The IVLP Experience

Written By Muhammad Yaqoob on May 4, 2013 | 3:20 PM


I feel lucky to have had the chance to join the International Visitor Leadership Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program that connects current and emerging international leaders with their American counterparts. The theme of the program was “Entrepreneurship Advocacy”. The program was a designed brilliantly, implemented meticulously, and proved very inspiring. I have been immensely motivated to be a part of such grand endeavors. I am all praise for the wondrous treatment meted out to me by the Pakistani and Washington teams alike. It is such a beautiful fraternity that my unconscious desires have always been aspiring for.

The program was scheduled for Washington, D.C., Boston-Massachusetts, Las Vegas-Nevada, Kansas-Missouri and Atlanta-Georgia. Visiting each city was like entering a new country. It was amazing. It allows us to learn faster, reach farther, work better, dream bigger, and live longer. When you’re exposed to different ways of doing things, it changes the way you think. Special Thanks to US Consulate General Lahore for such a great opportunity.

The program seeks to build mutual understanding between the United States and people of other countries through carefully designed visits reflecting the visitor’s professional interests. The American embassy selects the participants from over 120 countries to meet with their professional counterparts, and to experience U.S. Politics, Society and Cultural firsthand.

The objective of the program was to examine how public policy influences entrepreneurship in the United States at the local, state and federal government levels; to analyze best practices in advocating for economic reforms that encourage business development and entrepreneurship; to explore business opportunities created by the use of new technologies and the expansion of the global marketplace; to meet with U.S. professional groups who promote entrepreneurship such as government leaders, Chambers of Commerce, entrepreneur-focused lobbying groups, NGOs and public-private partnerships; and to explore mentorship and venture capital funding opportunities with the Pakistani-American diaspora community.

The program was administered by “The Institute of International Education” from March 18 – April 5, 2013. IIE has organized different levels of meetings and briefings for our team. We really had interactive and informative meetings with diplomats, professors, Individuals, officials from State Department, NGO’s representatives. We had wonderful home hospitality and other social nights which offered us the platform to network with Americans.

I learnt a lot from the program with regards to entrepreneurship advocacy in US. I wish to thank and acknowledge US Department of State, for selecting me to be part of this international program.

I aim to contribute, connect and inspire the youth and will promote and spur entrepreneurship around the community.

Commercial Law Development Program-CLDP
We had an interesting meeting we had with Mr. Joe Yang (International Attorney-Advisor) for Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) and Mr. David Nufrio (International Trade Specialist) Office of South Asia, International Trade Administration-U.S. Department of Commerce. We discussed further collaboration to promote entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
Capitol Hill
I visited the Capitol Building and enjoyed the experience! The staff within the main building were very
helpful and there’s a cloak room for your coats etc, which was great. The tour guide was a little ‘bossy’
However, I felt privileged be allowed into the Capitol...a super place!
Khalil Gibran Memorial Garden
Fortunately I got some free time and visited one of my favorite poets Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden in
Washington DC. He has been my favorite poet/philosopher for over and I find his work, especially, “The
Prophet”, has helped shape my personal philosophy.
GWU
Attended an interesting lecture by Dr George Solomon, on public policy influences entrepreneurship in the United States at the local, state and federal government levels. Dr George Soloman is Co-Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence-(CfEE) and Associate Professor of Management School of Business and Public Management at George Washington University.
White house
It was so cool to actually see and walk through parts of the White House I learned about as a child, like the Blue Room, Gold Room, etc. as well as the foyer where the President makes some of his TV appearances. Anyone who has the chance should make the time to tour the White House.
with Mr. Carlos E Aranaga 
Program Officer at IIE, Washington DC.
Botanic Garden
Went to U.S. Botanic Garden during winter. Beautiful, blooming tulips; exotic essences; ornamental orchids; fragrant florals -- all for free! A very well organized and Wonderful little green treasure.
Google Inc.
Visiting Google Headquarter was an amazing experience. We had a wonderful meeting with Bob Boorstin (Director of Public Policy) and Ben Blink (Policy Analyst) at Google Inc. and discussed best practices in advocating for economic reforms that encourage business development, entrepreneurship, business opportunities created by the use of new technologies and the expansion of the global marketplace.
U.S. House of Representatives
Our visit to U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business was another learning experience. We met with Mr. Andreas P. Karellas (Professional Staff Member) discussed the role of the Committee in devising legislation impacting small businesses, trade and entrepreneurship in the United States
Busboys and Poets
I really enjoyed the Busboys and Poets restaurant, bookstore, fair trade market. It’s a happening place where people can discuss issues of social justice and peace. It was created by owner Anas “Andy” Shallal, an Iraqi-American artist, activist and restaurateur. The restaurant’s name refers to American poet Langston Hughes who worked as a busboy before he became a poet. The restaurant was established by owner Anas “Andy” Shallal, an Iraqi-American artist, activist and restaurateur. The restaurant’s name refers to American poet Langston Hughes who worked as a busboy before he became a poet.
WASHINGTON, DC TOUR
A special tour of Washington, DC was arranged by IIE which was led by Ms. Jeanne Fogel (President, A Tour de Force) which underline the concept of federalism in the United States while highlighting key historic and cultural sights of Washington, DC. Site visits includes the Washington Monument, the White House, the Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol.
Invest2Innovate
Meeting with Ms. Kalsoom Lakhani (Founder and CEO-Invest2Innovate) was truly engaging at IIE. We discussed i2i’s strategies and how they support young entrepreneurs in untapped markets. i2i provides seed grants and hands-on support for social enterprises and innovative initiatives in their start-up stages, mainly in Pakistan.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
This museum is so exciting with all the planes, airships, missiles, pilots, astronauts, etc that has make flying so interesting for mankind. It takes you through the history of what mankind has achieved and also leaves you to think, that there is still so much more to explore out there. It is a great attraction for the kids, with the IMAX theaters a great attraction.

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1 comments:

S A J Shirazi said...

Wonderful experience. Hope you experience goes a long way. Best.



 
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