Our History

In 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration created a new tool for strengthening U.S. international influence: bring global leaders to the United States to connect and develop relationships with people in the United States inside their communities. This brilliant and enduring idea resulted in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

Global Ties U.S. was founded in 1961 to build an infrastructure for this program, to ensure that the international leaders who came to the United States through the IVLP experienced this country through a community-based network of nonprofit organizations.

I am convinced that increased participation by dedicated Americans in international exchanges will help to achieve our common hope for a durable and just peace.”

— President John F. Kennedy, 1961

Scores of other U.S. Department of State public diplomacy programs have been established based on this model, relying on partnerships with local communities around the United States.

  • See quotes from other U.S. presidents here.
  • Read more about our history here.

Since 1940, the IVLP has introduced more than 225,000 global leaders, including 500 current or former heads of state or government, to counterparts in communities in all 50 U.S. states. Our Network has become increasingly indispensable to multiple public diplomacy programs that support greater civic engagement in foreign affairs, such as the U.S. Exchange Alumni Program and the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

While our Global Ties Network has evolved, the goal of building community globally by working locally remains at the heart of our work.