HISTORY & MISSION
WorldMontanaSM was founded in 1987 by Wendy Bay Lewis, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, to assist in changing the image of the United States one person, one friend at a time and to bring the world – its people and cultures, problems and triumphs, customs and cuisines, philosophies and religions into the great state of Montana.
WorldMontanaSM is governed by a 9-member Board of Directors nominated by WorldMontanaSM supporters and elected by the Board after recommendations are made. Each year roughly 1,000 volunteer hours provide short-term professional and cultural programs for visitors from around the world -prominent leaders in business, academia, the arts, science, agriculture, politics, and the media. In 2001, Senator Arlen Specter nominated these volunteer citizen diplomats for the Nobel Peace Prize.
WorldMontanaSM has served as one of the U.S. Department of State’s private sector partners for almost 25 years via the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). This program has brought foreign leaders and specialists to the United States for firsthand exposure to their professional counterparts and U.S. society. It is described by U.S. Ambassadors as one of the most effective foreign policy tools of American diplomacy. The Program’s distinguished alumni include such individuals as Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Anwar Sadat, Giscard D’Estaing, Indira Gandhi, Julius Nyerere, Oscar Arias, and F.W. deKlerk.