The International Visitors Council of Los Angeles is one of the most important organizations in Los Angeles. The visitors come to Los Angeles as guests of the US Department of State and are nominated for the program by US embassies and consulates around the world. IVCLA designs programs for the visitors so that they meet people in their field of work as well as experiencing home hospitality from IVCLA members. The visitors are leaders in their fields (art, science, film, music, politics, science, business, non profits, etc) and visit the US to learn from their peers here and to share their knowledge with us. It is citizen diplomacy at its best. The opportunities to meet people from around the world is amazing. My husband and I recently hosted two visitors from Israel and two from Palestine. Talk about an interesting evening. The four visitors said that as a result for traveling together they were now friends. They said they could get along but it is politics that gets in the way.
I have been an IVCLA volunteer for over 20 years which has provided some of the most rewarding times of my life. I typically host a small group for a home-cooked dinner and tell the guests to come dressed casually and to feel free to discuss any topic. This has led to wonderful conversations and great exchanges of information. I have had visitors from all over the world, including a banker from Taiwan who mentioned that when Mr. Alan Greenspan came to Taiwan he met with her and her boss! I have become an "American Mom" to a young Spanish cellist and have become part of his extended family. I can't imagine not having IVCLA in my life!
I can proudly say that I am a "Citizen of the World" by volunteering with IVCLA. I primarily do Home Hospitality as well as drive visiting guests to their meetings. The former usually takes place in a Los Angeles restaurant. Having conversations with the guests from other countries, allows my husband and me to be an Ambassador from the USA. The visiting person gets a feel of a typical American family and a non-touristy place to dine. Hopefully, when they return home, they will have a more realistic opinion about America that they can be shared with their fellow countrymen. A myth or stereotype will have been broken.
The latter area where I help out allows me to be a "fly on the wall". Attending meetings around my own city, learning more about someone's culture as well as see why their visit is important for global diplomacy is what I gain from these driving duties.
Though I work with an international company, this compliments my experience by meeting and greeting guests from around the world. Additionally, there are many wonderful functions that are planned for members and potential members that are fun and educational. Kudos to the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles!
I am a member or director of many organizations in LA County,State and Internationally, and I need to spend my time wisely to make the best out of it. If I were to have to quit my involvement with any non-profit, this would be the last one to suffer. IVCLA does a fantastic job in presenting LA to the world, and making all international visitors feel at home. Their home-hospitality programs are a unique opportunity for international visitors to understand life in the USA from the perspective of a common resident. Keep it up IVCLA and thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve!