State Department sponsoring international government exchange program

The U.S. State Department is once again promoting international exchanges for local leaders in different countries to compare notes.

The International City/County Management Association is inviting local governments to host international professionals and participate in exchanges funded by the State Department

With new government funding, ICMA Professional Fellows Program is offering opportunities for ICMA members and their communities to participate in international knowledge sharing and exchange visits in 2015 and 2016.

In 2015, the Legislative Process and Governance Professional Fellows Program will bring professionals to the United States from ten East Asian/Pacific countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The countries are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ICMA is seeking U.S. cities and counties as hosts to showcase their communities and their initiatives in citizen engagement, transparency, and accountability.

Staff in host cities will broaden their perspectives and learn from interaction with international participants. And some host staff will also have an opportunity to participate in reciprocal visits to the participating countries.

International fellows are anticipated to visit U.S. communities from May 2-May 30, 2015, and October 10-November 7, 2015. U.S. Fellows are drawn from those who host the international participants through a competitive selection process and will travel to their counterparts’ organizations for two-week fellowships tentatively set for July 25-August 8, 2015, and February 20-March 5, 2016.

The application deadline for host communities is January 16, 2015. To apply, download the U.S. Host Communities application. Save it as a Word document, complete it, and submit it by e-mail to Lindsay Kuhn ( and Lauren Crawford (

The exchange visits are a part of the Professional Fellows Program sponsored by the Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program brings several hundred emerging leaders from around the world to the United States each year for intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise. The goal of the program is to create long-term, institutionalized partnerships that support emerging leaders and their institutions in the ASEAN countries and the United States to inspire change in creating responsive, open, and accountable governance.