2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the Department of State’s premier professional exchange initiative for emerging leaders. The short-term visits foster mutual understanding and develop cultural and professional connections.
The program has over 225,000 alumni worldwide; more than 300 Swiss alumni including Swiss Federal Councilors Simonetta Sommaruga and Karin Keller-Sutter; State Councilor Christian Levrat; Swiss televison legend Erich Gyslin; correspondent in Washington DC Alan Cassidy; Serge Gaillard, Director Federal Finances Administration FFA; State Secretary Roberto Balzaretti, head of the Directorate for European Affairs; and Deputy Head of International Relations at economiesuisse Mario Ramò.
Swiss IVLP Participants are Inspired and Empowered by the Exchange Program
In recent years, these Swiss participants visited the United States on a wide variety of IVLP programs, including U.S. Trade and Economic Policy, U.S. Foreign Policy, Cybersecurity, Empowering Women Entrepreneurs, Countering Violent Extremism, and Investigative Journalism. Time and again, Swiss IVLP participants say they are inspired and empowered by their experiences with the IVLP exchange program.
Read the testimonials from former Swiss IVLP participants and learn how the exchange program impacted their lives.
About the IVLP
The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders from a variety of fields experience the United States firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. Professional meetings reflect the participants’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States.
Peter Fischer | Delegate of the Government to the ICT-Steering
Peter Fischer joined an IVLP program on E-Commerce in 2000
«Extremely instructive and stimulating trip through the nascent and already well advanced e-commerce landscape of different regions all around the country, industries and authorities.»
Tim Dührkoop | Client Service Director at Namics AG
Tim Dührkoop joined an IVLP program on E-Commerce and the U.S. Economy in 2002
«What really impressed me in the program itself was the openness and trust all around: from getting the budget in the form of cash and traveler cheques, to the really honest people we met.»
Sita Mazumder | Professor of Economics, Financial Expert & Entrepreneur
Sita Mazumder joined an IVLP program on Women’s Leadership “Advancing Women as Corporate Leaders and as Entrepreneurs” in 2011
«Remembering the IVLP still puts a smile on my face – I had a wonderful and enriching time.»
Benedikt Wechsler | Consul General of Switzerland in San Francisco
Benedikt Wechsler joined a program on New Information Technologies in 2013
«What a coincidence, 7 years later I am back as the Consul General of Switzerland in San Francisco.»
Marion Schleifer | Developer Experience Engineer at Hasura
Marion Schleifer joined the IVLP program Hidden No More – Advancing Women in Steam Fields in 2018
«My IVLP was one of the most impactful things I’ve done in my life, and it made me grow as a professional and as a person. It was truly special to be in a group of like-minded women that all have similar struggles. I felt a huge sense of belonging, and I am forever grateful for this experience.»
Erika Laubacher-Kubat - Head Strategic Management Support Section
Erika Laubacher-Kubat joined the IVLP program Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management in 2018
«Over the three weeks I started to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences in crisis management systems between Switzerland and the United States. The interaction with the exciting personalities of our group was a highlight and intensified the learning experience. I will always cherish this experience and still feel privileged today to have been selected for this program.»
Andri Silberschmidt | Member of the Swiss Parliament & Entrepreneur
Andri Silberschmidt joined a program on current U.S. Social, Political and Economic Issues in 2019
«Thanks to the IVLP program 2019, I was not only able to gain unique insights to the political system of the United States and how politicians address current challenges, but also to get to know over 20 young changemakers from Europe. Since then, I was elected to the Swiss Parliament which gives me more opportunities to implement what I learned thanks to the IVLP.»
Frederike Asael | Co-Founder Impact Hub Bern and Photographer
Frederike Asael joined the program Entrepreneurship as the Engine of Prosperity and Stability in 2019
«It was impressive to see firsthand how the startup culture and the associated willingness to take risks is deeply rooted in the U.S.»
Andreas Schädler | Head of Crime Investigation Division, Liechtenstein
Andreas Schädler joined in 2019 the program Global Threat Cooperation
«The most added value I got from participating in the program was through the expansion of my global network and by establishing personal contact with authorities in the U.S. as well as with other participants.»
Tim Weingärtner | Lecturer at Lucerne School of Information Technology
Tim Weingärtner joined in 2020 the program The Digital Economy – Transformative Technology for the Social Good
«Beside the informative and well-planned meetings with all experts, the interaction with all the exciting personalities of our group was a real highlight. Even if we only had two weeks we grew together as a team and we learned a lot from all 16 + 1 cultures.»
Mario Ramò | Deputy Head International Economic Relations economiesuisse
Mario Ramò joined a program on U.S. Trade Policy in 2019.
«It is precisely the DNA of the IVLP that I think, today, is as important as it was 80 years ago: openness, international collaboration, and a strong conviction that by better understanding each other’s viewpoints in culture, business, and politics, we can create better solutions – together.»