welcome to the washington
ireland program website

For three decades, the Washington Ireland Program (WIP) has played an important role in post-conflict Northern Ireland and Ireland by bringing together leaders from a wide range of communities and backgrounds for outstanding leadership and skills-development programs. WIP’s aim is to support, inspire and develop leaders who are committed to building a future of peace and prosperity for Northern Ireland and Ireland.  


New Voices

Each year, 30 full-time Higher Education students are chosen to take part in our year-long Emerging Leaders Program.  With a focus on personal development, policy debate, public discussion and community service, the program includes a high-profile eight-week work placement in Washington DC, as well as a week-long study visit to New York City.

Shaping the future

Operating since 1993, over 950 Alums have graduated from the Emerging Leaders Program. Bringing powerful new voices and vigor to the debates, challenges, and issues facing a post-conflict society, the WIP graduates have gone on to make their mark in many fields, including politics, business, the arts, the community sector, media, and science.


Today, our programs have expanded to include the WIP Academy for young community leaders on the island of Ireland who are aged between 18-25. WIP also manages the AMBIT program for experienced community leaders in Northern Ireland and the border regions, funded by the International Fund for Ireland.

Partners in progress

We are supported by a generous community of partners and a committed Board of Directors. From our work placement partners on Capitol Hill to our host families, and donors, we are immensely grateful for their continuing support and belief in inspiring and developing new generations of leaders, and in embodying our core principles of service and leadership.

Get it touch!

We hope you enjoy learning more about the vision and mission of the Washington Ireland Program. If you have any questions or would like to make a much-valued contribution to support our work, please contact us on office@wiprogram.org

Our Vision

Our vision is for a peaceful Northern Ireland and Ireland with mutually supportive and constructive relationships between and within all communities.

Our Mission

Our mission is to develop, support, and engage generations of leaders who can build and sustain these relationships.


WIP believes the successful resolution of political and socio-economic differences requires all participants and their communities to maintain their pride in themselves, their history, and their achievements, but to eschew arrogance or hubris. We are open to the possibility that we are sometimes wrong.


WIP believes the successful resolution of political and socio-economic differences requires all participants and their communities to develop an esteem or deferential regard for each other.

The challenges facing Ireland and Northern Ireland can be solved

WIP believes the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland can build on the peace successes so far to create a real shared future for all of their communities.

There are lessons from the DC’s past and present that are valuable to Ireland and Northern Ireland

WIP believes the combination of the DC’s unique relationship with Ireland and Northern Ireland, and its position as the center of the federal government provides young people from the island of Ireland with lessons, good and bad, relevant to their future.

There is power in creating networks of non-likeminded individuals

WIP believes in the value of creating positive personal and working relationships among individuals with diverse views, backgrounds, and political perspectives. These relationships should be underpinned by a sense of empathy, and respect for divergent points of view as well as a personal sense of humility among all involved.


WIP believes the successful resolution of political and socio-economic differences requires all participants and their communities to develop a deep understanding of each other's history and condition from the others’ perspective.


In carrying out its goals and objectives, WIP aims to conduct its work with integrity, high standards, and professionalism. It expects the same from WIP students and alumni.

Great leaders are focused on serving others

WIP believes an ethos of serving others is at the core of leadership and we aim to invest in the leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to others through their actions.

Leaders and influencers come from all communities and backgrounds

WIP believes there are leaders and influencers in all parts of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We endeavor to make participating in WIP accessible to all, regardless of personal or financial circumstances.


WIP believes it can best achieve its goals and objectives by actively collaborating with like-minded organizations, in particular our sister organization SAWIP.


WIP is an independent organization. Our governance, programs, and policies will be non-partisan and independent.