Bringing the World to Kalamazoo

Since its founding in 1971, Colleagues International has hosted more than 2000 visitors from some 100 countries in Kalamazoo. In 2016, Colleagues hosted 136 people from 41 nations.

We are a volunteer-based citizen diplomacy organization and part of the Global Ties U.S. network of volunteers that was nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. For more than 45 years, Colleagues has been fostering and promoting citizen diplomacy, enriching local community with global diversity in Kalamazoo one relationship at a time.

More than 200 professional hosts, from fields including nonprofit, media, business, healthcare, law enforcement, government and education, welcome their international peers in professional exchange.



Enriching professional and cultural programming opportunities abound in Kalamazoo and West Michigan.

Our core of student and community volunteers ensures the smooth planning and execution of international programs here in Kalamazoo and across West Michigan, from individuals staying for several months, to large groups going into depth on a particular issue.

Colleagues International has a network of more than 100 home hospitality families active today. These citizen diplomats love to open their homes and lives to international visitors.

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International visitors to Kalamazoo

Current and Upcoming Programs

Community Outreach and Youth Engagement (Belgium and the Netherlands) 12 guests + 3 liaisons –
December 10-12

Design Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Portugal) 6 guests + 1 liaison – December 13-16

Peer-to- Peer ‘NGO Empowerment Initiative’ U.S. – Russia. Our partners are the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, CIF Russia and Empower International (Arizona). 8 Russian visitors to Kalamazoo and 8 US visitors to Russia in 2018

Recent International Visitors

Channeling Energy for Sustained Social Change (Ukraine) 5 guests + 2 liaisons – November 19-22

Social Work – Germany (4 guests)
August-November 2017

Sustainable Agriculture and Modern Marketing – Bangladesh, India, Kyrgyz Republic (2), Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan (11 guests)
September 2nd  – 6th, 2017

Social Work – Spain (1 guest)
September-October 2017

The Pharmaceutical Industry – Palestine, 6 guests
August 16th – 19th, 2017

Addressing the Needs of Refugee Youth – Germany, 4 guests
August 6th – 9th, 2017

Independent Living for People with Disabilities – Russia, 6 guests
July 11th – 14th, 2017

IYLEP – Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, 9 youth + 4 adults
July 8th – 22nd, 2017

American LibrariesKazakhstan, 8 guests
June 15th – 20th, 2017

Civic Engagement in Small and Medium Sized CitiesPoland, 12 guests
May 17th – 20th, 2017

Children in the U.S. Justice System – Kuwait, Panama, Slovakia, Ukraine, Zambia, Zimbabwe, 7 guests

May 13th – 17th, 2017

Youth and Community Conflict Resolution – Brazil (8 guests)
April 12th – 15th, 2017

Women Social Entrepreneurs – Russia (8 guests) March 4th – 12th, 2017

Workforce Development – Bermuda (7 guests) Feb 9-11, 2017

Our Planet: Urban Sustainability – Resilient CitiesMulti-regional (Canada, China, Costa Rica) (4 guests: Feb 1-6, 2017)

NGO Management – Regional – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia (2) (10 guests: February 2 – 7, 2017)

Regional Economic Development – Estonia (6 guests: Jan 8-11, 2017)

Women Promoting Peace and Security – Australia, Burma, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Japan, Papua New Guinea (2), Philippines, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Timor-Leste (12 guests: Dec 6-10, 2016)

Trafficking in Persons – Oman (5 guests: Nov 23-29)

Integrating Minorities into the Public and Private Sectors – Israel (13 guests: Nov 13-16)

Education, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship – Pakistan (16 guests), Oct 9th – 12th

ColumbiaInnovation in Science and Technology Education – Colombia, 5 guests
September 14th – 17th, 2016

Flag_of_Saudi_arabia Interfaith Dialogue – Saudi Arabia (13 guests), August 10 – 13th

globe Changemakers II:  The impact of social entrepreneurship in the U.S. – Multi-Regional:  Algeria, Burundi, Cambodia, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peoples Republic of China, (9 guests), August 4th – 10th

Flag_of_Mexico.svg Community Policing – Mexico (13 guests), July 13th -16th

south korea Energy Security through Deregulation and Energy Efficiency – South Korea (7 guests), July 7th – 12th

Gabon Youth Mentoring, Development, and After School Programs – Gabon (10 guests), June 8th – 12th

Turkmenistan Waste Management – Turkmenistan (6 guests), June 4th – 8th

germany Social Work – Germany (3 guests) September-December 2016

 globeEntrepreneurship – Women Entrepreneurs (Multi-Regional), 8 guests, March 10-15

turkeyInclusion of minorities in the decision making process (Turkey), 3 guests, March 26-30

kyrgyzstan Civil Society, Rule of Law, & Human Rights (Kyrgyzstan), 4 guests, April 9-13

globeDisability Rights (Regional –Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Sudan, Chad), 8 guests April 10-13

greece Diversity and Youth Issues in the U.S. (Greece), 4 guests

May 15th – 17th, 2016

Columbia Ethnic Communities Historical Memory Initiative (Colombia), 4 guests May 17th – 19th, 2016

costa rica Trafficking in Persons (Costa Rica), 6 guests May 18th – 22nd, 2016

Environment – Russia, 6 guests
June 4th – 12th, 2016

Spain Social Work – Spain (1 guest)
June – August, 2016

Meet Our Guests!

Consider hosting an international visitor. Contact us to find out how to become involved.

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