Training around the world.
Since 1961, we have offered training in over 100 countries around the world.
In 1961, the Graduate School was approached by the International Cooperation Administration (now the Agency for International Development) for assistance in training Congolese government officials. Congo had become independent in 1960 and AID awarded the country 300 scholarships for various training and educational programs. Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked the USDA Graduate School to train the Congolese public officials in public administration.
For three months, Congolese officials received training conducted in French and English. Their Graduate School experience included site visits to government agencies such as the departments of Interior and Commerce, as well as a visit to the Justice Department during which they met Attorney General Kennedy. The group also took field trips to Annapolis, New York, and Canada.
The program was such a success that the school began offering training programs to dozens of countries. Over 50 years later, we still conduct training for government professionals and private organizations around the world.
Graduate School USA’s vision is to help catalyze positive change in local and global communities. Our mission is to connect people, ideas, and organizations by designing customized cultural and professional exchanges and capacity-building solutions that increase international cooperation and understanding. In support of this mission, our International Institute delivers customized knowledge exchange programs that help current and future leaders grow professionally, improve their communities and institutions, and increase mutual understanding throughout the U.S. and abroad. Building on GSUSA’s legacy of leadership development and professional training, the Institute supports a variety of clients: U.S.-based agencies with global missions; international organizations; the private sector; NGOs; and academic and public institutions worldwide.
Our training and professional exchange programs include study tours, orientations, meetings, workshops, seminars, and other tailored hands-on activities. With experience working with more than 100 countries, access to hundreds of training courses and subject matter experts in every field, the International Institute delivers with excellence programs in both in-person and virtual formats.
Some of our signature exchange and capacity-building programs in the early years:
In the early 1970s, the International Programs Division established a nine-month International Management Development Program (IMDP), sponsored by USAID, for mid-level managers from developing countries. By the mid 70s, the IMDP had grown to include the option to earn a master’s degree in cooperation with degree-granting institutions. Open enrollment programs in public administration subject matter areas were also available to international participants.
In 1982, USAID designated Graduate School International Programs as a core organization to administer the International Visitors Program under the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961.
In 1984, International Programs administered the Fulbright Teacher and Administrator Exchange Program. Short-term professional training, observational study and placement of participants in academic institutions were the core programs throughout the 1980s.
Diplomatic Training Program for the U.S. Freely Associated States: 2020–present
This newly awarded project will strengthen the crucial partnerships between the United States and the Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau) through building diplomatic capacity by providing training to a cohort of 15 new members of the FAS diplomatic service. Upon the culmination of this training, the participants will have honed leadership and professional communication skills and will be well equipped to perform protocol duties, handle multilateral diplomatic efforts, and ultimately advance a shared vision of foreign policy priorities in the Indo-Pacific region. The program is funded through the Bureau of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs of the U.S. State Department.
International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): 2003–present
Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this flagship professional exchange program, now in its 80th year, brings 5,000 current and emerging foreign leaders to the United States each year to meet with their counterparts and exchange best practices in their fields of expertise. More than 200,000 international visitors have engaged with Americans through IVLP, including 500 current or former chiefs of state or heads of government. The Graduate School’s International Institute is one of eight organizations in the Washington, DC area that administer this program and serves on average 400 participants per year.
The traditional three week-long, in-person IVLP project includes visits to four diverse U.S. communities where participants meet local professional resources and interact with the average American through hospitality events and informal networking. Its more recent virtual format has preserved the geographic diversity of the meetings and ties to replicate even the informal experiences. The professional focus of projects spans a myriad of topics ranging from renewable resources to interfaith dialogue, community policing, grassroots democracy, cyber-crime, disability rights, education, business, and countless others.
The Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiatives (PITI-VITI): 1991–present
The Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiatives (PITI-VITI) were established to assist the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (DOI/OIA) in fulfilling its mission to provide training and consultative services to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the U.S.-affiliated flag territories. For thirty years, PITI-VITI has been strengthening the capacity of island governments to improve their financial management and program performance. The initiative’s customized training and technical services include the annual development of statistics and economic reports, biannual meetings of finance ministers, and annual training to public audit offices. More than 20,000 Pacific islands participants have completed courses with PITI-VITI since program inception.
PITI-VITI’s signature initiative is the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP), which serves about 30 competitively selected public servants every other year and boasts over 150 program alumni. ELDP alumni represent virtually every government agency throughout the insular areas, and serve their governments as elected representatives, ambassadors, judges, cabinet members, directors, and dedicated public servants.
Embassies Abroad: Ongoing
GSUSA has worked with the Public Diplomacy Sections of U.S. embassies abroad for many years. Since 2018 alone, the International Institute organized 10 to 14-day study tours for the U.S. Post in Seoul, Korea and the U.S. Post in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A program for South Korea, equipped ten high school guidance counselors from Language High Schools to prepare their students for the college admissions process in America. The program for Honduras shared best practices in community policing and law enforcement strategies. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2020, the International Institute pioneered the transition of certain programs from in-person to virtual delivery and established itself as the go-to organization for sharing of best practices in exchange program design and delivery.
Meet one of our outstanding IVLP participants.
This is an IVLP program of the U.S Department of State, administered by Graduate School USA's International Institute