Exchange Matters / October 1, 2014

Latin America Dialogue: Celebrating the Roots of the International Visitor Leadership Program

In 1940, the U.S. government began the first professional and cultural exchange program in its history by inviting cultural figures and journalists from Latin America to visit our country. In the decades that followed, 200,000 additional experts and future leaders from around the world have taken part in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) as exchange participants. Of this number, 335 became chiefs of state or heads of government. The IVLP is still the gold standard of professional exchange initiatives, creating an indelible impact on the positive relationship America enjoys with the vast majority of people on six continents.

The IVLP is still the gold standard of professional exchange initiatives…

On February 4, 2015, in honor of those roots, Global Ties U.S. will host The Latin America Dialogue: Strengthening Relations in the Western Hemisphere at the Organization of American States Main Building. We will host this event with the help of the U.S. Department of State, to underscore the 75 years of ongoing cultural and professional exchanges that have linked us to the world. This important event will help us launch Global Ties U.S. 2015 National Meeting, and will be co-chaired by former Costa Rican President and Nobel Laureate Oscar Arias and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico James R. Jones. In our view, no two individuals are more qualified to discuss the growing relevance of exchange programs like the IVLP and their positive impact on our relationship with Latin America.

President Arias won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for helping to end the civil wars that plagued Central America in the 1970s and 1980s. The Costa Rican leader developed the plan that brought peace to the region. Thanks in large part to Arias, the signatories—Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua—agreed to host free elections, safeguard human rights, and end foreign interference in the internal affairs of their neighbors. It was his vision of bringing together leading minds in the public, private and civil society sectors that inspires us to host this event. Global Ties looks forward to hosting meaningful discussions on public diplomacy and its role in bringing us closer together.

The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement was in no small part due to his knowledge and hard work…

Ambassador James Jones enjoyed a long and distinguished career in public service which began at age 25, when he took a job at the White House. In addition to his service to his country as Ambassador to Mexico, Jones was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming Chairman of the House Budget Committee and a ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee. The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement was in no small part due to his knowledge and hard work, as was the U.S. rescue package he designed in 1994 that prevented the Mexican government from falling into bankruptcy. He also knows our network well as a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations and having previously served as Chairman of Meridian International Center and National Chairman of the World Affairs Councils of America.

Former President Arias and Ambassador Jones will co-chair a dialogue that will include discussions with leaders from the international business community, civil society, government, and the media. Participants will explore the link between successful public diplomacy programs and the strengthening of relations between people and countries. The event will also feature unique perspective and practices from innovative practitioners in the field of international exchanges, which will help frame discussions about a shared vision for the future of exchanges to take place over the forthcoming 75 years.

We look forward to welcoming you in Washington, DC for the Latin America Dialogue and the rest of the National Meeting, on February 4-7, 2015.

For more information, visit

By: Daniel Bremer-Wirtig, Global Ties U.S.