities to learn from and exchange with U.S. counterparts. Participants are young entrepreneurs 25-35 years of age, selected via a competitive application process. More than 500 alumni of past YLAI Professional Fellows Programs maintain a cohesive network across Latin America and the Caribbean to support each other’s efforts to improve their own ventures, share best practices, and collaborate to reduce the opportunity gap and contribute to economic prosperity in their communities.

Youth Programs

Youth Programs, such as the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program and the Youth Ambassadors Program, focus on building professional and leadership skills through exchange. Visitors are immersed in workshops and trainings while interacting with the local community and their peers through homestays and cultural activities.

Open World Program

Administered by the Open World Leadership Center, the Open World Program is the first and only international exchange agency in the U.S. Legislative Branch. Through Open World, nearly 18,000 current and future leaders from Central Asia and Eastern Europe have interacted with members of Congress, Congressional staff, and thousands of other Americans.

Community Connections

A program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Community Connections is designed to promote public diplomacy through the exchange of cultural ideas and values between participants and local families and organizations. Through this program, a variety of professionals from former Soviet Union countries avail themselves of practical training opportunities in the United States. Local businesses and private organizations volunteer their time and resources to develop programs for these visitors.