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The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging leaders from a variety of fields experience this country first-hand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American professional peers. Each year, nearly 5,000 exchange participants come to the U.S. on the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Global Ties Iowa hosts about 120 IVLP participants yearly. In the last 75 years, more than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including more than 335 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government.​

Programs & Events


The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and local community engagement. YALI was created in 2010 to support young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. Since 2014, through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals. The cohort of Fellows hosted by the University of Iowa will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 educational institutions across the United States.  

Global Ties Iowa has partnered with the Tippie College of Business since 2016 to provide an orientation, cultural excursions and Iowa hospitality for the Mandela Washington Fellows. 

Fee for service

Is your organization, college, department, or business bringing international visitors to Eastern Iowa? Let us help host them! Global Ties Iowa can take your visitors on cultural excursions (sporting events, heritage sites, museums, etc.), arrange professional meetings, and host Iowa Table dinners for visitors in one of our citizen diplomats’ homes. Contact for more details.

Annual Membership Meeting & Potluck Dinner

Global Ties Iowa's Annual Membership Meeting & Potluck Dinner is a celebration with all of our members and volunteers to acknowledge their continued support in helping us greet, guide, host, and give. We have opportunities for membership renewal, hand out volunteer awards, dine on international cuisine, elect board members, listen to a keynote address, discuss any new changes, and talk about the amazing year we've had!

Celebration of Citizen Diplomacy

The annual Celebration of Citizen Diplomacy (CCD) has previously included dinner, dessert, awards, raffle prizes, a keynote address, and great conversation for our members and guests. Due to COVID-19 precautions, our fifth annual Celebration took place at City Park. We enjoyed outdoor games and a meal with the Mandela Washington Fellows, a delegation from Sri Lanka, and our local community members.

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