PROGRAMS | Citizen Diplomacy

Citizen Diplomacy

Since our founding in 1990, GlobalJax has hosted over 2,000 emerging leaders from over 160 countries who met with their local counterparts in business, government, education, NGO leadership, healthcare, law enforcement, journalism and much more.

Each of our visitors is a participant of a prestigious international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, The Library of Congress Open World Program, or U.S. Embassies abroad.

Our effort to provide a grassroots approach to diplomacy is rewarded by transforming community members into informed international citizens, bringing global experiences to students and individuals, and empowering our community to thrive in a global society. Our exchange programs also expose visitors to the United States and provide a firsthand experience of democracy at all levels of society to help transform perceptions of the United States all over the world. Together, our visitors and community members leave their experience with international exchange as citizens of the world and not just of their local community.

International Visitor Leadership Program

The IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders. Over the last 70 years, the IVLP has developed into the premier professional exchange program in the U.S. and brings over 200 emerging leaders to Jacksonville every year.

Under the authority of the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassies around the world identify potential leaders and the Office of International Visitors allocates the program to one of seven nongovernmental programming agencies. These agencies assign city visits to the 92 local volunteer cities, under the umbrella organization of the National Council of International Visitors (NCIV). Once nominated, the delegates work together with the Department of State and programming agencies to determine professional program objectives that relate to the visitors' professional field for their time spent in the United States, which will include a week in Washington, DC and at least three other U.S. cities.

As a member of NCIV, GlobalJax is selected to manage all local professional and cultural activities for visitors in the Jacksonville area, including Tallahassee and the FLETC in Glynco, Georgia. Our International Visitors meet with professional resources from all fields of business, have meals with members of GlobalJax, and spend their free time enjoying Jacksonville's beaches and cultural opportunities. Our citizen diplomats - members of GlobalJax - are what make this program beneficial by contributing knowledge, time and a handshake all in the name of furthering positive international relations.

Distinguished Alumni

Since its inception in 1940, thousands of distinguished individuals have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program, including more than 290 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, thousands of cabinet-level ministers, and many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.

Some of the most notable participants include: Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya; Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe; Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan; Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France; Tony Blair, Prime Minister of United Kingdom; Dr. Ahmed Nazif, Prime Minister of Egypt; and Felipe de Jesus Calderon, President of Mexico.

The Library of Congress' Open World Program

Since its founding by Congress in 1999, the Open World Program has enabled more than 14,000 current and future Eurasian leaders to experience American democracy, civil society and community life; work with their American counterparts; stay in American homes; and gain new ideas and inspiration for implementing change back home. Some 6,000 American host families and their communities in all 50 states have participated in the Open World Program to make this ambitious public diplomacy effort possible.

GlobalJax hosts up to three of these intense weeklong programs each year. Unlike IVLP participants, Open World participants stay with locals in their homes for the duration of their visit to Jacksonville. This allows close relationships to develop between hosts and guest(s) that often result in friendships that last a lifetime and invitations for reciprocal visits. Participating Countries include Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Russia. Additionally, Russia's nearly 13,000 participants have come from all of the country's 83 regions. These programs include unique cultural events including "Russian Cooking Night" where our guests prepare a traditional Russian meal for their hosts.

All GlobalJax members are invited to participate in the Open World Program. If you are interested in hosting an Open World delegation in your home for the week, please contact openworld@globaljax.org.