Little Known AAI History Fact: Remarkable Growth of International Visitor Program in 1980s
Throughout the 1980s, hundreds of African professionals visited the U.S. each year on short-term study tours through the AAI-administered International Visitors Program (IVP). The International Visitors Program sought to create opportunities for African visitors to dialogue with professional counterparts in the United States to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and political influences in U.S. society. AAI developed professional study tours on themes ranging from agricultural and food security to taxation policy. The IVP, funded by the now defunct United States Information Agency (USIA), averaged organizing more than 200 African visitors each year to the United States.
Joyce Banda, president of the Republic of Malawi, was a participant of AAI’s International Visitors Program. President Banda received the 2012 AAI Award for Championing Women’s Rights and Business Leadership.
Americans tremendously benefited from the study tours through engagement with African visitors to foster a more informed understanding and perspective of Africa. AAI also organized study tours for American teachers to travel to African nations.
AAI historically had one of the longest records of continuous partnership with both government agencies and private donors in developing exchange and education programs that bring African professionals to the U.S.