I took part in the American elite exchange program “The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)” run by the US Department of State a year ago. The IVLP is addressed to current and emerging foreign leaders from different countries. More than 500 IVLP participants held the highest state functions, not to mention thousands of other graduates who achieved success outside the state administration. Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and the Polish prominent politicians like: Beata Szydło, Bronisław Komorowski, Donald Tusk, Hanna Suchocka, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and Aleksander Kwasniewski participated in the IVLP.
However, even the best designed courses and scholarships require commitment from their beneficiaries. I found my experience in The International Visitor Leadership Program splitted between three aspects.
1) The elite course in leadership and management. The IVLP is an exchange program. The US Department of State organized meetings and discussions with the people who are successful in their field. The exchange participants have the opportunity to participate in lectures and discussions with the American politicians, businessmen, Washington and State officials. There are also people in the group who represent their countries and institutions and have rich experience that can also be useful. The IVLP participants will learn a lot in this part. But it’s crucial to actively participate in the meetings, ask questions and try to understand the path to success that the leaders have made.
2) The best organized exchange program in which I participated in. The participation in the IVLP itself is a practical leadership and management experience. The US Department of State has selected the most appropriate liaisons who provide 24/7 support and assistance for each participant from the group. The selection of people and organizations to meet by participants and the list of topics to discuss during the monthly stay is outstanding.
The US Department of State makes sure that the IVLP remains the most elite exchange program, based on the highest criteria of leadership program, of all times.
3) Acquainting with the United States of America. The IVLP provides understanding of principles of the legal, political and social system of the USA. It also gives the opportunity to visit tourist attractions and places usually not available to ordinary tourists. The IVLP is a possibility to create the perfect networking between participants.
The graduates of IVLP do not remain with their own experience after completing the exchange. Thanks to the US Embassy in Warsaw and the ALUMNI Association, I can actively participate in many interesting events, conferences and courses. However, one should keep in mind the first principle of every leader: The success depends on personal commitment and work devoted to it.