Bringing the World to Cleveland


Our international exchanges convene students and emerging leaders from around the world and facilitate global conversations with Clevelanders about how to improve our communities through action, innovation and collaboration.

The Cleveland Council on World Affairs is a nationally recognized leader in creating meaningful international exchange experiences complete with engaging professional meetings, home hosting experiences, and memorable cultural activities. We welcome over 400 international visitors from around the world to Cleveland each year through various U.S. Department of State and custom exchange opportunities (click here to learn more). [Note: this could be a link that takes visitors to the bottom of this webpage where more information is found on IVLP and other exchanges

Join us as a CCWA Citizen Diplomat to help welcome our exchange participants to Cleveland! CCWA’s Citizen Diplomat volunteers open up their homes to host a meal, welcome overnight visitors, or share their professional insights.

Home Hospitality Dinner Opportunities 

*Note: for each upcoming opportunity could there be a link to a project page (e.g. how we have some programs linked to the calendar currently)? This will keep the page less cluttered.
Upcoming Programs
Please check back soon for updates and hosting opportunities in early 2023.
Volunteer as a home hospitality dinner host. For more information, please email Andrew Kovach, Senior Program Officer, at

Homestay Opportunities [Column right]

Upcoming Programs
Please check back soon for updates and hosting opportunities in early 2023.
Volunteer as a homestay host. For more information, please email Andrew Kovach, Senior Program Officer, at

FAQ: Hosting Dinners and Homestays

Welcome international visitors to your home for an evening of dinner and conversation, open your home to international visitors or students for an overnight stay, or share your expertise and exchange ideas with the visitors in a professional setting.

Click on the different Citizen Diplomat opportunities below to find the right way for you to engage with our exchange programs, or contact Andrew Kovach, Program Officer, at, for more information about Citizen Diplomacy and CCWA’s International Exchange Programs.

[INSERT] Drop down menus from current “Volunteer” page:

Host a Dinner

Welcome international visitors to your home for an evening of dinner and conversation with friends/family.

CCWA hosts numerous professional visitor groups each year that stay in a downtown Cleveland hotel typically for 3 – 6 days. Home hosted dinners are a great way for them to get to know the hospitality and diversity of our Northeast Ohio community.

No need for an elaborate multi-course meal. Dinner does not need to be expensive and can be done as easily as you’d like. A potluck or a catered meal are also possibilities. Schedule pending, a weekend brunch or lunch may also be arranged.

The more the merrier. You’re welcome to invite family members or friends to help welcome your international guests.

Groups range from 2 – 5 visitors—an interpreter may be included, too.

Who’s coming to dinner? Background information will be provided typically one week in advance. This includes visitor name, profession, and dietary restrictions.

When do I host? Hosting opportunities may be any day of the week or weekend. After you sign up to host, you will receive monthly updates with hosting options and you can select the opportunities that work best with your schedule.

What is the time commitment? The time frame is flexible, however, 2 – 2.5 hours for dinner is typical.

Transportation. Hosts are kindly welcome to assist with transport to and from your home. CCWA can help make other arrangements, as we know this is not always feasible.

Sign me up! We ask first time hosts to fill out a Citizen Diplomat profile form here. A CCWA staff member will also briefly meet you in person at your home prior to hosting.


Welcome visitor for overnight home stay

Open your home to international visitors or students for a short or extended overnight stay (2 nights to 3 weeks).

Homestays are often the most memorable and significant experiences for visiting professionals and students.

Who will be staying? CCWA typically hosts three or four visitor groups annually requiring overnight homestays. Groups may be professional adults or high school students. Homestay host families each welcome 1-2 visitors in their home during the entire length of the program.

Where do the visitors stay? It is a requirement that visitors stay in a room with a door that can be closed. Each visitor must have their own bed. Visitors can share a room with another visitor, provided that they are of the same gender. Youth visitors can share a bedroom with a host sibling of roughly the same age, provided again that they are of the same gender and each has their own bed.

Do I live too far away? Visitors are typically placed in homes within a 35-mile radius of downtown Cleveland.

How long do visitors stay? Exchange programs can last as little as a weekend, or as long as three weeks.

Do I need to provide meals? Hosts will be asked to provide breakfast items for the guest and to include the visitor in dinner plans, as they would any other member of their household. CCWA will provide lunch during program days (Monday-Friday). On weekends, visitors will share in all meals with the family. Visitors should never be expected to pay for food.

What do the visitors do during the day? CCWA arranges a program itinerary on weekdays for visitors to engage in meetings, professional sessions, workshops, and cultural activities. CCWA will handle transportation on weekdays.

Sign me up! We ask first time hosts to fill out a Citizen Diplomat profile form here. A CCWA staff member will also briefly meet you in person at your home prior to hosting.

Host a professional meeting

Share your expertise, exchange ideas and provide a presentation about your work.

International visitors travel to Cleveland on a wide variety of professional topics: business and entrepreneurship; local and state government; civil society and NGO management; healthcare; tech innovations; arts and culture; youth engagement; and many others. Our exchange programs connect these visitors with their counterparts in Northeast Ohio and promote two-way exchanges during informal sessions.

Who are the visitors? Participants are specially selected by U.S. embassies and the State Department and are seen as rising leaders who will benefit from a more nuanced understanding of the U.S. They may be entrepreneurs, business leaders, academic researchers, doctors, educators, artists, nonprofit leaders, journalists, law enforcement agents, government officials, politicians, etc.

Do the visitors speak English? Many of our visitors do speak English. State Department-contracted interpreters are included on projects with non-English speaking participants.

How long do meetings last? A typical meeting is 1 – 1.5 hours.

What does a meeting look like? Meetings with visitors touch upon their professional interests while supporting U.S. foreign policy goals through public diplomacy. Sessions are informal in nature and may simply start with a 10 minute overview of the organization and the specific focus of the meeting, provided by CCWA. A long presentation or PowerPoint is not required. Most of the meeting time can be reserved for dialogue and Q&A. In the spirit of exchange, we also encourage speakers to ask visitors about their work and experiences back home.

Where are meetings held? Ground transportation is arranged and we are happy to come to you. CCWA is also able to host the meeting at our office downtown (coffee included!).

Sign me up! If you’re interested in getting involved as a professional resource, please contact Program Officer Andrew Kovach at for more information.

Become a Volunteer Driver

Assist with home hospitality dinners by offering to transport international visitors to and from their host home. Stay and share a meal with visitors and meet their Citizen Diplomat hosts, who are similarly interested in fostering global exchange!

Sign me up! We ask first time hosts to fill out a Citizen Diplomat profile form here.


Case Studies from current VOLUNTEER page??

International Visitor Leadership Program

We host more than 350 international visitors annually through International Visitor Leadership Program IVLP. The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. Professional meetings reflect the participants’ professional interests and support our country’s foreign policy goals. You can get involved by hosting visitors in your home for dinner.

Other State Department Programs and Custom Exchanges

In addition to the IVLP, CCWA runs customizable and longer-term exchanges, including exchanges for fellowship program recipients. We often seek Citizen Diplomats who are willing to host visitors for 2-4 weeks in their homes or as Experts-in-Residence in their places of work.

Youth Exchange Programs

CCWA hosts international youth groups, often high school-age students, who are embedded in the community with host families to learn about American culture and society. Students engage with resources in the U.S. to build leadership, communication skills, English language, among other important skills and values.

Interactive World Map

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Last year, we welcomed visitors from 86 countries.