International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Since 1985, the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana has been the official community-based member of the U.S. Department of State’s prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Through this partnership, WAC has exclusive access to some of the most promising leaders, dynamic professionals and fearless activists from across the globe. Each year, hundreds of international visitors come through our international visitor program to engage their counterparts from Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Visitors participate in programs aimed at developing everything from youth leadership skills to practicing conflict resolution strategies in post-conflict societies. WAC contributes to the diversity and economic development of our region by connecting local businesses and organizations to our international delegates, and thus strengthening social and economic ties across the globe.

Our international visitor programs foster people-to-people exchanges to connect current and rising leaders from around the world with their counterparts here in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Believing that every individual has the power to act as a citizen diplomat, WAC organizes programs and experiences to encourage mutual understanding, long-lasting friendships, and deepened partnerships in the spheres of politics, business, media, education, arts & culture, and more. With the ultimate goal of promoting peace in an increasingly connected yet increasingly complex world, WAC recognizes the importance of connecting citizens to their counterparts abroad and encouraging diplomacy “one handshake at a time.”



The State Department Youth Leadership Programs foster mutual understanding, respect, and civic engagement among young Americans and their international peers. During the exchanges, students and educators participate in workshops, community service activities, team building exercises, meetings with community leaders, leadership development, and live with American families.

Foreign students, normally 15-17 years old, are paired with local volunteer host families, which WAC recruits and accepts volunteers for year-round. Each host family is screened via a Kentucky State background check and interview process including a home visit, as the safety and well-being of our international guests are paramount to WAC. Upon their return home, the students apply what they have learned to implement projects that serve needs in their communities. Host a student!


Another host family-oriented experience, WAC has also administered the Open World Program, formerly the Russian Leadership Program (RLP) since 2000. The Library of Congress Open World Leadership Center started this program under the Freedom of Support Act of 1999. WAC partners with numerous organizations to bring Open World delegations to Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Each delegate is paired with a local host family, which WAC recruits and accepts volunteers for year-round.


Since 1994, WAC has facilitated the Community Connections Program, a USAID program which offers home-stay based practical training opportunities in the U.S. for entrepreneurs, local government officials, legal professionals, non-governmental organization leaders and other professionals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. It is administered in the Greater Philadelphia area by CDI’s Center for International Development, with funding by the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia at USAID. Community Connections – Linking Philadelphia with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan is a collaborative effort between the United States Government and the Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakh, Azeri and Kyrgyz Governments. This happens through intensive three to five-week technical training programs in the U.S.

SpringHill The World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana partners with SpringHill Suites Downtown Louisville, a Marriott Hotel, to host our international visitors and delegations.

European visitors in Bardstown, KY

Iraqi Young Leaders paint images of peace with local students at YouthBuild in Louisville, KY

Visitors enjoy a home hospitality dinner with a Kentucky family

75 Fulbright scholars at the Muhammad Ali Center

Volunteer Opportunities:

Host Family/Volunteer Forms:

Interested in becoming a host family and/or volunteer? Contact Laura Duncan at [email protected] or at (502)-561-5422 today!

The map below shows countries represented by our international visitors since January 1, 2018.