The effect of the programs we put into action, both in Austin and across the nation, reaches far and wide. Numerous Heads of State and Chiefs of Government around the world participated in the IVLP earlier in their careers. The impact of the GlobalAustin & NCIV network is also powerful close to home. Personal friendships are made, business relationships are formed, and children learn about the world in a whole new way when they meet visitors from the other side of the globe.
The Mission of GlobalAustin is to strengthen international bonds and friendships by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and cultural symbiosis through appropriate training programs, community activities and host families.
We believe the peoples of the world are interdependent, and our future is secured through collaboration nurtured by free, open and respectful communication. We believe face-to-face meetings are the most effective means of communicating, and their success requires knowledge, information and the skills to embrace and surmount cultural differences.
We believe international exchange programs should engage all people within and across nations, spanning ideologies, cultures, ethnicities, age, gender and economic status. We believe these experiences are essential for those who hope to lead the communities and nations of the world.
We believe volunteering is a unique trait of American society that must be reflected in our organization and programs. At the same time, we must generate and manage with wisdom and care the financial and human resources that will keep us vibrant.
GlobalAustin was founded in 1960 as IHCA (International Hospitality Council of Austin) to match international students at The University of Texas with Austin families for fun and fellowship. The hospitality concept originated with Joe Neal, long-time director of UT’s International Office, who sensed the feelings of isolation and loneliness of students thousands of miles from home. With the support of the Austin Rotary Club, Pan American Round Table and the Junior League, IHCA was organized. This group quickly grew to 100 volunteers serving as host families. At least once a month, each family invited one or more students into their homes for dinners, picnics and other outings to help them feel at home.
When GlobalAustin was founded, Austin was a college town whose economy was driven by the University and state government. Today, Austin is more international, not only because of business generated by the presence of multinational companies but also because of specific community efforts. The Sister Cities Program, established in 1965, has resulted in regular exchanges with cities in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and Australia. A series of international marketing campaigns has brought foreign tourists and business groups to the city. Still other foreign individuals and groups have come as a result of local college and university programs on global issues.
The History of GlobalAustin and NCIV:
The National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) was founded in 1961 to provide services to the international exchange community in the United States. NCIV membership includes a nationwide network of Community Member Organizations, National Program Agencies, Associate Member Organizations, and individuals. GlobalAustin is a nonprofit non-member association currently marking over 50 years of leadership in citizen diplomacy.We design and implement professional programs, provide cultural activities, and offer home hospitality for foreign leaders, specialists, and scholars participating in the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and other exchanges. With leadership and training, member organizations are expert at matching the resources of their communities with the needs of International Visitors.
NCIV has grown to include 94 private, nonprofit Community Member Organizations around the country, as well as a number of National Program Agencies, Associate Members, and Individual Members. The NCIV network is strengthened by dedicated volunteers who increase international understanding by opening their homes, schools, and offices to leaders from abroad, including the participants of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
The IVLP is described by U.S. Ambassadors as one of the most effective tools of American diplomacy. The Program’s distinguished alumni include such individuals as Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Anwar Sadat, Giscard D’Estaing, Indira Gandhi, Julius Nyerere, Óscar Arias, and F.W. de Klerk.
GlobalAustin, as a local member in the network of 94 communities and more than 80,000 volunteers, NCIV and the work that it does around the United States, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 by Sen. Arlen Specter.
GlobalAustin hosts approximately 500 visitors through these programs each year as we work in partnership with the U.S. Department of State to deliver educational and cultural programs to visiting international leaders. GlobalAustin celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2010, and is looking forward to its next half century. Some old programs are being reinvented and some new programs are being launched. We look forward to continuing our efforts to promote world peace and global understanding.
GlobalAustin provides Programs and Services to international visitors, students, and scholars to Austin and Central Texas.
GlobalAustin is the local contact agency for the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program. Hundreds of international program dignitaries each year come to Austin under this program. They are established or emerging leaders from countries around the world. The emphasis of this program is people-to-people contact between these selected distinguished guests and the local communities they visit.
These individualized programs may include one-on-one meetings, seminars, media interviews and dinners in homes where international visitors can experience Texas hospitality and learn more about the American culture in an informal atmosphere. Over 194 current world politicians have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program.
Friendship Families offer hospitality to international students, faculty and their spouses in Austin. These visitors make their own arrangements for study, work and housing in Austin. Friendship Families offer hospitality once a month, inviting students to family gatherings or taking them on tours of the city and nearby points of interest. Occasionally short-term homestays are arranged for participants in special programs.
GlobalAustin has been designated by the City of Austin as an International Welcome Ambassador Organization, matching newcomers with local residents who will answer their questions and help them to become familiar with Austin and all that our community has to offer.
Citizen Diplomacy Receptions provide and opportunity for the community to meet with international visitors to the area. Generally held on the third Thursday of the month, these receptions and well attended and well received by the community as well as the international visitors.
Coffee Mornings forinternational visitors and their familiesare held on Wednesday mornings. This is an opportunity for participants to network, learn about Austin and Central Texas and to share with each other information about their countries and cultures.
Scholarships supporting international educational exchange are awarded annually. Students who will study abroad on a UT-Austin program are eligible to apply for the Cleo S. Seelinger Scholarship. The GlobalAustin Scholarship for Study Abroad is available to students at other area universities who will study abroad. The Joe W. Neal Scholarship is available to an international student pursuing an undergraduate degree at UT-Austin. Scholarship recipients are invited to share their study abroad experiences during GlobalAustin’s Scholarship Forum.
The Austin International Awards: An Evening with the Consular Corps began in 2003 as the International Consular Ball. This is the showcase event of GlobalAustin – an unparalelled opportunity for the community to visit with and honor foreign consuls in a social setting while laying the groundwork for increased international trade activity. The event recognizes the achievements of the Consular Corps. It is an evening to show appreciation for the dignitaries who represent their countries through trade and good will. It is also an evening of awards to local businesses and individuals who have excelled in international trade and contributed significantly to international relations. In 2011, GlobalAustin began a partnership with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce to produce the event.
The International Austin Events Calendar, developed in partnership with the city of Austin, is an interactive, web-based program that enables the international community in the Greater Austin area to post, view, and search for events of interest to internationally minded organizations, businesses, and the public at large.
Global Austin is non-profit, 501 (c)(3) and is affiliated with the National Council of International Visitors (NCIV) that is sponsored by the U. S. State Department. Global Austin establishes international visitor programs that provide information exchanges with professional resources from the Central Texas area.