Global Exchanges

Each year, the Northern California World Trade Center and Global Ties San Francisco host more than 1,000 international visitors through international exchanges. Many of these visitors are leaders and emerging leaders invited to the United States at the auspices of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Visitor Groups: November 2016 – February 2017

Learn more about the visitor projects taking place in Sacramento and San Francisco from November 2016 through February 2017.


November 1-5
San Francisco

Global Digital Leaders Exchange (GDX) participants will spend two weeks in the United States building their Digital Government skill sets and learning about the ecosystem that is powering innovation in the public sector. GDX grew out of an ongoing conversation between ECA and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith about how we can continue to bring best practices of modern technology and service-delivery into government. This is a special initiative that will bring together current and emerging leaders in digital government. Participants include a diverse cross-section of 20 participants from all regions. 

November 3-9
San Francisco

Eight Afghan specialists from the Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) will look at ways to build the capacity of ATRA and better regulate Afghanistan’s Information and Communications Technology sector. Afghanistan has the potential to become a transit hub for Internet traffic across Central Asia, which could generate hundreds of millions dollars per year in data transit tariffs.

November 16-19
San Francisco

This program will welcome Chinese officials, managers, scientists and researchers working in the fields of waste management, environmental management, sustainability, ocean conservation, marine litter prevention and mitigation and related departments. The visitors will meet with their counterparts in San Francisco to learn about the city’s waste management practices and effective measures to reduce marine litter.

November 30 – December 6
San Francisco

This program invites visitors to gain first-hand knowledge of the best practices of managing a successful startup incubator and to expose the participants to the U.S. incubator and accelerator culture. Participants will become familiar with startups and engage with entrepreneurs about lessons learned while learning techniques to implement at home. Participants will also share their experiences on supporting startup efforts in non-traditional or less economically vibrant regions and to strengthen U.S. economic ties with the Sub-Continent.


December 3-7
San Francisco
This three-week project introduces participants to the domestic and global contexts of the U.S. financial markets and to U.S. perspectives on international trade and economic issues. The project will examine recent U.S. government measures aimed at sustaining domestic industries and will evaluate the continuing impact of these strategies on the U.S. and global economy. Participants will meet with local businesses, entrepreneurs, and government officials to examine how businesses and communities have weathered the global financial crisis, facilitated trade promotion, and attracted foreign investment.

December 7-10
San Francisco

Visitors will explore cost effective, innovative, and alternative solutions for low-income communities to manage waste disposal, reduce air pollution, and implement recycling programs. Solo City, Indonesia – where the participants are from – is under regulatory pressure to find alternatives to how it currently processes municipal solid waste. The landfill is already over capacity and Solo City is trying to solve the problem using creative approaches including turning trash into cement. The local government of Solo is eager to send staff to visit U.S. cities where waste conversion technologies have been implemented and evaluated.


NGO Management (Multiple)
January 29 – February 3
San Francisco
This project invites for eight visitors from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia and supports U.S. government priorities to expand civil society, promote democracy, and enhance employment opportunities. Meetings and site visits to non-profit organizations, professional associations, federal agencies, academic institutions, corporate foundations, and public service organizations will illustrate public-private partnerships, strategic planning, the use of social media and new technology, fundraising, board development, and the optimization of volunteer assistance. The project will include a strategic planning exercise for participants to develop an action plan to implement upon return to their home countries.


February 8-14
San Francisco
Twenty two participants from around the globe will explore the role that investigative journalists play in U.S. society as they raise awareness of social issues and inform the public about corruption, graft, abuse of power and other issues that impact government, local communities, business, the environment, health, safety, and society. Participants will explore the values and ethics that underlie investigative journalism and will examine the impact of investigative journalism on U.S. history, current politics and society. The group will also assess the impact of social media, citizen journalism, and alternative forms of reporting.

February 15-18
San Francisco
Designed for 15 government officials, economists, academics, technical, legal and policy experts, this project will cover counter-censorship, secure communications technology, digital safety training, and policy and research programs for people facing internet repression. The group will assess progress in the transition of internet stewardship between stakeholder with an emphasis on “cyber sovereignty.”  Participants will also discuss vulnerabilities exploited by cyber criminals, assess cyber security responses, and study effects on national security, economies, and public access to information.

February 21-25
San Francisco
In support of the 2015 Summit of the Americas and its call for concerted action on continuing and new challenges in the hemisphere, this project will focus on U.S. efforts to expand educational, social, and employment opportunities for at-risk and disadvantaged youth to help them avoid crime, violence, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and sub-standard academic performance. The group will also learn about family support initiatives, sports and after-school activities, truancy and dropout prevention projects, job training, and programs to counter gang activity. Participants will explore the efforts of schools, community-based organizations, and faith-based groups as well as programs supported by local, state, and national government entities.

February 23-28
San Francisco
Our 15 participants will examine U.S. efforts promoting international cooperation to develop and expand traditional and alternative sources of energy. The project will highlight U.S. energy policy and how private industry, non-profit organizations, state and local governments, and citizen activist groups advocate their policy positions. Meetings and site visits will explore energy sources, how communities mitigate climate change effects, and energy security methods.