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 Citizen Ambassador Program was first established by the US State Department during the Eisenhower Administration. Its purpose was to promote exchanges between private citizens of different cultures, allowing them to gain a better understanding of each other and their professions through the sharing of ideas and experiences. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vision became a reality in 1956 when the program was officially launched under the umbrella of the US State Department.

Present Day

As a Citizen Ambassador, you will gain valuable insights into your profession by connecting with peers from around the globe. Through round table discussions, one-on-one conversations, and immersive cultural experiences, you will have the opportunity to collaborate and expand your global network.

Dawn Davis, the Program Director, has been leading this program for over 30 years. The Citizen Ambassador Program is defined by its focus on professional development and global networking, which Dawn has tirelessly championed.

The program is one of several offered by Cultural Vistas, a nonprofit exchange organization founded in 1963. Cultural Vistas also administers International Visitor Leadership Programs, small grant programs, and international internship programs, and offers support for Fulbright and J1 visa programs. Each year, thousands of individuals and organizations from over 130 countries participate in Cultural Vistas’ exchange programs.

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 Leaders 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 more. 
  • Over 100,000, US high-level professionals, 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 to develop professional bonds between international counterparts.
  • Delegations range 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, and 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.