Mission Statement

The mission of the Congressional Office for International Leadership (COIL) is to inspire Congressional and citizen diplomacy with global civic and political leaders. COIL achieves this through the Open World program, which connects delegates with their peers in U.S. communities to exchange best practices and strengthen mutual understanding.

Open World Program

The Open World program is a ten-day professional exchange built on the foundational values of authentic communication and immersive cultural experiences. The program begins in Washington DC, where delegates explore the concepts of American federalism, culture, and leadership. Delegates engage with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss common challenges and participate in unfiltered dialogue. Traveling to communities across the United States, delegates meet with their professional counterparts to share expertise and establish lasting partnerships. During the program, delegates stay with host families, giving them an intimate view of American life.


Congress founded the Center for Russian Leadership Development in 1999 under the leadership of Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. In its first year, the new agency's Open World program brought more than 2,500 Russian professionals to American communities. Soon, Congress approved the expansion of the Open World program to the 11 other former Soviet republics and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In response, the agency was reorganized into the Open World Leadership Center in 2003 to reflect the broader geographic scope of the agency. The Open World program has utilized Congressional leadership and people-to-people engagement to provide foreign visitors with a multi-level federal, state, and local introduction to accountable governance and American life.

Public Law No. 117-103 (3/15/2022) renamed the agency as the Congressional Office for International Leadership (COIL) to better reflect its service to Congress and the American people.