The International Programs Department of NCSL acts as a liaison between state legislatures and international and regional organizations, foreign embassies, and parliamentarians from other countries, as well as domestic organizations with international interests. NCSL’s International Programs Department conducts research, holds public policy conferences and forums, and develops technical assistance projects and exchange programs. The Department also assists state legislators and staff in identifying major international issues with local or regional implications.
Rapid changes in the international arena affect state legislators and their constituencies in many ways. Trade, economic development, job creation, and cross-border issues such as transportation, the environment, drug trafficking, and immigration are but a few prominent issues of concern to state legislators. Exchanging information with parliamentarians from other governments broadens perspectives on public policy development.
In addition, U.S. states present a variety of legislative experiences and knowledge to international parliamentarians. Because legislatures are the most representative institution of government, state legislators and staff are in a unique position to support emerging democracies and help them create independent, representative, and well-informed legislative bodies. NCSL carries out several types of international exchanges with foreign counterparts around the globe, including technical assistance projects, legislative exchanges, and welcoming over two-hundred international legislators and legislative staff at NCSL’s annual Legislative Summit.
NCSL's International Programs department:
- Develops professional exchange programs between legislators, legislative staff, and their foreign legislative counterparts;
- Identifies NCSL's unique resources and formulates assistance to foreign legislatures through technical assistance projects, study tours, needs assessments, workshops, internships and/or seminars;
- Hosts official international delegations and familiarizes them with NCSL and state legislatures;
- Determines the extent of current international activities in state legislatures and provides assistance to those attempting to establish international programs; and
- Encourages informational networking with other organizations that have similar interests.
Updated February 23, 2009