Who exactly are your visitors?
The distinguished visitors come from all walks of life in their home countries, but all are poised to make a difference with what they learn here in the United States having been identified as rising stars in their home countries. They are selected by our embassies to travel the U.S. to meet their counterparts to exchange information. Visitors often include professionals, scientists, professors, journalists, and government leaders.
This year Kansas City has been visited by many members of parliament, NGO humanitarian leaders from many countries, and physicians, mayors, judges and political leaders. Many of the visitors who come to the United States go on to lead their home countries: these include Anwar Sadat, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Gerhard Schroeder, Tony Blair, and F.W. deKlerk. More than 200 current or former heads of state and more than 1500 cabinet-level ministers are alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program.
So, you work with people traveling through the U.S. from overseas, right?
Yes, but that is not the whole story. Although we are happy to get in touch with international visitors who come to Kansas City on their own, we're more than a welcome wagon. Our purpose is to conduct programs for professionals selected by the U.S. Embassies abroad to participate in specific professional programs. We work directly with the U.S Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Library of Congress,and their contracting agencies to bring these visitors to Kansas City for professional exchange programs. We organize their accommodations, cultural activities, and all of their meetings and professional appointments while they are in town.
Why do the visitors come to the United States? And why Greater Kansas City?
Each visitor comes to exchange ideas on particular topics and see first-hand aspects of life in America. Groups have come to study everything from democracy education--to urban redevelopment--to trade and commerce--to journalism--to child welfare. As for Greater Kansas City in particular, we are an excellent example of a medium-sized city in the heart of the country. Visitors coming here may never see middle America on their own, but relish the chance to experience something outside of the hustle and bustle of the large cities on either coast. We are responsible for arranging programs throughout western Missouri and the state of Kansas highlighting some of the excellent educational, governmental, business and cultural resources in our region.
Who do you work with?
Although we host groups through the U.S. State Department, we are not a part of the government. Instead, we are an independent 501 (c)(3) non-profit and part of a national network of more than 92 Community-Based Organizations in cities across the country.
I'm interested in involving my business in international activities. How can I get involved with your organization?
We're always happy to gain new contacts in the the Greater Kansas City area, so if you want to connect your business with our organization, please feel free to contact us. We have new groups visiting our area all the time, and any one of them could be interested in your particular field of business.
I'd love to meet these interesting people! How do I do that?
Members have the opportunity to host these guests for dinner in their home, called "Home Hospitality." We also hold occasional receptions where some of the visitors will be in attendance. Membership information is available by clicking on membership.