About the Citizen Ambassador Program

“A successful delegation provides the delegates an opportunity to experience their profession through the eyes of their international counterparts, and results in future collaborations and expansion of the exchange to long-term relationships within the professional field.”

-Dawn Davis, Director of the Citizen Ambassador Program


The vision for the Citizen Ambassador Program  was initiated as a program of the US State Department under the Eisenhower Administration. President Dwight D. Eisenhower envisioned private citizens exchanges,  where citizens of diverse cultures would gain an international understanding of their peers and profession, through the exchange of ideas and experiences.  His vision became a reality in 1956 as part of the US State Department. 

Present Day

Today, Citizen Ambassadors gain an understanding of their profession through the eyes of their counterparts. Through round table discussions, individual dialog, and people to people experiences; delegates share collaboration opportunities and expand their global networks.

The Program Director, Dawn Davis, has stewarded this program for over 30 years.  The continued focus on professional development and global networking are the hallmarks of the program, by which Dawn has defined the Citizen Ambassador Program

Citizen Ambassadors is a program of Cultural Vistas.  Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. Cultural Vistas administers International Visitor Leadership Programs, small grant programs, international internship programs, programs that support Fulbright and J1 visa programs.

Every year Cultural Vistas’ exchange programs reach thousands of individuals and organizations in the United States and more than 130 countries around the world.

Program structure

Citizen Ambassadors Programs are developed in partnership with the top US professional associations and academic institutions. 

  • Delegations are led by an association appointed delegation leader, who represents the association and their goals.
  • Delegation Leader define the professional goals and anticipated outcomes for the exchange.
  • Most programs offer Continuing Education Credit for participating delegates.
  • The members of the delegation are selected by the association/delegation leader for their expertise and contribution to the overall exchange.  
  • Over the years our partner associations have included the International Literacy Association, the American Bar Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American Organization for Nurse Executives, and many, many more. 
  • Over 100,000, US high-level professional, have served as Citizen Ambassadors.  Citizen Ambassador Programs have produced extraordinary outcomes, both professionally and personally, for all involved in the exchanges.
  • The programs are designed as bilateral exchanges, intended on developing professional bonds between international counterparts.
  • Delegations range in size from as small as 5 to as large as 75, with most delegations being between 15 and 20 members.
  • As a private citizen initiative, delegates provide their own funding, demonstrating their commitment to furthering the vision of individuals making a difference in the world.

Delegation Experience

Time and again, participants tell us about the fulfillment of sharing common interests with people who, at first, seemed so different. An area of research, a method of application, a chance to collaborate, and one by one the barriers fade.

 In over 30 years of coordinating international delegations, we have refined the keys to successful meetings. Our experience and relationships with our overseas partners ensure that your program is well organized, focused, and productive. By recognizing and following local customs and protocol, we lay the foundation for participants to exchange information and connect on a truly human level.

Delegates get an insider’s view of facilities and experience the culture in ways most travelers never do; observing professional counterparts in their element and facilities, and sharing best practices, challenges, innovative ideas.

Our esteemed Delegation Leaders are respected and accomplished members of their fields. Representing thier professional peers, Delegation Leaders are known for their dedication to their professions, enthusiasm for intellectual discovery and exchange, and respect for other cultures and approaches.