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: Background :
Training and Methodology :
State and Local Government :
Homeland Security and Public Safety :
Foreign Policy and International Relations :
Rule of Law :
:Agriculture / Agri Business:
Journalism and Media :
NGO/Non-Profits :
Higher Education :
Economic Development/International Programs :
Women・s Issues :
E-Commerce and E-Government :
:Dispute Resolution:
Youth Education :
:The Arts:
Other Services :



International Visitors Council (IVC) of Columbus, Ohio is a non-profit, 501(C)(3), international education program that serves international visitors in Central Ohio.

IVC・s mission is, ・to build partnerships between Central Ohioans and citizens of other countries that strengthen democratic ideals, encourage economic development, and promote cultural understanding through the exchange of knowledge and ideas.・

Founded in 1965, IVC has hosted hundreds of visitors from over 60 different countries. With diverse partnerships in the Columbus area, IVC strives in its programming efforts to create a positive and educational view of Americans for our visitors, while simultaneously combating the negative stereotypes that often inhibit international relations.

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Training and Methodology

IVC has participated in a number of fee-for-service type programs, primarily the Community Connections Program and the Open World Program, which strive to develop relationships between the people and communities of Central Ohio and international visitors through innovative training and mutually beneficial professional and cultural exchanges. For the last ten years, IVC has successfully scheduled and programmed for an average of four Community Connections Programs per year, most often for groups of ten each from Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and Kazakhstan. This continued success has helped to build a large group of community volunteers willing to assist with various aspects of international guests・ visits.

The International Visitors Council of Columbus arranges focused programs and promotes cultural awareness through activities specifically designed for each individual or group of visitors. IVC has over 40 years of experience in program development working closely with local businesses, corporations, state and federal governmental agencies, as well as institutions of higher education in the Central Ohio region. Professional working relationships with a network of experts in a variety of fields allows IVC to organize professional meetings, on-site visits and tours, job shadowing and volunteering experiences, speaking opportunities, round table, panel discussions, workshops, and schooling. This diverse network helps IVC coordinate specialized itineraries to best accommodate each group of visitors while maintaining the organization・s primary objectives of promoting democracy, economic development, and cultural awareness.

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State and Local Government

IVC takes full advantage of the numerous democratic and educational institutions that Columbus offers. As the capital of Ohio, Columbus is home to a variety of legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government, such as the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Supreme Court and the governor・s office. IVC works regularly with experts in the Ohio Department of Development to train and educate visitors in economic development planning.  IVC Columbus is particularly strong in the area of government due to a number of our board members holding either elected or senior staff positions in Congressional Offices, the Ohio・s Governor・s Office, and the Columbus Mayor・s Office, all of which have resulted in direct access to our elected officials for our visiting groups.

Ohio General Assembly: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/

Ohio Government Website:

Franklin County Administration:  http://www.co.franklin.oh.us/

City of Columbus:  

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Homeland Security and Public Safety

The Ohio Office of Homeland Security (http://www.homelandsecurity.ohio.gov/hls.asp), which works under The Ohio Department of Public Safety (http://ohiopublicsafety.com/odps.asp), familiarizes visitors regarding the increased concerns of Homeland Security since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Ohio Office of Homeland Security offers presentations on the distribution of its state funds as well as on Ohio・s unique geographical location, and how it continues to keep the state safe, while at the same time-sharing a large open border with Canada via Lake Erie. Here, visitors are trained and learn about our federal funding system and how federal dollars are allocated to the states and how those funds are then directed at the state level.  Executive Director, John Overly, as met personally with nearly every Community Connections group coordinated by IVC and since the inception of the Office of Homeland Security in 2002.   

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Foreign Policy and International Relations

The International Visitors・ Council of Columbus is very fortunate to have the Mershon Center for International Studies at The Ohio State University (www.mershon.ohio-state.edu.), a nationally and internationally known center for excellence regarding foreign policy and international affairs. The Center currently focuses its research on four key areas of international security: 1)The use of force and diplomacy in international relations, 2) The study of political and economic decision-making that affects war and peace, 3) Culture and Identity and their impact on national security, 4) Law and institutional management of violent inter-group conflict that might arise from a variety of causes, including conflicting material interests, normative beliefs or resource scarcity and usage.  One of the Center・s primary areas of focus is the Commonwealth of Independent States, the states of the former Soviet Union.   The Director, Dr. Richard Herrmann, has personally visited with nearly every Community Connections group hosted through IVC Columbus for a decade.  He has traveled frequently to the CIS states and always invites numerous other distinguished faculty members to join with him in meeting the visiting delegations.  We would hope you will take the opportunity to visit their web site.

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Rule of Law

Columbus is very fortunate to have two major law schools: The Ohio State University and Capital University. Nationally recognized faculty members from both law schools work with IVC and its visitors on a regular basis. Additionally, the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, has made five (5) official visits to his counterparts in Ukraine and  has repeatedly donated his time to assist in the education and training of Rule of Law participants.  Also, IVC has a board member who has provided excellent leadership training by taking Rule of Law groups for several days to familiarize them with our 15 judges of the  Municipal Court that handles lesser (misdemeanor) cases, our 16-member Court of Common Pleas, which handles larger, felony cases, as well as our Probate Court, eight-judge Juvenile/Domestic Relations Court and the 10th District Court of Appeals.

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 Columbus is the home of The Ohio State University, the nation・s largest public university and the largest college of which is the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (www.cfaes.osu.edu).  The nationally-ranked college offers the very latest in agricultural technology as well as an entire department for Agri-business.  They also administer OSU Ag Extension Program, which outreach efforts focus on four areas:  agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community development and 4-H Youth development programs.  The College also operates the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, OH. 

Also, the Scotts Company, a 7-billion dollar agri-business headquartered in Columbus and Marysville, OH., that began as Miracle-Gro in 1951 (www.scotts.com).   ・Dedicated to a beautiful world through innovation partnerships, resource conservation and environmental stewardship,・ the Scotts Company offers great opportunity for Community Connections Program internships.        

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Journalism and Media

IVC has an excellent working relationship with The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus・ daily newspaper (www.dispatch.com). The staff of the Dispatch has repeatedly met with our numerous visitor groups to discuss current events issues, issues the delegates are facing in their home countries as well as hosting interns through the Community Connections program. Other local media outlets include Suburban News Publications (http://www.snponline.com/), as well as the local CBS affiliate, WTVN, and WOSU, the Public Broadcasting Station in Columbus.  All combined, these resources offer our visitors a well-rounded familiarization of independent, privately-owned as well as government-sponsored media from very large to very local.

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IVC partners with a number of non-profit organizations located in Columbus. Over the past 10 years, each organization has proven to be very valuable to the many visiting NGO groups visiting through the Community Connections Program. Among these non-profits, FirstLink Columbus (www.firstlink.org), a large clearinghouse of community services, offers a mentoring center, training, and a myriad of volunteer opportunities that our NGO visitors have found extremely valuable.   FirstLink has served as the primary training partner with IVC Columbus regarding the Community Connections program and the FirstLink President/CEO, Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher, has participated in several follow-on visits to countries of our former delegations.

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Higher Education

IVC works with a number of educational institutions in order to give its visitors insight into American academia. With IVC board members representing The Ohio State University (www.osu.edu), the nation・s largest university, Franklin University (http://www.franklin.edu/), a private four-year university, and Columbus State Community College (http://www.cscc.edu/), Ohio・s second largest two-year technical school, IVC is able to train visitors in a multitude of academic areas.   Franklin University・s representative on the IVC board, Phyllis Duryee, serves as our training coordinator in our partnership with Franklin University regarding the Community Connections program.

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Economic Development/International Programs

In the area of Economic Development, IVC strives to involve its diverse mix of board members in order to best ensure an excellent program. Included in this area of training are meetings with the governor・s International Trade and Economic Development Division・s Deputy Director, Kirk Merritt, who presents an educational overview of Ohio・s aggressive international economic development program. Also, presentations by board member Phyllis Duryee, Director of the International Program at Franklin University as well as by Bob Queen, Administrator of International Initiatives at Columbus State Community College, and by Dr. Jerry Ladman, Vice-Provost for International Affairs at The Ohio State University, help to train visitors in the various aspects of economic development.

Int・l Trade and Economic Development Division: http://www.odod.state.oh.us/itd/

Franklin University: http://www.franklin.edu/prospective/international/

The Ohio State University International Affairs: http://oia.osu.edu/

Columbus State Community College (http://www.cscc.edu/)

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Women・s Issues

IVC Columbus has an excellent working relationship with the Women・s Fund of Central Ohio (www.womensfundcentralohio.org), and its Executive Director, Sharon Steele.  Founded by prominent women of Columbus and Central Ohio in 2001, the organization・s mission is ・to transform the lives of women by mobilizing the collective power and passion of all women working together.・  They offer training on women・s issues, forums where prominent women・s issues figures are brought into Columbus, networking, grant and scholarship opportunities.

We also enjoy an excellent working relationship with The Hon. JoAnn Davidson, the only female ever to serve as Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives (1995-2000), and current Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C.  Now President of JAD Associates, Mrs. Davidson has long been involved at the forefront, both nationally and locally, of governmental policy issues.  The JoAnn Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute (www.jadleadershipinstitute.com) offers training and guidance to emerging female leaders in the areas of government and politics.  

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E-Commerce and E-Government

Columbus enjoys a reputation as one of the national centers for E-Commerce and E-Government program development. Also, Columbus is fortunate to be home to the Online Computer Library Center (http://www.oclc.org/), a computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. More than 53,548 libraries in 96 countries and territories around the world use the services of the Online Computer Library Center to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, and preserve library materials.

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Dispute Resolution

The Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management www.disputeresolution.ohio.gov provides constructive, non-violent forms, methods,  processes and training techniques for resolving disputes.  An agency of the State of Ohio, IVC Columbus has coordinated training with the Commission through our Governor・s Office board member, Roman Fedkiw.  The Commission has always enjoyed providing training opportunities to our delegates and the delegates have always rated the Commission very highly on our program・s exit surveys.   

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Youth Education

While IVC primarily utilizes the resources of the three institutions of higher education located in Columbus, we have also done excellent programming in the recent past with local school systems like Columbus Public Schools, our 60,000+ public school system. In contrast, Columbus also has a large, private, Catholic school system comprised of both Catholic and non-Catholic students. Furthermore, there are several suburban school districts, which are much smaller and face different problems than the large urban school district. Through seeing these three different school districts, visitors are able to receive a well-rounded understanding of the varied school systems common in large, metropolitan cities like Columbus.

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The Arts

◦ Opera Management.   IVC has three (3) primary partners in this area:  Opera Columbus (www.operacolumbus.org), the Ohio State University School of Music (http://music.osu.edu), and the Wexner Center for the Arts located on the OSU campus (www.wexarts.org).  

・Opera Columbus, with its full time staff and company, perform classical opera from Verdi・s ・Aida・ to Puccini・s ・Madama Butterfly・ to more contemporary opera, as well.  They also have the Opera Columbus Academy, a community outreach and training endeavor that we feel participants would find most interesting.  Please visit the Opera Columbus website and review their Artistic Director, staffing, cast and performance calendar.   

・The Ohio State University School of Music, located just north of downtown Columbus, is the largest university in the United States with an undergraduate enrollment of over 50,000 students.  The School of Music has an excellent opera/voice section of its performance division that enjoys an excellent national reputation.  The website presents bios of all voice faculty members. 

・The Wexner Arts Center is co-located with the OSU School of Music.  Founded and funded by Columbus billionaire resident, Les Wexner (The Limited, GAP, Victoria・s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc.), money has been no object in the establishment of this nationally and internationally-acclaimed arts center.  It is both a large, state-of-the-art, world class performing arts facility as well as a certified Arts Center of Excellence.  

◦ IVC・s board member, Dr. Jerry Ladman, is Vice-Provost for International Affairs at the university and actively assists all IVC-related programming there.

◦ Jazz Music.  Columbus, Ohio has a number of excellent resources in this area, most notably the Columbus Jazz Orchestra  (www.columbusjazzorchestra.com).  As their website indicates, for 33 years now, they have been one of the finest regional jazz groups in the entire country, maintaining a subscription series and hosting all of the nation・s finest jazz performers and composers.  The Columbus Jazz Orchestra・s permanent new home is the very beautiful, historic and completely refurbished Southern Theatre in downtown Columbus.  IVC has long standing, excellent personal and professional relationships with this outstanding organization and their fulltime staff members.  They have always very willingly agreed to assist IVC with any of our programming needs,   not only regarding performance, but overall management, marketing, etc.  We are certain that participants would find the CJO experience extremely rewarding.  The CJO・s historic venue is beautiful with a 1,800 seat capacity and they would experience large audiences for every performance as well as some of the finest professional-level jazz being performed in the United States today.  We would encourage you to visit the CJO website.

◦ Traditional Arts & Music.   For our third program area, we would like to discuss our planning possibilities in the traditional arts and music area.  Columbus has an excellent orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (www.columbussymphony.com).   Maestro Junichi Hirokami, a native of Japan, is the new Conductor/Music Director of the symphony.  In its 54th year, the symphony offers a 45-week performance season featuring more than 100 members (fifty-four full time chairs) in the truly beautiful Ohio Theatre on Capitol Square.  The symphony also operates twenty educational and community outreach programs, four youth orchestras and has an annual operating budget in excel of 11 million dollars.   Several of our board members are corporate board members of the symphony, as well, which accords IVC excellent access to all levels of the symphony・s operations.  We would also like to direct you to additional resources at IVC・s disposal:

◦ Ballet Met (www.balletmet.org)

◦ Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) (www.capa.com)

◦ Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra (www.promusicacolumbus.org)

◦ Contemporary American Theatre Company (www.catco.org)         

◦ Chamber Music Columbus (www.columbuschambermusic.org)

◦ Red Herring Theatre Ensemble (www.redherring.org)

◦ Columbus Landmarks Foundation (www.columbuslandmarks.org)

◦ Columbus College of Art & Design (www.ccad.edu)

◦ Columbus Museum of Art (www.columbusmuseum.org)

◦ Traditional Ohio history outdoor drama theatre available early June through                August, as follows:

◦ Tecumseh (www.tecumsehdrama.com/)

◦ Blue Jacket (www.bluejacketdrama.com/)

◦ Trumpet in the Land (www.trumpetintheland.com/)

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Other Services

Interpreters.  Being located in a population center of one-million-plus, and with six major colleges and universities within Columbus and Franklin County, IVC has the capability to secure interpreters in the native languages of nearly every visitor.

Home Hosting/Home Hospitality.  Due primarily to IVC Columbus・ ten year participation in the Community Connections Program, we offer a large group of very dedicated volunteers at the corporate level for training and corporate in-office hospitality meals, families for in-home hospitality as well as a multitude of families for home stay-required programs. 

Reception.  We personally greet all arriving visitors and groups at Columbus International Airport, accompany them to scheduled appointments and provide transportation to cultural events, shopping or other needs and requirements they might have.  Additionally, IVC Columbus prepares and presents orientation folders for each participant that details the programming schedules, emergency information, twenty-four hour IVC personnel cell phone contact numbers and our newly-developed departure surveys. 

Hotel.  Visitors stay at The Columbus, A Renaissance Hotel by Marriott, 50 North Third Street, Columbus, OH 43215, one of Columbus・ premier hotels with which IVC has a long standing professional relationship.  Due to the large number of international visitors through IVC who stay at the hotel, a very competitive government rate is secured for our guests.  For fee-for-service programs requiring extended hotel stays, Marriott hotels provides us an excellent government rate at their extended stay facility at its excellent Easton location, a large shopping and community entertainment district located four miles northeast of the downtown.  Amenities in those new facilities include kitchens, dining table, living room and one or two bedrooms.   

Culture.  Festivals and cultural events are on-going year round.  Columbus has a nationally acclaimed, large, full time, financially well endowed symphony orchestra, as well as BalletMet, Opera Columbus, the Columbus Museum of Art that houses the well known Sirak exhibition of impressionist art as a part of its permanent collection, and numerous other contemporary theatre state production companies (see Arts section above). 

・Additionally, we have found that many of our visitors and particularly those from the former Soviet Union, greatly enjoy the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (www.wpafb.af.mil/museum).  Located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it is ・the・ Air Force museum, the only one in the entire country.  It is very large and requires several hours to tour the exhibits of every make and model air craft, refurbished to a pristine condition, from the Wright brothers・ era to the current stealth bomber.  The visitors especially enjoy the flight simulators and the Air Force One exhibits of those planes actually used by the former U.S. presidents.  The museum is open to the public seven days a week at no charge.  It is always very crowded and we prefer to arrange privately-led tours for our visitors. 

・The visitors also enjoy the Neil Armstrong Space Museum, which dedicates a great deal of its exhibit space to the highly competitive, but close relationship between the American and former Soviet space programs.

・During the summer months, we like to offer our visitors a visit to The Wilds (www.thewilds.org), a 10,000 acre wildlife park outside Columbus that is owned and operated by the Columbus Zoo.  It is unique in the country due to the open range animal format where visitors are transported in excursion buses through free roaming animal areas.  The Wilds is open from May through September at a nominal entrance fee.

・Also in operation during the summer months are several outdoor dramas and the one most often selected for our visitors by IVC is Tecumseh (www.tecumsehdrama.com).  Nearly all our visitors express great interest in Native American Indian culture, particularly that which they have seen in our Hollywood movies.  Tecumseh is a depiction of Shawnee Indian life in central Ohio during the 18th century period of the Northwest Territory.  Horses, blank rifle and canon fire, large battle scenes, etc., that all took place in this area as white colonial settlers moved into the Indian lands of the Ohio Valley, are re-enacted.  We take our visitors for the pre-performance back stage tour where they meet the actors, followed by dinner in the pavilion, then the performance.  To-date, all of our visitors have remained afterward when the actors come up into the audience for photos and autographs. 

・Columbus also offers large shopping malls with all nationally known stores represented from discount to high fashion, from Target to Macy・s and Sak・s Fifth Avenue.  The new, very large Easton development is one of the nation・s leading retail developments.  It is a planned outdoor entertainment district with narrow streets, fountains, wide sidewalk areas, retail stores and restaurants. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information at the phone number or web site listed above.  We would also encourage you to please take a moment to visit our source document binder that contains CDs and DVDs of services and training opportunities offered by IVC Columbus. 

On behalf of the IVC Board of Trustees, our thanks to you for taking the time to visit and review our Capabilities Statement.  We look forward to working together with you.

Thank You.

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