Each year, more than 40,000 participants from countries around the world have opportunities to build common bonds, share ideas and further mutual understanding through an exchange program managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State. Participation in an exchange program is not a one-time, finite event; it marks the beginning of an ongoing relationship between you, those you met on your exchange experience -- and the United States.
You are now members of a global community; you are International Exchange Alumni members.
Among the more than 1,000,000 others who are also alumni of an ECA-sponsored program are 47 Nobel Laureates, thousands of cabinet-level ministers and more than 300 current and former chiefs of state or heads of government.
International Exchange Alumni have an equally impressive local impact as they do a global one. From starting civic organizations to advocating human rights to organizing disaster-relief efforts, International Exchange Alumni participants have returned home with ideas and acted upon them.
International Exchange Alumni from Canada have participated in a wide range of exchange programs which include:
- The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): Cultural Affairs coordinates these programs, which enable Canadians who are emerging potential leaders in government, business, politics, the media, education, the arts, etc., to observe first-hand U.S. institutions and culture, and meet with professional counterparts to explore issues of common interest. Some twenty Canadians travel each year under this program on three-week study tours as guests of the U.S. government.
- the Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program: Supported by both the U.S. and Canadian federal governments, the Fulbright Program is an educational exchange open to Canadian and American graduate students and scholars.
- The Canadian Parliamentary Intern Program (CPIP): CPIP is a post-graduate experience giving young Canadians an opportunity to work closely with Members of Canadian Parliament for ten months -- both up close on Parliament Hill and in comparison with other legislatures through study tours to Washington, London, Brussels, Québec, Manitoba, Toronto and Nunavut. The U.S. Embassy in Canada funds the Washington Study Tour.
- The Youth Ambassadors Program with Canada: YAP is a three week exchange designed for Canadian high school students to go to the U.S.A. with adult mentors, to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills and prepare youth to make a difference in their communities. The Center for the Study of Canada at SUNY Plattsburgh is proud to be organizing the Youth Ambassadors Program with Canada thanks to the support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State, the United States Embassy Ottawa and Fulbright Canada.
As a State Alumni you should:
- Register at the International Exchange Alumni! The Alumni website will help you keep in touch with your fellow Canadian alumni of State Department exchange programs, and with us here at the Embassy. Together with our partners in the U.S.-Canada Fulbright Educational Exchange Program and the Department of State Alumni Affairs Office, we hope you will continue to benefit from the knowledge and rewards from your exchange experience.
- Find out what Alumni events are happening near you!
- Download our latest Alumni podcast. We'll be regularly highlighting Canadian State Alumni, and letting them talk about the impact the program had on their lives. If you'd like to be featured in a future podcast, let us know!
- See news about Alumni!
- Contact us! Let us know whether your information has changed, or find the International Exchange Alumni contact in your region.
Sonia Bebbington, Director of Knowledge Management and Preservation at the Library of Parliament, talks about her International Visitor Leadership Program exchange and her work, including a project on the digitalization of the House of Commons debates.
Click on the video to enlarge!