Professional Exchanges

Each year, we welcome around 350 current and emerging leaders from 85+ countries to Philadelphia through programs and initiatives of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

We coordinate unique experiences in and around Philadelphia for these international guests, such as virtual and in-person professional meetings, tours, cultural and social events, and home hospitality.

The International Visitor Leadership Program of the U.S. Department of State is operated with funding provided by the U.S. Government, administered by Global Ties U.S.


The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. American embassies abroad nominate current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields to participate in short-term exchanges in the U.S. the goal of public diplomacy is to connect IVLP visitors with non-profit, business, and civic leaders in the Philadelphia region to spark meaningful dialogue and collaboration. More than 500 IVLP participants are current or former heads of foreign heads of state or government.

Is a two-way, global exchange program designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, as well as build lasting, sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders from Europe, Eurasia, Southeast Asia and the United States. Participants are placed in intensive 5-6 week fellowships in non-profit organizations, private sector businesses, and government offices across the United States for an individually tailored professional development experience. Annually Philadelphia hosts 4-9 Fellows each year.

Brings youth athletes, coaches, and administrators from around the world to the United States for sports-based exchanges that address U.S. embassy and consulate priorities and U.S. foreign policy goals.

Building networks of women entrepreneurs across Sub-Saharan Africa who are poised to transform their communities by owning; running; and operating small and medium businesses, and driving social and economic progress in their communities and countries.

Brings emerging international journalists from around the world to examine journalistic practices in the Philadelphia region and United States.

The Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) Fellowship Program is a two-way exchange program for emerging entrepreneurs. We are partners to World Chicago to host 6-9 fellows in Philadelphia.

Brings emerging leaders from Eurasian countries including Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Uzbekistan to the United States with their professional counterparts on topics including accountable governance, American judicial system, women as leaders, NGO development and management, public health, economic development, and the environment.

Enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists from abroad to research and study in the United States for one year or longer at U.S. universities or other appropriate institutions. When Fulbright students are in Philadelphia for a weekend-long leadership seminar, Citizen Diplomats like you host a dinner for them, either at home or at a restaurant. More than 130 of the brightest scholars from around the world are eager to see the real Philadelphian during their visit—learn how to host a Fulbright Scholar below.

Brings young leaders from sub-Saharan African countries to the United States each year for academic coursework and leadership training with the goal of creating unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries. Each summer, when Fellows are at Drexel University, we contract to arrange dinner hosts.

Relationships Drive Diplomacy

Exchanges typically bring visitors to Philadelphia for 4-10 days and fellowships for 3-4 weeks. As a national Global Ties U.S. network member, we serve as the Philadelphia region’s sole coordinator of the International Visitor Leadership Program. We are one of the top member-based organizations to host exchanges.

When you become a Citizen Diplomat, you can volunteer to host international guests, which allows professional leadership exchange participants to explore issues in the U.S. context, learn more about U.S. society, and understand American values, directly from you!

Our two-way fellowship programs allow you to be nominated to travel for an exchange to your Fellow’s country.

Volunteer and Become a Host

Hosting a dinner is an easy and fun way for you to connect with a diverse group of emerging leaders, many of whom will be visiting the U.S. for the first time. Welcoming them to your home for a meal or taking them out to a restaurant is a great opportunity for you to make friends and keep learning about our world.

If you have an extra bedroom, then you are ready to be a homestay host. By sharing your home with a guest for 3-5 days you can bring a global perspective directly to your door! You will hear unique perspectives and professional backgrounds of professional emerging leaders selected and vetted to particpate in prestigious leadership exchange progams. Our international visitors aree eager to learn about life through your eyes. You may find the best connections between people often happen in the most informal moments of our day.

You can benefit from having a global perspective from an emerging leader at work. Through a meeting in your office to discuss best practices or a four-week internship where you work closely with an international professional fellow on a specific joint project -- and maybe win a prestigious reverse exchange to their home country. From small independently operated businesses to our city’s largest law firms, the Council tailors participation and sponsorships to your company’s needs.

“The Home Hospitality program has allowed my family to meet people from around the world and share not only American culture but also learn about our guests’ respective home cultures.”

Professional Leadership Exchange Host


Please complete our volunteer application.

When a specific Dinner Hosting date arises, then you will receive another hosting survey to collect additional information. The survey are our chance to get to know you better so we can pair you with groups of international visitors. Specifically, we ask for your contact information, professional experience, volunteer experience, educational background, language skills, international travel and overall interests.

We estimate each Dinner Hospitality is a 4 to 8 hour commitment if you consider all the communicating, planning, shopping, learning about your visitors, transportation, the meal, and clean up. We offer 12-25 opportunities to dinner host each year. Whenever possible, we try to give you 1-2 weeks advance notice. We especially appreciate your willingness to accommodate visitors on short notice or during holiday periods, but we understand that this may not always be possible. The size of the groups varies from 1-4 depending upon the visitors’ language abilities and your capacity to host.

We do our best to match hosts and guests based on language, interests, and fields of expertise.  If an International Visitor’s language ability requires it, then an interpreter will be assigned to accompany the visitors.

It typically takes 1-3 business days to sort through all the host survey responses.

Current Council members receive the first placement and then we accommodate all other volunteer requests on a first-come, first-serve basis. We average 12-25 hosting opportunities per year.

This should be a casual experience and the meal served does not need to be elaborate. Dietary restrictions, smoking, and pet concerns will be clearly stated in advance. One week to four days before the dinner you will receive a confirmation from our program team. Should you not receive a call the day before the hospitality, you may wish to contact Anna Schneider, Director of IVLP and Professional Exchanges directly at 267-546-7335 or

We will confirm all the details with you at least 4 days before the planned dinner. We will try to make it sooner if we can, but sometimes we do not get dietary restrictions until our international guests arrive in America.

The appropriate length of time for Dinner/Home Hospitality is completely at your discretion, but you should plan for about two hours. Depending on how the conversation goes, it could take longer or shorter. You should always feel comfortable setting a limit and politely giving notice when it’s time to wrap things up.

Absolutely! Our International leaders want to meet Americans while they are here – both as friends and as professional contacts. They are traveling for 3 weeks in hotels and dinner with you, your kids, your pets, and your friends are a welcome break. Want to grab cocktails at your favorite restaurant? Stroll around City Hall or simply your garden? and then have dinner – that sounds wonderful too. It is up to you to design your evening.

Since many of the international visitors have recently arrived in the U.S. and may not yet feel comfortable using our public transportation, we would greatly appreciate it if you could meet the visitors at their hotel and return them at the end of the evening. Our preference for hosts to pick up and drop off guests personally at their hotel accommodations. We can accommodate regional rail or public transportation costs, if necessary. Hosts can also elect to arrange and pay for a taxi, Lyft or uber and our Program Officer will work with you directly to coordinate with the visitors. Unfortunately, we are unable to cover the costs of taxi, Lyft or uber transportation.

We encourage you to follow up with Council Staff by phone or email. Speak freely about your experience and give us any thoughts and suggestions that would enhance future Home Hospitalities. If you know of anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer, please forward this webpage! If you have given permission in your host survey to share your contact information, then your international guests will be able to contact you in the future. You should ask your international guests for their contact info to follow up in the future.

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State

How to Get Involved

Professional Leadership Exchanges

Dinner, Homestay, & Workplace Hosting

Hosts will be matched with professionals who share your interest in specific languages, countries, or topics such as the environment, politics, and culture. You can personalize the experience by choosing to host a dinner, becoming a homestay host, or serving as a workplace host. Volunteering creates truly unique experiences by deepening your understanding of a foreign country, helping you grow as a person, and providing you with new friends from around the world.

U.S. Citizen Exchange Programs

The U.S. Department of State offers many programs for American citizens wishing to go abroad for cultural, educational, or professional exchange. Please visit the ECA’s Exchange Program Finder to get the information you need to get started on your journey abroad.