Visa Facilitation. As an officially-designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) since 2004, Meridian is authorized to issue DS-2019 forms to facilitate the issuance of J-Visas for short-term scholars.
International travel. Meridian works with a local travel agency, EWA Travel, which is familiar with all Federal Government foreign and domestic travel regulations, including the Fly America Act, and will comply with the guidelines for the type (fully-, partially- or non-refundable) and class (coach or business) of airline tickets specified in the program. Because of the high volume of work it does with Meridian, EWA is often able to negotiate special arrangements with airlines.
Hotel accommodations and per diem. Due to its high volume of hotel reservations, Meridian has preferred arrangements with several hotels and hotel chains throughout the United States. Meridian is tax-exempt in Washington, DC and New York City, and this savings will be passed onto the client. Meridian will arrange for direct billing of hotel room and tax costs. Per diem allowances include costs directly incurred to meet the participant’s personal needs and program requirements. Meridian can provide subsistence allowances via check, pre-paid debit cards or via wire transfer into the participants’ home bank account. With proper authorization, the Meridian’s Finance Office is also able to cut checks or wire transfers on the same day in emergency situations.
Ground transportation. Meridian can arrange for a chartered van service to escort delegates to all professional and cultural events. Because of the large volume of international visitors Meridian handles every year, we have negotiated special rates with transportation companies throughout the country and will also seek local cost sharing for ground transportation.
Interpretation services. Through the IVLP program and the Visitors Service contract held by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Meridian contracts often with Department of State certified interpreters. Meridian keeps a file of interpreter evaluations from IVLP and visitor services programs to ensure that the best quality individuals are selected for programs. Meridian also owns wireless interpretation equipment for use during its programs.
City Programming. Meridian is a member of the National Council of International Visitors which provides it access to over 90 local Councils for International Visitors (CIVs). Meridian can contract with CIVs in selected cities to assist with developing program itineraries and secure meetings and events with relevant organizations and individuals.
International Arrival Assistance. Upon international arrival into the U.S., Meridian’s Visitor Services Division is able to arrange airport meet-and-assists in Washington, DC; Atlanta, Georgia; and Miami, Florida. The Meridian team can contract with our local Council of International Visitors in Los Angeles and San Francisco to provide all airport arrival services. Contracted officers are able to meet participants at U.S. Customs and Immigration to assist with the arrival process.
Participant recruitment and selection. As part of its programs, Meridian can offer the option of providing participant recruitment and selection. Given its close relationship with many embassies throughout the world as well as its vast program alumni, Meridian has a solid network of resources to implement a comprehensive recruitment and selection process.
Facilitated workshops. As part of its program customization, Meridian can include a variety of facilitated workshops on numerous topics. Meridian has in-house capacity to facilitate workshops on leadership development and action planning and has partners throughout Washington, DC and the country to provide topic-specific workshops.
Pre-departure orientations. Meridian can design customized pre-departure orientations for participants visiting the United States on a short or long-term leadership exchange or for U.S. participants traveling abroad for a similar experience. The pre-departure orientation will include components on program objective and overview; administrative and policy review; cultural aspects; and training/learning methods. Meridian can also provide participants with a cross-cultural orientation covering cultural norms and expectations of the host country (e.g. punctuality to appointments) and common cultural misunderstandings.
Monitoring and Evaluation. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are essential to the program, ultimately determining if its goals and objectives are achieved. Monitoring and evaluation will be conducted by Meridian at different phases of the program, utilizing a variety of methodologies and tools.
U.S. Federalism Briefings. As part of its exchange programs, Meridian organizes U.S. Federalism Briefings to provide a comprehensive overview of the U.S. system of government. This briefing is typically administered by local professors specializing in the areas of political science, public policy and government and are selected based on their particular interest and its relation to that of the group. The briefings provide an essential background for a greater understanding of meetings and site visits during the exchange program.
Roundtables. Meridian can organize roundtables and/or briefings as part of the customized exchange programs to provide the opportunity for visitors to present business opportunities or viewpoints on particular topics of interest to the business, government and academic communities.