International Visitors Leadership Program

Sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of State | International Program Initiative | Queens, NY

As one of the nation’s smallest nonprofit organizations actively engaged with overseas humanitarian operations, Veterans Rebuilding Life had the honor of hosting a cross-cultural dialogue with foreign participants from the U.S. Department of State’s – International Visitor Leadership Program, (IVLP). Arranged by the Meridian International Center, and organized by Miss Dina Siggs, Senior Program Specialist of the New York Branch, the conference took place at VRL’s Astoria location, where nine IVLP participants were accompanied by a team of language interpreters, who engaged in a two-hour, cross-cultural exchange, that investigated the parallels in social entrepreneurship and NGO sustainability within the United States and China.

VRL provided program participants with overview of the organization’s mission, history, and operations, as well as a formal presentation of Project 360 with a focus on the verified success of its peer to peer model. Dialogue topics included how foundations are established with the purpose of assisting marginalized populations, the various US models for NGO development, volunteer engagement, and best practices for fundraising, grassroots mobilization, and strategic collaboration. Questions also included the importance of social media, public transparency, and the role of innovation in long-term program sustainability and efficacy. Visitors were particularly interested in how VRL maintains operations without utilizing donations to cover administrative costs. Overall, the cultural exchange was an overarching success in that it generated invaluable insights regarding social change and purposeful collaboration.


The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier cultural  exchange program. Through short-term overseas visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders from a representing a variety of cultures and professional fields, experience the United States firsthand, and cultivate lasting professional relations with their American counterparts. IVLP meetings reflect the participants’ professional interests and support the foreign policy objectives of the United States. To learn more about the International Visitor Leadership Program, please visit the Dept. of State’s official website.