This paper examines the perceived impact of meetings between community members’ in the greater Seattle area and international visitors traveling under the auspices of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), an inbound, citizen diplomacy tool funded and overseen by the U.S. Department of State. Using a conceptual framework based on a modified version of the experiential learning cycle and a grounded theory methodology, five community members who had met with international visitors through the IVLP were interviewed. These transcripts were analyzed through a process of triangulation until categories were saturated. Findings emerged which showed that international visitors impacted the community members in significant ways. For many community members, the international visitors supplemented their jobs with an international component, which may or may not be lacking in their current positions; for others it was simply a tool for them to continue learning about new countries and cultures. Individual community members also found the IVLP useful to network; advance the goals of his or her organization; provide IVs with a realistic picture of “America;” gain insight into specific career-related topics; and to a lesser degree, practice language skills.


International and Intercultural Communication | Social Psychology and Interaction