History and Affiliation
Over seventy-five years ago, the United States Department of State established a program to arrange visits to the U.S. for emerging leaders from around the world. The vision was, and is, to have these future leaders meet with American citizens, get to know each other and gain an understanding of our cultures and lifestyles. This U.S. State Department program is supported by the national office Global Ties U.S. (formerly the National Council for International Visitors) and over 100 local organizations in cities across the country, similar to the San Antonio Council for International Visitors.
Since its founding, the national program has as its alumni 160 heads of state and 600 cabinet-level ministers, including: Mexican president Felipe Calderón, Valery Fiscard d' Estang, Indira Gandhi, and Margaret Thatcher. Thousands of other alumni have become leaders in business, government, and a variety of professions in their countries.
The International Visitors Program (now known as IVLP) was first introduced to the city in 1976 with the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau serving as a point of contact. Through the SACVB, volunteers coordinated professional programs and provided home hospitality.
In 1982, the SACVB could no longer support the program, so a group of volunteers, under the leadership of Irma Reyes, continued to host international visitors.
In 1988, representatives of the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) visited San Antonio and encouraged the group of volunteers to structure the organization as a non-profit, charter with the state, and become members of the NCIV.
In October of 1989, the San Antonio Council for International Visitors (SACIV) chartered with the state as a non-profit, formed its first Board of Directors, and became members of the NCIV (now Global Ties).
Our mission is to offer, as a service to the community of San Antonio, an opportunity for our citizens to further their understanding about people of other countries, to discover and appreciate the variations in all cultures that both bind and separate us, and to openly lend insight about ourselves in a free and candid manner to all those visitors who seek to discover more about us.
SACIV is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), founded in 1989, that arranges professional programming and home hospitality for emerging international leaders who have been selected by the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) to come to the United States. Hundreds of these international visitors come to San Antonio each year, providing opportunities to the community for fostering economic development and cross-cultural understanding. In addition to meeting with area professionals in their fields and exploring the local culture of San Antonio, international visitors are invited into the homes of SACIV members or hosted for meals or special excursions, giving them invaluable first-hand experience with everyday Americans.