Since its founding by Congress in 1999, the Open World Program has enabled more than 14,000 current and future Eurasian leaders to experience American democracy, civil society and community life; work with their American counterparts; stay in American homes; and gain new ideas and inspiration for implementing change back home. Some 6,000 American host families and their communities in all 50 states have partnered with the U.S. Congress and Open World to make this ambitious public diplomacy effort possible.
The program’s short but high-intensity exchanges emphasize hands-on practical activities—such as workshops, job shadowing, and site visits—related to the delegates’ professional or community work.
Open World features a valuable homestay component. This down time spent interacting with Vermonters over meals and conversation is often a highlight for our international groups as they get an opportunity to experience American culture informally while also forging long-lasting connections. These priceless cultural exchanges are only possible through the willingness of our Vermont hosts to open up their homes and engage our visitors. We thank our past hosts and encourage anyone interested in hosting international visitors to contact the VCWA.