Washington, DC /eNewsChannels/ — Citizen Diplomats from Across America Gather in Nation’s Capital at National Council for International Visitors National Meeting, February 11-13, 2010. In spite of a snowstorm of historic proportions, more than 200 citizen diplomats, out of 675 expected participants from across the United States, have reached Washington, D.C. to hone their skills at the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) National Meeting, February 11-13. Each NCIV network member plays a key role in fostering mutual understanding and furthering United States’ interests by organizing and carrying out local programs of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Held at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel (999 Ninth Street, NW) and centered on the theme “One Handshake at a Time,” this year’s gathering celebrates the 50th anniversary of the public-private partnership between the Department of State and NCIV (

This National Meeting offers unparalleled opportunities for citizen diplomats to deepen their understanding of U.S. diplomacy and foreign policy priorities, as well as sharpen their programming skills through insights from expert speakers, briefings on world regions, training sessions, and visits to Capitol Hill. Joined by IVLP alumni from Mali and Poland, the attendees will also share their experiences and discuss the impact of cross-cultural exchange in their local communities and around the world.

The International Visitor Leadership Program ( of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs annually brings approximately 4,500 potential or established leaders to the United States from around the world for professional projects with U.S. peers and for firsthand experience of American society and culture. This year, the program celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Tabitha Angel Berg is an aspiring author and musician and joined eNewsChannels in Nov. 2006 as an editor and mistress of the WP-based content management system (CMS). She likes ferrets better than cats and tea better than coffee, and is a devout iPad evangelist. Nobody pays her to like Dr. Pepper, but wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?