International Focus visitors chosen by U.S. Embassies are current or rising leaders in government, politics, business, education, arts, media, the environment, and every other societal sector. When in the Research Triangle area, IF arranges for their professional and cultural itinerary with an emphasis on increasing mutual understanding through communication at the personal and professional levels.
Delegations are invited through various federal programs, initiatives including:
- Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program
- Library of Congress' Open World program
- USAID's Community Connections program
- and others such as Youth Leadership programs
The United States Congress and the Department of State support such programming in recognition of the exceptional value of citizen diplomacy also called "soft diplomacy." Notably, more than 350 prior IVLP participants have later served as heads of government, while thousands of others have served in cabinet-level roles, in national legislatures, and as heads of corporate, educational, artistic, and other enterprises. In countless ways, the United States benefits from the fact that each of these individuals has enjoyed a very positive experience in the U.S. that included rewarding professional and personal exchange.
International Focus also serves the community through educational functions. We sponsor a mix of membership and public programs on global issues, culture and the arts including panels and lectures; IF hosts the monthly “Citizen Diplomacy Series” a reception followed by a presentation on international affairs; the monthly “Coffee and Conversation with Foreign Emerging Leaders” a relaxed and convivial event for IF members to directly interact with delegations in town; School Visit for an enriching and unique exchange that happens between international visitors, students, teachers and administrators at local schools.