Each year, approximately 5,000 current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields travel to the United States on the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) to cultivate professional networks with their American counterparts. Selected alumni are invited to return to the United States to participate in citizen diplomacy summits in American cities and to explain how their IVLP experience impacted the work they do today in their local communities.
An accomplished educator and founder of Katleho Pele Education and GoMaths, Mr. Lebang Nong participated in an IVLP on youth leadership and civic participation in 2015. Throughout his three-week program meeting with public, private, and nonprofit sector counterparts, Lebang was inspired to “think big” and deepen his professional collaborations in South Africa and across the world. Always the math teacher, Lebang credits his IVLP for pushing GoMaths to a new phase of “exponential growth,” leveraging ideas from his newfound international network to provide over 31,000 students from disadvantaged South African communities with a solid foundation in math education.
Mr. Nong was invited to return to the United States as an IVLP Gold Star on November 4, 2019. During this program, he will revisit sites from his original 2015 IVLP, including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Louisville; as well as new cities such as Chicago. His program will culminate at the Diplomacy Begins Here Summit in Louisville, Kentucky, where he will be the keynote speaker. In each city stop he will have meetings with educators and youth advocates, and will have opportunities for public engagements to discuss his work in South Africa and the impact of his IVLP.
His motto is, “Without Education, There is No Future.” Follow along on social media at #IVLP and see more coverage of his return exchange on Meridian International Center’s website.