The International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP)
The San Diego Diplomacy Council was thrilled to learn that the Closing Ceremony for the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), Promoting Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship would be hosted in San Diego! The Closing Ceremony consists of the International Delegates; in this case from India, representatives from the delegation’s National Programming Agency, American Councils for International Education, and a representative from the State Department.
The Adventure Begins
The group started their journey in Washington D.C, where they met with Professor Lynn Ross for a discussion on Federalism and Democracy. They also had a meeting with Dr. Jessica Foley, Chief Science Officer, from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, discussing more on the therapeutic parts of ultrasounds. The group’s first impression for the U.S Biomedical field was how in the U.S we have more private research institutions where it allows for more funding and therefore more innovation, compared to India where they explained the funding is very dependent on the government.
A deep-dive into communities throughout the United States
The next stop was Philadelphia, where they felt the highlight of the trip was meeting with the City Council, where they discussed their efforts in reviving the economy while revamping the life sciences departments in Philadelphia. The group also found visiting the Amish Country was a highlight of their trip. On these IVLP city trips, the State Department includes different cultural activities for each city stop, in this case the Amish Country. The group went into a discussion about this experience describing it as interesting, and a sustainable way of living.
The group then headed to Ohio, where they explained the highlight was visiting Akron Biotech, specifically how they funded their research by licensing their own technology. Their next visit was in Kalamazoo, where they explained the highlight in meeting Anita Meda, Director of Social Impact with Striker.
Concluding in San Diego
Lastly, the IVLP delegation visited San Diego in their last city stop where they visited the UCSD Design Lab and USD Infections Diseases Department. They expressed their excitement for viewing the labs and hearing about their funding model as a private institution.
Their key take-aways as they explained, was the cultural difference in the U.S compared to India, where they stated they were told multiple times by people to “take the risk”, with ideas or research, and felt that overall risk-taking was very encouraged here in the U.S compared to India, where they concluded they felt this is what incentivizes more innovation. Aside from cultural differences, they were shocked at how large and fully funded American Universities were. Overall, they felt this was an amazing experience, which opens the conversations between two countries. The group headed home this weekend, but will have the opportunity to join the extremely large IVLP alumni network for this program, where they will be able to submit applications for funding their future research in their home country, India.
Written by Adrianna Borja