Meridian Center for Global Leadership


The Meridian Center for Global Leadership (MCGL) administers professional and educational exchange programs that enhance Meridian’s vision of a more secure and prosperous world—today and for generations to come. MCGL’s virtual and in-person programs provide training, networking, and professional development opportunities to emerging leaders from around the world. Programs support key global issues and sectors, including business and trade, women's empowerment, journalism, youth leadership and civic engagement, human rights and energy and the environment.

Our Approach

Meridian’s integrated programming approach provides leaders with a variety of platforms in neutral environments to develop an informed global view, cultural awareness, and collaborative peer networks to produce better outcomes. Meridian works with governments, the private sector, and the diplomatic community to develop international exchange and training programs to build mutual understanding and help leaders better address global challenges and opportunities.

What we do

International Exchange Programs

Our exchange programs provide leaders from the U.S. and around the world with the insight, capacity, networks, and cultural context needed to navigate a rapidly evolving globalized society. We are the U.S. Department of State’s largest partner on the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), which brings foreign leaders to the United States for short-term professional exchanges on topics ranging from women’s empowerment to global entrepreneurship and countering violent extremism. The IVLP is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Meridian.

Read more about Meridian’s Exchange programs


Meridian develops trainings that are tailored to individual program requirements for leadership development. We believe that the strength of a training program lies in its ability to connect people with issues as well as with broader global networks, and Meridian accomplishes this through a combination of instruction and experiential learning. Our custom programs combine practical tools with expertise from our high-level network, ensuring our private and public sector partners are equipped to navigate global challenges and opportunities.

Read more about Meridian’s Training programs

Our Impact

For over 60 years Meridian has brought global leaders together to collaborate and develop solutions to the complex challenges facing their organizations, communities, and countries. The impact of Meridian’s programs is amplified across numerous arenas, including women and girls’ empowerment, business and trade, human and civil rights, as well as energy and the environment. These issue areas directly impact quality of life, and are pivotal to Meridian’s vision of a more secure and prosperous world today and for generations to come.

Alumni include:

2020 Global Leadership Award Winners

Meridian Corporate Leader Awardee
Albert Bourla, DVM, Ph.D. Chairman and CEO, Pfizer

Dr. Albert Bourla leads Pfizer in its purpose: Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives, with a focus on driving the scientific and commercial innovation needed to have a transformational impact on human health. During his more than 25 years at Pfizer, Dr. Bourla has held a number of senior global positions across a range of markets and disciplines. Prior to taking the reins as CEO in January 2019, he served as the Pfizer’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) responsible for overseeing the Company’s commercial strategy, manufacturing, and global product development functions. He also served as Group President of Pfizer Innovative Health, which comprised the Consumer Healthcare, Inflammation & Immunology, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Rare Disease and Vaccines business groups. In addition, he created the Patient and Health Impact Group, dedicated to developing solutions for increasing patient access, demonstrating the value of Pfizer’s medicines, and ensuring broader business model innovation.

Meridian Global Citizen Award
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D. | Malcolm Gillis University Professor, Rice University

Guided by the belief that all of the world’s people deserve access to health innovation, Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum’s research and teaching focus on developing low-cost, high-performance technology for low-resource settings. She is known for providing vulnerable populations in the developing world access to life-saving health technology, focusing on diseases and conditions that cause high morbidity and mortality, such as cervical and oral cancer, premature birth, and malaria. Dr. Richards-Kortum is also leading a multi-institutional team to develop a package of 17 life-saving neonatal technologies, designed for low-resource settings while providing the same efficacy as related technologies used in North America, but at a fraction of the cost. In 2018 and 2019, Dr. Richards-Kortum served as a U.S. Department of State Science Envoy for Health Security where she undertook missions to Malawi and South Africa to expand access to American engineering research and curriculum in order to build engineering capacity and opportunities for U.S. collaboration with the sub-Saharan nations. Meridian was proud to be the State Department’s programmatic partner on her missions.

Past Global Leadership Award Winners

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Partner with us

Meridian’s approach to preparing the next generation of effective global leaders involves forming partnerships with a cross-section of established and emerging leaders. Our partners believe in us because, for more than 50 years, they have seen the positive and significant change that we bring to communities, cultures, and countries.

Our partners also value our non-partisan approach and meaningful public-private partnership opportunities with leading U.S. and foreign organizations, as well as the wide range of benefits that a relationship with Meridian provides, including:

  • Insights on key global issues through our exchanges, training, forums, and cultural diplomacy programs.
  • Access to expanded networks of top leaders from around the world.
  • The opportunity to create value and increase impact by creating greater security, economic development, and mutual understanding around the world.

Terry K. Harvey, Vice President, Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy | (202) 939-5566 |