Serving up America's 'recipe' for economic success - State Dept.'s IVLP program sends 9 Greeks to US

Monday, 23 October 2017 23:02

By V. Kostoulas

Nine Greek citizens wound up a mini tour of the United States last week with more than well-meaning wishes for investments towards their still recession-battered country in their luggage. Instead they brought back a better insight into how the world's super power and innovation leader creates wealth.

The mission, in fact overlapped with a meeting at the White House between Donald Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose leitmotif during his own mini tour of the United State was "investments".

The mission was part of the US State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which first began in far-off 1940 and has since offered the opportunity to roughly 5,000 people, per year, from around the world to visit America and witness what makes the country tick.

In gauging the success of the program, the State Department points to the fact that 35 current and some 300 former world leaders were previous IVLP participants.

With the US embassy in Athens organizing the national delegation from Greece, the nine participants - selected for their efforts to boost and promote entrepreneurship - represented nine universities around the country. Their meetings in the United States were with counterparts at corresponding institutions and business groups.

"N" was also on hand for the innovation-laden workshops attended by the participants from Greece, as well as their contacts with a bevy of American business and corporate pioneers.

While the massive and multifaceted US economic "engine" isn't easily applicable - or even sensible - for every country or society around the world, it nevertheless offers certain utterly successful templates for future economic planning in still bailout-dependent Greece and the country's under-performing and often unimaginative economic sector.       

A primary condition, of course, is for Greece to realize a long-term economic strategy fuelled by its own resources and innovative thinking.

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