Exchange programs are empowering women and girls to create better societies. No country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind. This is why the United States believes that gender equality is critical to our shared goals of prosperity, stability, and peace. The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors academic, professional, and cultural exchange programs to educate, empower, and equip women and girls with the tools and resources that may be lacking or inaccessible to them in their home countries.

Exchange programs are unique in their ability to address the global challenges facing women and girls through sports, art, government affairs, conservation, science, technology & engineering (STEM), and more. These programs improve their cultural perspective, further their education, and promote leadership skills that may in turn build peace amongst conflicting countries. When we create safer environments for women and girls to exercise their universal rights and fully participate in decision-making processes, all societies benefit!

Women of Courage
Women of Courage

In honor of Women’s History Month, and the annual International Women of Courage Award, we want to know: Who is your woman of courage? 

Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership

The program connects talented, emerging women leaders from all over the world with members of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Leaders for a three week program. 

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

To augment the existing slate of projects focused on women and economic empowerment, the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) established the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in 2019.

AWEP Video Still
African Women's Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP)

The African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) assists women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa. These small and medium business owners are transforming their societies through economic development and social advocacy in their communities.

In their own words

Barbara Rwodzi of Zimbabwe checks out the thread at the LA Fashion Institute.
Barbara R. Participant Sub-Saharan Africa International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Western Hemisphere Read the story

statistic showing number of non-profit orgs impacted by exchange programs

In their own words

Photo of Joannie Bewa, IVLP Participant
Joannie B. Participant ParticipantOther Working Professionals Sub-Saharan Africa International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Western Hemisphere Read the story